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6 Tech Products That Make a Smart House

By Amanda Curry · Jul 12, 2016 · Real Estate

6 Tech Products That Make a Smart House

Image courtesy of Flickr, Brendan C.

If you are looking to incorporate some of the latest smart-home devices, here are six to consider.

For years we've been talking about how our homes are going to get smarter and that our products will communicate with each other. The fact of the matter is -the future is now.

New technological developments have been making our homes smarter and our lives easier. You can pick and choose your favorite gadgets to assemble your own intelligent abode or opt for an entire smart home system that does all the work for you. Let's take a look at how technology is making your home smarter.

Smart Home Technologies to Transform your Life

Waking up in a smart home might mean that you have a coffee brewing in your kitchen, or when you are away from your home, you can adjust the temperature or perhaps you adjust your music player to play your favorite song as you get into the shower. There are an entire slew of products that are aimed at making a homeowner's life easier. If you are looking to incorporate some of the latest smart-home devices, here are six to consider:

  1. Ecovent: This device automatically adjusts vents via its own temperature, humidity and motion-sensing wall plugs. Essentially, the device works to make every room the right temperature. This way, you can stop conditioning empty space and save energy.
  2. Nest Thermostat: Nest has been leading the market with their smart home technology devices. The Nest thermostat allows you to conveniently control your thermostat from your smartphone. The thermostat will also automatically adapt to your life and the change in seasons, so you can enjoy saving energy and money easily and conveniently. The company also offers a security camera and Smoke + CO alarm.
  3. Zuli Smartplug: Connect your lights and appliances to the Zuli Smartplug and control them from one app. Rather than relying on motion sensors, this plug picks up Bluetooth signals from a nearby phone to observe when someone walks by, turning on your lamps, fans, and other devices.
  4. MyQ Garage: Feel secure knowing that you can control you garage door from anywhere in the world with your smartphone and Wi-Fi connection. MyQ allows you to control nearly every garage door opener from major brands manufactured after 1993.
  5. Keen Smart Home Vent: Connect Keen Smart Home Vent to your thermostat and your vents will open or close automatically by using built-in sensors that track a room's optimal temperature.
  6. Belkin's Crock-Pot: Belkin's smart phone slow cooker allows you to use your smartphone to cook any meal. Adjust your crock pot's settings, receive reminders, change the cook time, and adjust the temperature all via an app on your phone.

The Biggest Challenge: Communication

Although these products are great for improving our everyday lives, the smart-home industry's biggest challenge may be compatibility. Because there's no universal coding language, not all products can communicate with one another.

Since consumers are likely to get frustrated if products don't work well together, companies have been rallying recently to create one universal language.

Thread Group is one organization that has recognized this issue in the marketplace. They explain:

"Most of today's technologies rely on a single device to communicate with products around the home. So if that device fails, the whole network goes down. Today's technologies can also be difficult and confusing to set up. And since many devices around the home need to stay connected 24/7, they end up draining battery life quickly.''

In order to combat these issues, Thread Group's goal is to build a new communication standard that all devices can use. A host of companies and industry leaders from Samsung, Nest, Silicon Valley, and more, have teamed up to design a secure and reliable system that connects hundreds of products around the home - without blowing through battery life. With Thread, a wide variety of products for the home like appliances, access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, and more, will be able to communicate with one another.

Through cooperation and standards-setting, companies are working to make the smart home easier to integrate into homeowner's everyday lives.

What about Privacy Concerns?

Despite smart home technology making our lives easier, these devices still pose a threat. Since these home kits will be tracking our everyday lives and digitally storing it and providing a wealth of information to their respective companies. In fact, every new household appliance connected to the internet generates data about the user's patterns and behaviors, creating an online portfolio of personal details. Eavesdropping on communication systems, compromised security systems, and hacked thermostats that compile information about your schedule can also pose a serious risk. If the information happens to be hacked, and ends up in the wrong hands, the information about your schedule, habits, and home can be used against you.

To address privacy issues, companies are coming out with new ways to protect their consumer's information. For example, Netatmo Welcome keeps track of which family members are home but doesn't store that information online. Instead, the information is stored on the device's memory card.

While companies are taking strides to protect consumer's information, it is crucial for the user to be mindful of what they are agreeing to. Reading the fine print and doing your due diligence are important steps that homeowners need to take when implementing a new smart home technology device. These devices are the way of the future, however, new technology should always come with a word of caution.

Going Mainstream

Although smart-home gadgets and technology may be a bit costly and there are a few usability and privacy concerns, we do expect this type of technology to go mainstream in the future. In fact, smart home technology is already trending that way. Connected home technologies accounted for a meager $98 million in sales to dealers in 2012 (just 1.8 percent of the home technology total), but are forecast to reach $1.1 billion in 2016 (14.4 percent of 2016's total).

We suspect that technology is only going to get more affordable, more advanced, and more integrated into homeowner's every day routine.

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