What are New England homeowners searching for? More and more frequently, the answer is smart home technology. Our own experience with customer questions on this subject matches with data from Google showing the growth of interest in smart homes and devices that offer remote control.
It’s about much more than cool gadgets. Smart home devices can offer convenience, energy savings, and increased security. An increasing array of devices can connect to smart-home hubs (such as those from Google, Amazon, and Apple), giving homeowners the option to use voice commands to control lights, temperature, cameras, and music.
Here are seven types of smart home products to consider, whether you’re adding to your current home environment or envisioning a smart home from the ground up.
Multicolor LED lighting
Energy-efficient LED lights are nothing new, and smart bulbs controlled via smartphone app are increasingly popular.
Now Sylvania and Philips make dimmable multicolor bulbs, so you can choose “from 16 million colors” to personalize each space or find just the right shade and brightness to work with the paint in your living room.
Smart electrical plugs allow you to monitor the energy usage of each device that’s plugged in, which in turn lets you better track and manage your overall energy expenses. Because smart plugs keep track of energy usage they can help you determine which appliances or lamps in your home are least efficient. Now that is smart.
The smartest of these plugs also allow for remote control, so you can turn off your living room lamp using your phone or desktop computer while you’re at work.
Another one for the energy-efficient buyer. Remote-controlled window shades not only let more (or less) light into your home, depending on the time of day, but also reduce the need for heating or cooling.
Kits are available to turn your current horizontal shades into a smart, motorized version.
Smart doorbells and locks
The expression “dumb as a doorknob” isn’t officially dead yet, but all the other pieces around the doorknob have gotten pretty smart.
Nest, August, Ring and other companies offer doorbells with integrated video cameras, so you can see who’s at the door. (Unlike many smart devices, cameras tend to work over WiFi rather than the low-power connections like Zigbee or Z-wave.)
Keyless lock options let you provide guests with a PIN, or open the door remotely for them yourself. Some models even include a fingerprint reader for biometric access.
Remote-control robot vacuum
Unplanned visitors arriving at home before you do? No problem — just use the app to fire up your Roomba, Dyson, or Samsung cleanup bot that’s connected to your smart home hub.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Of course the most important feature of these units is accurate detection. Smart models add several conveniences, such as the ability to check power and status while you are away from home. Also, if your stove tends to set off the smoke detector when you cook, you can use your phone app to silence the alarm temporarily.
And anyone who has stood under detector after detector, trying to figure out which one is chirping, might value a smarter alternative.
The value of connected washers and dryers, refrigerators and other large appliances has been up for debate for some time — this is the category of which our clients are most likely to say “I don’t get it!”
Most homeowners very rarely look at the temperature and humidity level in the fridge, for example. For most, the greater value of connected appliances would be in smartphone alerts in the event of a problem, such as a leaking dishwasher or a freezer that’s lost power. Over time this level of smarts may be built into most appliances, without costing a big premium.
It all starts with smart design...
GMT helps clients design homes that are smart from the start, with quality architectural systems that create beauty and efficiency. Call us to learn more about how to build smart at 508-881-7992.
Products pictured above: Philips Hue LED lights, Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini by TP-Link, August Doorbell Cam Pro, Serena Motorized Shades by Lutron, Samsung Smart Fridge Family Hub, Nest Protect Smoke Detector, Neato Robotics - Botvac Connected Robot Vacuum.