We may not have flying cars yet, but our refrigerator can tell us when our food is about to expire. Smart gadgets, devices, and appliances have exploded in popularity in recent years as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand. From wifi-enabled litter boxes to electronic keys, you’d be surprised by how many products can transform your home into a futuristic smart home.
1. Smart Speakers
If you don’t already have a smart speaker, what are you waiting for? Built-in, voice-activated AI assistants can answer just about any question, like: “What’s the weather like today?” or “Who was the 13th President of the United States?” You can also create routines, which bundle actions together. For example, you could make a morning routine that triggers at a certain time and sets off your alarm, plays the forecast, and lists the day’s schedule. That’s just scratching the surface of what these smart speakers can do.
2. Security System
Home security has massively transformed as new technology enters the market. Most security systems now include cameras for your front door and throughout the property. Sensors on windows and doors can alert you when they open and close, and you can arm/disarm the alarm and locks with key fobs. You can add on other features to monitor water leaks and freezing pipes or include carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. Some security systems can even double as a smart home hub, which lets you control all your smart devices in one place.
3. Smart Lighting Control
Have you ever gotten comfortable in bed and then realized you left a light on in the living room? If you have smart lighting, you can turn your lights on and off with the touch of a button. Lighting control systems such as Lutron HomeWorks offer homeowners remote control of lights and window shades, as well as custom programming options. You can set timers with your HomeWorks system that save on energy costs by utilizing natural light during the day. Lutron’s HomeWorks QS allows you to adjust the mood in your home to create the atmosphere you desire. Smart bulbs and dimmer keypads make it easy to add warmth. With HomeWorks QS, you can even activate walkway lighting when you arrive home at night.
4. Updated HVAC System
Upgrading your air conditioner to an energy-efficient model can increase your indoor air quality and save you a lot of money on your energy bill. Installing a smart thermostat prevents overuse and can further increase your savings. Control the temperature from your phone and establish a schedule so your HVAC system goes into power-saving mode when you are asleep or away from home. Smart sensors in newer HVAC units can even alert you when you need to get an inspection.
All homeowners should have regular inspections and maintenance done on their air conditioning units. Otherwise, small problems like a leak in the duct system can go unnoticed and run up your bill. Even if you’ve got a newer air conditioner, you should still schedule an air conditioner inspection with an HVAC technician from time to time. Some AC inspection services will provide regular maintenance and inspections as part of an annual plan.
5. Kitchen Appliances
Can you control your slow cooker with an app? Smart appliances and kitchen gadgets are making cooking easier than ever before. Now you can purchase a refrigerator that not only reduces energy costs but food waste as well — and that’s just for starters. Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometers allow you to monitor the temperature in real-time on your phone and alert you when your roast is done. Connect your smart coffee maker to your Alexa routine to automatically brew a pot based on your schedule. The list of smart kitchen gadgets is almost endless.
6. Housekeeping Robots
You’ve probably heard of robot vacuums and pool cleaners, but those aren’t the only housekeeping gadgets that can help you with the chores. Window-cleaning robots with built-in squeegees make cleaning your glass a breeze. Instead of scraping your grill clean, let the Grillbot go to work for 10-30 minutes while you prep. There are even robot lawn mowers and litter boxes. The self-cleaning litter box sends you an alert on your phone when you need to empty it. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
As more smart devices flood the market, they become more affordable and accessible. Twenty years from now, we could all be living in smart homes. Who knows what other innovative creations will be added to the Internet of Things by then.