The Internet of Things has come a long way in recent years. It seems like there’s a smart home technology for every aspect of life. If you’re a tech head, this is probably exciting news. You’ve already got your Amazon Echo reading off the weather to you every morning and your thermostat controlled on your phone. But what’s next? And will it actually be helpful or will it be a fad? Let’s take a look at the latest in smart home tech that you’ll be seeing more and more in the coming months.
Sun Solar in Springfield has quickly become a burgeoning business in our community. They are the second fastest growing company in the state and the 9th fastest growing energy company in the country according to KY3. There’s good reason for it, too. Solar panels can save you thousands of dollars every year in energy costs. Plus, you’re immediately eligible for a 30% federal tax credit when you install. Solar panels might not be the newest thing in smart home tech, but it is one of the smartest.
Google got in on the smart home hub and as you might imagine, they aren’t messing around. Google wants to challenge the Amazon Echo (Alexa) as the de facto smart home speaker. At the moment, the Google Home is about $30 more than Alexa, but the Google Home Mini and the Amazon Dot are both about $50. Right now, the Alexa has far more options, including the Echo Show, a device that brings in a touch screen for manual applications. The distinct difference is the power of the engine behind the device. Alexa does a very good job of answering questions, but how can it compete with the power of Google’s search engine? Time will tell, but at the moment, the Google Home is better equipped to answer your requests.
Think Roomba, but for your lawn. This ingenious robotic mower can save you from having to push mow your entire yard in the dead heat of summer. One thing you’ll notice right away is the steep price tag. As with any new technology, the cost is high to start. If this picks up, we’re betting the cost will go down eventually. It’s also only equipped to handle lots under a half acre right now, but that too will likely improve with time. Despite it’s issues, it’s still a very cool idea!
Move over Nest! The Ecobee4 took home best smart thermostat by multiple tech publication this year. The main difference between the Ecobee4 and Nest is that Amazon Alexa is built right in. So, not only can you control the temperature in your home from your phone, you can also ask your thermostat to make lists for you, order your groceries and give you the answer for who directed Total Recall (It’s Paul Verhoeven).
Smart fridges aren’t new, but the improvements made to LG’s ThinQ Refrigerator. The 29-inch touchscreen on the front runs WebOS, offering a variety of applications to monitor the contents, play music while you’re cooking, and keep you organized. The main difference between this and other smart fridges is that the screen turns transparent to show you the contents of the fridge without opening the door. It’s gets plenty of points for the cool factor for that!
The SkyBell Video Doorbell is a modern take on the peep hole. It allows you to answer your front door just like you’d answer a FaceTime phone call. The best part is that you can do it even when you’re not home. This is great for parents with kids at home because they can handle the interactions with visitors from anywhere with the associated app.
This little contraption can take the guess work out of water leaks in your home! It’s a WiFi-enabled sensor that can detect moisture in those hard-to-reach places and send you push notifications on your phone any time water is present. It’s really important to address leaks in a timely fashion to make sure that mold doesn’t begin to grow, so this device could save you tons in repairs in the long run.
When you’re taking a nap on the couch and you reallllly don’t want to get up to close the shades, this device can really help you out of that jam. It can also help you out anywhere in the world to open or close your shades. Maybe your plants need some light on vacation, but you don’t want your neighbor Tim peeking in your windows at night. The Lutron Serena shades can be closed from the beach in Florida to make sure Tim minds his own dang business. Get a life, Tim.
Amazon got in the security cam game recently and the Cloud Cam has quickly become a tech industry favorite due to it’s versatility. It shoots in 1080p, giving you a crystal clear picture. It also shoots in night vision so you can catch the person in your house who has been sneaking treats in the middle of the night. Plus, you can access the live feed through any Amazon device through Alexa. Just saying “Show me my live feed” is enough to peek in on your crib at any time.
Cost: $49 (with ADT services)
Similar to the Alexa and Google Home, The ADT Pulse allows you to connect to any smart home device and control them all from a single hub. This one is much more focused on security, as you might expect from industry leader ADT. The Starter Pack is only $49 installed and it allows you to monitor your home’s security from anywhere with great features like text notification of any alerts from the system.
For all you grillmasters out there, this smart smoker might be a good fit. No more using a meat thermometer that you can never find. No more running outside to check the temps for a fifth time. This guy can monitor your temperatures both in the smoker and of the meat itself right from your phone. It has plenty of room, too. 725 square inches and several adjustable racks give you space to cook for most occasions.
This mounted smart oven is perfect for multi-taskers. As you’ve probably guessed, you can control the temperatures, cook times and safety features from your smart phone. Plus, this oven has a built in camera that can detect when certain foods are cooked properly and send you alerts in case your recipes need adjustments. It uses a little bit of AI to learn what you’re cooking and when you’ve determined something is done in the oven. It’s basically Jarvis from Iron Man if it was a chef.
Ok, so we saw the lawnmower version of the Roomba vacuum. This is the pool cleaner iteration of the Roomba. This little robot can take some of the maintenance off your plate for your pool upkeep. Having a pool is awesome, but keeping it clean is not awesome. Why not have a robot help you out? Of course, it can be connected to your home’s WiFi and controlled from an app to keep a regular schedule of cleaning and to trouble shoot any problems the robot might run into.
Cost: Approximately $88
If your water bill is a little too high for your liking, this smart home water meter for your shower might be a good pick up for you. The Amphiro A1 is made in Switzerland and will be available widely in the US soon. Right now, you can only order from their website. The meter not only monitors your water usage, it also tells you the temperature of the water output in your shower so you can be sure to get the perfect temp every time. In the long run, this device could save you lots on utilities!