Computers have become faster, smarter, and smaller, and companies are adding computers with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections to all sorts of appliances and devices. While automated homes used to be the the sort of thing only billionaires could afford, today’s tech lets anyone add automation and enjoy a more convenient home.
Smart Light Bulbs
Image via Flickr by Team EarthLED
By screwing in a set of LED bulbs and connecting them to a special hub switch, you can turn them on normally or use an app on your smartphone to change their brightness and possibly color. Not only that, but you can also connect them to a music app and have the lights flashing in time with the music.
Automated Vacuum Cleaner
The Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner has been around for years now, but the company that makes them keeps developing smarter versions with extra features like the ability to change the brush height so the user doesn’t have to touch anything when the Roomba switches between hardwood floors and carpet. Today’s models are also smarter about figuring out the layout of a room, and you can tell them when to clean or turn off with a home assistant or your smartphone.
Basic programmable thermostats have been around for decades at this point, but the older models only let you set the temperature for certain hours and on weekends and weekdays. Modern thermostats are a lot more advanced, and you can give them much more specific orders by programming your own hourly changes or setting it to vacation mode when everyone will be away for a few days. You can even change the settings using your smartphone while you’re a hundred miles from home.
One problem with new technology is something called the “power vampire,” which is a device that stays on standby and uses up power without doing anything for hours at a time. To stop this waste of power, you can unplug the device, and unplugging becomes more convenient when you use a set of smart outlets. A smart power outlet plugs right into the wall, and you can plug any device you want into it. Since you can program when to turn the power to that outlet on and off, you can save energy from power vampires or make a normal device “smart.”
Image via Flickr by NDB Photos
Although they started out as smart speakers with voice activation, devices like Amazon Dots and Google Home speakers have evolved into home assistants that can answer questions, play music, and interface with all of your other smart devices. Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant are leading the pack for having the most third-party device connections, but Apple’s Siri isn’t out of the running by a long shot. However, not every device works with these home assistants, so make sure you look up their compatibility before you start telling Alexa to preheat your oven.
With these devices and much more, you can retrofit your regular home into an automated home where you can deliver voice commands in one room and see the results downstairs.