The Report: Smart Home
Every year hundreds of smart products from hubs to motorized shades and from bulbs to door locks are added to the market en masse. Adding smart accessories to your home has never been easier to manage. Over time, steadily advancing your home’s compatibility with these devices will not only ensure increased control of your home but also boost the value of your property. After acquiring a few essential products, adding more smart accessories can be as easy as a few taps and a quick scan from your smart phone. After a few months of building smart accessories into your home, you will have the ability to remotely curate entire scenes initiated by time of day, your location or your voice. In these scenes, through a centralized system accessories located in a room or throughout your entire house will work together following directions pre-set by you.
Apple is set to revolutionize smart home accessories this fall. The newly launched Home app that will be released alongside the iOS 10 update will optimize a centralized system to control all your smart home accessories in one place, a sector that has been lacking an efficient, well-designed product in the home automation scene. Each smart device usually has it’s own app to control its functions with some devices linked to hubs with little to no consistency across devices. With the HomeKit that was launched with iOS 8 and works through Siri, Apple began collecting HomeKit partners that could be integrated directly into Siri. Now, with a plethora of products featuring a HomeKit-enabled sticker on the packaging, there is a large choice of varied product for consumers to choose from including brands like Honeywell, First Alert, Lutron, Philips, Schlage, Hunter Fan, ecobee and Haier. After a quick scan of a product in the Home app and installing the hardware fixtures into your home, the app allows you to simply and seamlessly manage your smart accessories either individually or grouped together into rooms or scenes. One of the apps most secure features is that all the data collected by the app is encrypted so not even Apple can access the information and the App would require a passcode or Touch ID to activate scenes or accessories. If your home features an Apple TV or iPad, then you can remotely access your smart products by using that device as a smart hub. You could also command your products to respond to automatic triggers set by time of day, location or action.
Nest Thermostat and Protect
The Nest Thermostat is ubiquitous to the world of the smart home. The third iteration of the Nest Learning Thermostat is an energy-efficient device that gathers information on personal temperature preference and how your property heats or cools to better conserve energy and provide optimum service when needed. The sharp and sleek display lights up when you enter a space to show the temperature, weather or time. Additionally, the Thermostat will also warn you about possible concerns with your heating or cooling system. - $325
Now, combining your thermostat to a Nest Protect for smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm will ensure a ten-fold increase in the safety of your home. The Protect's innovative features include a warning before the alarm sounds and the ability to silence the device from your phone. The device has a life of 10 years, self-tests throughout the day and confirms that all is well when you turn off lights for the night with a quick green glow. Paired with the Thermostat, the Nest devices work together to warn you about potentially dangerous issues like a carbon monoxide leak from your heating system and can help prevent the spread of fire by shutting down the heating system in an emergency. - $130
Dyson 360 Eye
The fully-automated Dyson 360 Eye vacuum is a marvel assembled by over 200 Dyson engineers. It’s function is in two parts, to navigate your home efficiently and clean with a powerful suction. Using a Dyson digital motor V2 that spins up to 78,000 rpm and the robot self-docks and recharges when it’s battery is low. Instead of using a sensor like conventional vacuums, the 360 Eye robot sees its environment using a 360 degree vision system with a camera that takes up to 30 frames per second which it uses to builds a detailed floor plan to intelligently and systematically navigate around a room and tracks its position. This gives the robot the ability to navigate where it is in the room and where it had left to clean. The robot is remotely accessible through its app so owners can schedule daily or single cleans no matter where they are in the world. - $1300
Philips Wireless Dimming Kit
Philips new wireless dimmer is battery powered for immediate functionality. It promises installation free dimming and you can place switch anywhere on your wall or even use as remote control. Most importantly the kit can work independently of a hub and is therefore a good first purchase to test the waters of smart home accessories. The kit comes with one Philips Hue warm white bulb and you can add as many as 9 other Philips Hue smart bulbs to a dimmer. - $45
Haiku H-Series Ceiling Fan
Sleekly designed and incredibly energy efficient, Haiku’s line of ceiling fans use built-in motion sensors to save energy by turning lights and fans on when you enter and off when you leave a room, automatically. The fan can be set to whoosh mode mimic natural breezes with varying fan speeds and a pre-set sleep mode will adjust the temperature to your liking keeping you comfortable throughout the night. The fan is available in multiple finishes and sizes to customize the right fan to fit into any of your rooms. - $1495
Using voice-control,, the Amazon Echo can play music from music streaming services, reads audiobooks or provide information like the news, sports scores and weather using Amazon’s Alexa voice service. The device uses an 360º omni-directional audio and a far-field voice so it hears you even while music is playing. The Echo can also be used as a central command system for compatible lights, switches, and thermostats. With the addition of apps in the service, the device is continuously getting smarter featuring new skills like the ability to order an Uber or a pizza. - $235
Following the crowdfunded Lockitron, the Bolt is an updated, upgraded system that works with more doors as it is a full replacement deadbolt for your door. The Bolt uses bluetooth low energy which ensure the lock will keep working regardless of power or internet outages. The Lockitron app can notify you whenever a door is unlocked by their phone or key and location sensors can be set to unlock your door as you return home. In addition, with a Lockitron Bridge located in your home you can check to see if your door is locked and control your lock from anywhere. - $130
Automatic Pro Adapter
Extend your smart home to your car with Automatic, an adapter that plugs into your car and collects data on mileage, location and even engine health. The device is compatible with a variety of apps like the popular IFTTT or other smart home accessories like Nest and Amazon Echo to ensure connectivity between different automation devices and sync information between your home and your car to receive the best out of your devices capabilities. - $170