If you’re a tech addict drawn to the latest gadgets, chances are you living space features at least some state-of-the-art smart devices designed to simplify your tech and help make your daily life more comfortable. If you’re not quite there yet, here are some must-have gadgets that let you secure your home, control your appliances and lightning, stream music, and more. Creating a smart home is also more affordable than you think.
Knock, Knock. Who’s there?
If you’re going to gadgetize your home, there’s no better place to start than at your front door. The market has a healthy number of smart video doorbells that come with everything from Wi-Fi-enabled apps, to 2-way communication, live video streaming, and home automation compatibility. Installing one goes a long way to keeping your home, its occupants, and all your expensive gadgets safer. Some are pricey, but the Zmodo Smart Greet Wi-Fi Video Doorbell, for example, includes many top features and is available from Amazon from just $49.99.
Now it’s time to expand that security inside your home. The Wyze Cam Pan Wi-Fi Indoor Smart Home Camera ($37.98 at Amazon) is a security camera that gives you a 360-degree overview in less than three seconds and sends your phone alerts when sound and motion are detected. It works with Alexa, and you can ask her to show your kid’s room, front door, or anywhere else you have the camera. It also has night vision and plenty more features.
Setting the Mood
While some gadgets are for safety first and to simplify your life second, nothing beats being able to dim or brighten your lights with voice command rather than continually getting up. The Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi LED Dimmer ($49.93 at Amazon) that requires no hub (replace your existing light switch) works with Alexa and the “My Leviton” app to let you adjust your lights with ease. You can schedule when your lights go on, create fun lighting scenes, and ask Alexa to switch all the lights off. Control up to 20 residences, 50 rooms, 50 scenes, 50 activities, and 50 schedules per account, and much more.
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The Big Picture
Once you’ve got it all, you’re going to want a smart way to take control. The brand new Echo Dot (3rd Gen; currently $29.99 at Amazon) is the new and improved smart speaker with Alexa. With the Dot you can stream music and fill your home with louder and richer sound; pair it with a second Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for even louder, stereo sound; ask Alexa to answer questions, play music, set alarms, check the weather, read the news, lock doors, open the garage doors, turn on sprinklers, show baby monitors, and more. Ultimately, this is your companion for controlling all compatible connected devices using your voice. Did we mention you can even use it to call and message almost anyone hands-free?
So you no longer have to get up to order pizza, an Uber, or to water the garden. One might be left thinking “what’s left?” Well, with countless gadgets taking the home smart device market by storm, anything and everything. A visit to the January 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was testimony with Kohler unveiling its Numi 2.0 — a $7,000 smart toilet to be released at the end of the year. The intelligent toilet forms part of Kohler’s connected bathroom (including a smart shower, tub, and mirror) has a heated seat, a lid that automatically opens and closes, automatic flushing, and warm water cleansing with a dryer. It comes with ambient mood lighting, inbuilt surround sound speakers, and is voice controlled via Alexa so that you can listen to the news, check the weather, or order loo paper if your supplies are dwindling!
Bottom line, as Alexa’s thousands of skills keep growing, we are going to be seeing more and more ways to harness those skills and incorporate them into our homes and day-to-day living.