We already covered “Something Old” for our four-part National Wedding Month series—so today we’ve moved on the “Something New.” And of course, that “Something New” had to revolve around the marriage of home and automation!
After all, we do live in an automated world now. Wired electronics are extinct (or close to it), homes are remotely controlled and traditional keys are quickly becoming passé. Remember the Jetsons? We’re getting there. The last few years have brought some incredible products to the mass market—products we never even imagined, but now that they’re out there, boy, do these seem necessary.
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show showed the world what (might be) coming—Intel’s Smart Onesies for monitoring babies, LG’s HomeChat for texting with your appliances and “Bendable” TVs—and whether you think the products would be useful or ridiculous, you have to admit one thing: They’re incredibly innovative. But let’s talk about what’s out there right now. The latest products to hit the consumer market—some that are only available as preorders—are truly revolutionizing our home dynamic. From more intuitive ways to stream video and music to ingenious and easy home security systems, this is the year that home automation comes to the masses.
Take a look at five products that will make your life easier, a lot more tranquil and much more convenient than you’ve ever thought possible.
The award-winning Kevo Deadbolt is one of the greatest inventions ever when it comes to security and convenience. Made by Kwikset (one of the major door lock manufacturers), the Kevo deadbolt requires an encrypted “e-key” to securely unlock it…. Just a touch of your smart phone or Kwikset Fob, and voila, your door is unlocked. When you have arms full of groceries, work, kids or dog leashes—that small convenience feels like a lifesaver. *Currently, the Kevo App is only supported by the iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5S, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad (3rd generation and higher) and the iPad mini. If you’re not an Apple Smart Phone person, the Fob entry is still a great option. Cost: $219
2. Nest Protect
We all know the sound of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector—a loud, piercing beep that goes off just as loudly and startlingly in a fire as it does when you’ve burnt a piece of toast. And when you try to stop the beeping—good luck. Nest Protect is designed to alert you to an emergency, but it does it in a more civilized way. First off, it remembers what room it’s in and if it senses something’s amiss, it gives you a warning before beeping. So if you did just burn a piece of toast, you can hush it with a wave of the hand. It also features a light ring that changes colors based on the level of danger…and the other great part of the design: it comes with long-life batteries that don’t need to be replaced every year. Cost: $129
*Also check out the Nest Learning Thermostat for just $249 that helps you save energy and gives you control remotely.
Traditional home security always feels so complicated. The code stress, the false alarms, the installation hassles. And let’s not even talk about the cost. Introducing Canary—an easy-to-use, all-in-one home security device that requires no installation, tracks everything from motion, air quality and temperature to vibration, sound and activity and is controlled from your smartphone. You can check in through Canary’s HD Video Camera anytime and from anywhere. And if there is an emergency, you control the response. It’s a whole new way to find peace of mind. Cost: $199
Google Chromecast is a great, simplified way to stream video and music with zero wires and 100% ease. All you need to do is plug the Chromecast device into your HDTV, connect to your WiFi, then cast videos or music from sites like Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Google Play, Pandora or even your own smartphone, tablet or laptop. There’s also no remote necessary—just use your tablet or smartphone to control playback and volume. Cost: $35
Belkin’s WeMo is a WiFi-enabled light switch that gives you the freedom to turn your lights on or off from anywhere in the world. Just self-install the switch (or professional installation is available), download the free WeMo app to your Apple or Android device and you’re ready to go. If you’re going to be at work late and you want the lights on for the cats, just turn them on from your smartphone. If you’re concerned with home security when you’re out of town, control your lights to give the impression someone’s home. You can also program your lights to go on and off at whatever time you specify. Cost: $49.99
Are you adding tech gadgets to your home? Let us know what your favorite products are and how they’ve made your home life easier.