If you’re part of the millennial generation, you almost certainly remember the Disney Channel Original Movie, Smart House. The premise of the movie is that a teenager, his widowed father, and his little sister win a futuristic computerized house that eventually takes on a life of its own, in the form of an overbearing mother figure (Katey Sagal). And while the movie was never going to win an Oscar, it left a lasting impression on many of us. It allowed us to dream about what a world would be like where houses had computerized “smart” features.
Well, folks, we’re living in the future. You’re now an adult in a world where smart home technology is no longer the stuff of Disney Channel Original Movies. It’s real life – and you don’t have to worry about Katey Sagal taking over your home.
The only question is, what types of smart home tech should you really be excited about?
With so many different smart home gadgets on the market, it’s not always clear which direction to go. It’s ultimately up to you, but here are some trends we’re loving:
Smart Temperature Control
We’ve had programmable thermostats for years now, but the latest automation trend far surpasses the limited capabilities of yesterday’s devices. Whereas programmable thermostats could be set to change temperature settings based on predefined times, smart thermostats modulate in real-time by learning your behaviors and optimizing according to a variety of factors (such as outside temperature, time of day, and even your comings and goings). These thermostats can also be manually adjusted on a remote basis using a cloud-connected app.
With certain systems, you can even manage humidity levels, indoor air quality, airflow, and ventilation for up to eight different zones. It’s like being able to control weather patterns with the swipe of a finger.
Smart Home Security Systems
Gone are the days when you had to sign up for a long-term agreement with a security provider like ADT to secure your home. In today’s marketplace, there are a variety of smart DIY systems that homeowners can install on their own. Many of them include stackable features like cameras, motion sensors, and even door locks.
When installing a smart home security system, you’ll need to weigh the options and decide if you want professional monitoring. (It’s actually pretty cost-effective these days.) If you don’t, you’ll need to have all notifications sent directly to your phone so that you can respond to alerts in a timely manner.
For many years, the kitchen was the odd room out in the smart home evolution. But it’s now catching up quickly. We’re seeing a lot of new smart appliances hitting the market. This includes ovens, microwaves, and refrigerators. In fact, smart refrigerators are now very popular in luxury kitchens. They typically come with touchscreen door interfaces that store recipes, provide step-by-step video tutorials, feature calendars, and even tell you what items you have in stock without needing to open the door.
The home lighting game has evolved a tremendous amount over the past decade. Smart lighting is now more practical than ever. With the right bulbs, you can control color, brightness, schedules, and more. You can even tell your lights to turn on when you enter the house.
One of the perks of smart lighting is that it’s an accessible option for both homeowners and renters. If you’re a tenant, you might not be able to install a smart thermostat, security system, or kitchen appliance. You can, however, screw in a few smart light bulbs and enjoy the benefits of lower energy bills and greater customization.
Sensors are everywhere! You can deploy them throughout the home to increase your control over various systems and predict problems before they arise.
“Water management is a prime example, as evidenced by a new partnership between Moen and Flo Technologies,” HomeAdvisor.com notes. “The system features a WiFi-connected device installed on the home’s main water line, where it monitors water movement. Homeowners are alerted to small leaks, say from a dripping faucet, or major leaks from a burst pipe, for example. Then, it will shut off the main water line, saving your home from catastrophe.”
Design Your Own Smart House
Your childhood Disney Channel dreams can now be a reality. Whether you want to be able to adjust your thermostat while lying in bed, or control an interconnected home security system while on vacation, there’s a gadget just waiting to be installed. Let us know what your plans are!