20 Nov Which Smart Home Devices Do You Have On Your Wishlist?
The 1960s cartoon The Jetsons portrayed a future where robots were tasked with menial jobs. While today’s smart home devices may not be named Rosie, they definitely help contribute to the ease of our daily routines: from announcing the weather forecast during breakfast so the kids know they need to wear a jacket to school, to automatically setting the thermostat to ‘away’ as you head to work.
A few years ago, we were limited in our options of which smart home products to buy. But today, the market offers a vast array of devices depending on how automated you want your smart home system to be!
Amazon was first to the mainstream market with the Amazon Alexa voice assistance in 2014, capable of voice interaction, music playback, and setting alarms – to name a few tasks. As competitors began to enter the market, Amazon built out their product line to include more smart home devices:
- Amazon Echo Show – A tablet and premium speaker all-in-one which lets you watch live TV and sports with Hulu, make video calls, or see who’s at the front door. *New for 2018!
- Amazon Echo Plus – Connects to and controls smart lights, locks, plugs, sensors, and more.
- Amazon Echo Dot – A smaller speaker to extend your connected home.
- Amazon Echo Input – Adds Alexa to an external speaker and connects via 3.5 mm audio cable or Bluetooth.
- Amazon Smart Plug – Works with Alexa to add voice control to any outlet
How to make Amazon’s Echo work for you:
We use Amazon Echo at home as an intercom system. When the kids are upstairs playing and it’s time for supper, no more yelling up the stairs fifty times before they hear you! We just tell Alexa to, “Drop in on playroom Dot” and she opens a line to the kids! I can say that it has reduced my stress level notably! She can also play Christmas music on command. -Aimee P.
Google Connected Home
Google started with a line of smart speakers in 2016 to enable users to speak voice commands and interact with specific, connected devices. Since then, Google has grown its family of Google Home products:
- Google Home Hub – Allows you to control all of your connected devices from a centralized location. *New for 2018!
- Google Home – Get answers, play songs, tackle your day, enjoy your entertainment and control your smart home with just your voice.
- Google Home Mini – A smaller speaker to extend your connected home.
- Google Home Max – High fidelity speaker which uses machine learning to automatically adjust the equalizer settings to match the acoustics of your room.
- Chromecast Ultra – A streaming device that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port to get 4K video and more to your TV.
- Chromecast Audio – Similar to the Chromecast Ultra, the Chromecast Audio plugs into your speakers so you can stream music from your device over Wi-Fi.
How to make Google’s Connected Home work for you:
Our family has a Google Home, two Minis and a Chromecast Audio. The Chromecast Audio is used to connect two standalone speakers and an amp so we can have surround sound in our main living spaces, without purchasing an expensive, wireless system. Our Google Home resides in the kitchen so we can listen to music, set timers while cooking, and occupy our five-year-old with stories and jokes… or put him in timeout. One of our Google Minis is in the master bedroom so we can get weather updates, set alarms and control our Nest thermostat. The second Google Mini is in the home office and acts as a virtual assistant for day-to-day commitments. While we already use the system every day, I know there’s a lot more we could do with it! – Erica M.
Other smart home devices you may want to add you your list
Philips Hue LED Smart Bulbs give you voice control to instantly change the look and atmosphere of your room or control your lights.
Kwikset Z-Wave locks give you keyless entry and remote access monitoring capabilities for your home.
Nest offers a line of smart home products to complement your voice assistant. The Nest Thermostat helps you save energy by using built-in sensors and your phone’s location to turn itself down when you’re away. And, the Nest Secure Alarm System lets you check in on your home and control your system from anywhere.
D-Link Wi-Fi Water Sensor acts as a “flood sensor” to detect water leaks in your home.
The WeMo Mini is a universal smart plug which provides native compatibility with IFTTT, Google Home, Apple HomeKit and Amazon’s Alexa.
Vivint’s Doorbell Camera lets you know who’s coming and going, allowing you to answer your door, protect your porch, and guard against package theft. The small device also provides two-way communication so you can speak to whoever is at your door.
Sonos is a complete wireless home sound system, compatible with other smart home devices such as Alexa. This line of products offers high-end speakers with the option to install 5.1 surround sound.