Home Tech for The Holidays
Still searching for a last minute gift for the home tech lover in your life? Or looking to experiment with “smart home” technology? Be like the Jetsons and check out the following recommendations:
For the person looking to dip their toe into the pool of "smart home" tech there is almost no better place to start than the TP Link Kasa Smart Plugs. They plug into any standard outlet and can easily be set-up to an existing WiFi network without needing a "hub" or any other piece of tech. Simply plug the unit into the wall, and plug the device of your choice (example: lamp, speaker, coffee maker) into it. Via their handy phone app you can create a turn it on/off remotely and even create a routine for the device.
Here's where the home tech starts to get fun. The Phillips Hue devices are WiFi enabled light bulbs that connect to their own hub. Rather than simply operating on an On/Off basis (like #1), the fact that the lights themselves are "connected" means that you can have more control over them. For example, you could turn them to respond to your preferred settings such as: a specific brightness, gradual brightening or dimming over time (like an alarm clock), or even a certain "hue" if you purchase the color bulbs. Start with one of their starter kits which includes a hub (you only need one) and add additional lights as you wish.
The Nest Thermostat has been around for a little bit, and their latest model has certainly improved into a useful piece of tech. There are other similar smart thermostats (your AC company may have a preferred brand) that all operate on a similar basis. Smart thermostats adapt to your heating/cooling habits and can save you money on your monthly electric bill. Forgot to change the AC when you left for vacation? No problem, just login to your smart thermostat app and remotely fix it!
Remember when while watching TV, all there was to control was the TV? Now there are: TVs, Cable Boxes, DVRs, Xboxes, Playstations, Apple TVs, Roku's, Speaker Systems, and more. Do you feel like you're lost in a sea of remotes? Believe it or not, smart home technology can actually help. Logitech has been making universal remotes under their "Harmony" line which looks to help you declutter those remotes that get lost under the couch. Rather than searching "codes" for each device, they can be set-up via an app and can control virtually any device. This particular remote is one of their simpler designs, doesn't have a screen to deal with, and functions easily like a remote should.
If you've made it all the way here, you might be wondering how to take this smart home tech to the next level. For that, what you're looking for is a "smart home hub". A smart home hub is typically a stationary device that stays connected to your WiFi network and various smart home devices. And what about voice control? Now we're talking The Jetsons! The Amazon Echo (and smaller cousin the Amazon Echo Dot) is a newer device that can be this smart home hub. Its smart home assistant feature, "Alexa", can connect to every other smart home device mentioned in this list. Want to turn on a light or change the temperature just by asking? Alexa has you covered. With a built-in speaker, the Echo can even play music on demand, read you the news, and much more. Enjoy!
Swann Real Estate
Swann Real Estate has been an established part of the local community since 1987.