Homes are our sacred spaces. They are our comfort zones, places where we feel the safest. Homes have pretty much been the same all our lives. Even if we own gadgets and computers, we didn’t really bother about the light bulbs in our house until they started flickering. Home appliances were simply what they are: blenders blend, ovens cook, freezers freeze. There’s absolutely nothing revolutionary happening with these everyday objects – not until now.
Say hello to the “smart home.” By 2020, the houses that we used to know will undergo drastic changes as technology starts to redefine our living spaces. At the dawn of the Internet of Things, simple everyday objects will become “smart,” enabling them to communicate with one another and perform tasks that are beyond their basic requirement.
That change is already happening and it has been since 2010. Cities themselves are starting to shift into “smart cities” and governments are pouring investments towards self-adjusting light bulbs or even self-driving vehicles. With homes being the core units of every city, “smart homes” are now abuzz in the world of technology and even real estate.
If you’re curious on how to make your home a “smart” one, check out these following devices below.
California-based tech group, Nest, has launched three key products to make homes smarter. Interestingly, they’re the more intelligent versions of their earlier counterparts. Case in point, Nest Protect. It’s basically a smoke and CO alarm but it’s a smoke alarm that talks and sends out a warning to you when it senses smoke and fire. It’s quite a clever device as it can tell you where the smoke is coming from in your house (more effectively with other Nest Protects installed). It can also test itself automatically to ensure it is performing properly. And best of all, it lasts up to a decade.
- You can adjust settings on your phone using Nest app.
- It has a split-spectrum sensor that can sense both slow and fast burning fires
- It can detect dangerous levels of CO.
- It lights up when you’re under it.
- It makes a chirping sound when batteries need charging, light blinks when early in the morning.
Another innovation is the re-invention of Edison’s most popular device, the light bulb. Lifx is a company that produces smart light bulbs. How can a light bulb be smart you ask? It knows the kind of lighting you want at different times, different occasions. Lifx light bulbs look like normal bulbs and they can be installed to any standard lamp socket. But its power comes from the Lifx app that links your smartphone and all the Lifx bulbs via Bluetooth. You can control the light using the Lifx app, thus allowing you to create different light settings.
- You can buy the colored bulb that can adjust to 1,000 colors, and the white bulb that can adjust to different shades of white.
- Lifx bulbs are made with LED lights, so they’re cheaper with less electric consumption.
- Lifx bulbs can be scheduled when lights will turn on/off.
- You can alter the use and combination of lights to set the ambience.
- It works and communicates with other smart devices.
Its name may not give you a clue to what it actually does but you may just like to have this at your home. Meet Jibo, a social robot and home assistant. Jibo, equipped with artificial intelligence, has a slew of talents: like taking pictures, browsing information online, and streaming videos. Jibo can see, hear, and move its head 360 degrees around. It is currently still in development phase but a lot of fans have signed up for advanced orders. Why not? It knows when you’re home and it tells you what you want or need to know.
- It can accept calls and read aloud messages for you.
- It understands emotions and can communicate like a human being; it can even crack jokes.
- It is not yet out in the market but accepts advanced orders via waiting list.
Kwikset Kevo is a modern take on a centuries-old technology, deadbolts. Seems like there’s nothing much to deadbolts especially since their only function is to keep your door locked. But Kevo is a “smart deadbolt.” First off, it has a touch-to-lock and unlock feature. You can totally do away with keys. Using your smartphone, Kevo communicates via Bluetooth allowing you to enter or leave without using a key. Interestingly, it can also communicate with other devices like Nest Protect in cases of emergency.
- It has a light up ring that confirms if the lock has been set or not.
- It keeps the traditional key slot as an added security.
- It has inside/outside intelligence that can sense if you are in your home.
- It has a fob that allows you to touch to open your deadbolt even without a smartphone.
Last but not the least is this wireless smart speaker from Amazon that acts as your personal DJ and more. Called the Amazon Echo, it’s powered by Alexa, the smarter and savvier competitor of Apple’s Siri. It’s been getting a lot of attention lately amongst tech users as Echo can do more than just play music. With Echo’s Alexa, you can ask anything: weather, movies showing, or to order from a restaurant. Acting as your DJ, it plays music for you, any way you want it from different music streaming sites including Spotify.
- Alexa’s intelligence comes from the cloud; it gets smarter everyday.
- It can recognize your voice from afar and it can detect your search patterns.
- It co-operates with other smart devices, can switch off lights, lock doors, etc.
- The Alexa App helps you manage Echo effortlessly.
If you are able to invest in these five gadgets, surely you’ll have a working “smart home” in less than a day. Of course, these are not the only products out in the market today. Some of them are in the trial phase now, while some will be launched at the latter part of this year. But overall, the anticipation is over. We’re already getting a glimpse of the future through these gadgets, and it’s truly wonderful.