Last Updated September 27,2018
Gone are the days when each gadget and device in a home operated in a standalone fashion. Modern technology, specifically IoT (Internet of Things), has enabled the creation of an ecosystem wherein all devices in the home can communicate with one another. These smart devices allow you to control different aspects of your home remotely. You can switch devices on and off, control your ambiance and interact with them using voice commands.
In short, the smart devices transform your home into one right out of a futuristic movie. If you are looking to spruce up your home, then here are five smart devices to make your home more contemporary and Hi-Tech.
What is the point of a smart home if you can’t control your ambient temperature without getting out of bed? The Ecobee4 is the latest model of thermostat from the home automation company that puts you in full control of the ambient temperature in your home.
The Ecobee4 can be connected to heating and air condition units, humidifiers/dehumidifiers and other HVAC devices. It comes with a room sensor that detects hot and cold spots in the room and the number of people in it for ensuring a comfortable environment in the room. It maximizes the efficiency of the heating and cooling equipment and can switch it to energy saving mode when your home is empty, lowering your electricity bills in the process. The device can detect temperature, humidity and even the presence of people using motion and proximity sensors.
It can be controlled via the 3.5” colored touch LCD screen, as well as by using the Ecobee app which is available for both Android and iOS devices. You can control the room temperature even when you are not at home via the application. You can also create schedules for adjusting the room temperature based on your routine.
It has Amazon Alexa voice service inbuilt allowing you to interact with Alexa and asking it to perform one of the many supported ‘skills’ without requiring the Amazon Echo. You can control different smart devices and shop online. A built-in microphone is provided for issuing voice commands for interacting with Alexa. Although, it is not necessary to use Alexa for controlling the room temperature. Overall, the Ecobee4 is a great smart device that keeps your home at the perfect temperature while cutting down your electricity bills.
Philips Hue Lighting Kit
Making your home a smart one is cool, changing its ambiance as per your mood is cooler. The Philips Hue Lighting Kit is what makes it possible. It is a smart lighting ecosystem that enables you to adjust the ambient lighting of your rooms. It can work with color changing LED bulbs, smart white bulbs and LED strips from Philips. You can change the brightness level of the white bulbs and LED strips and also change the colors of the bulbs and LED strips that support it. The bulbs come with inbuilt dimmers and can be plugged into regular holders in your home. The LED bulbs are available with different wattage and lumens ratings.
You can control the kit by installing the Philips Hue application on your Android or iOS device. The application enables you to control and dim individual as well as groups of bulbs. A Philips Hue wireless dimming remote can also be optionally purchased which allows you to control up to ten bulbs. The Philips Hue lighting kit is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Siri allowing you to control the kit via voice commands.
There are different versions of the kit available, and you may choose one as per your needs. Use it in your den, living room or bedroom and control your ambient lighting depending on your mood. Set it low for movies, medium for reading a book before bed or something flashy if you are in the mood for a party.
JMGO N7L Smart Projector
A smart home is incomplete without a smart projector. It is the wish of all homeowners to own a projector that enables them to watch movies and play games on a large screen for a cinematic experience. The JMGO N7L is a feature-packed yet affordable smart projector that does not require any additional laptop or DVD player for playing movies. It is a DLP projector (0.33” DMD chip) that has an LED light source with a brightness rating of 700 ANSI lumens. The projector has a native resolution of 1920x1080 enabling you to watch movies and videos in HD resolution. It can project images ranging from 40” to 200”, but the recommended image size is from 80” to 150”.
The N7L projector comes with the JMGO OS which is based on Android platform. It has a quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of inbuilt storage allowing you to install different applications. The projector supports horizontal and vertical keystone correctionof up to ±45º as well as autofocus, features which are rarely matched by even more expensive projectors available from different brands.
Interface options on the projector include an HDMI port, one each of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, an RJ45 port for LAN connectivity, and a 3.5mm audio-out port that also doubles as S/PDIF port. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities and comes with an inbuilt speaker. You can use the projector as a standalone Bluetooth speaker also. There is no inbuilt battery, and it must be powered off the mains.
The image quality of the projector is quite decent considering it is available for under $800 (USD). Its excellent feature set and reasonable pricing make it a must-have smart device for homeowners.
Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug
The Belkin WeMo Insight smart plug enables you to turn your devices on and off remotely. It can be plugged into any power outlet at your home. The smart plug makes use of your home’s Wi-Fi network and provides an interface on your Android or iOS device via the WeMo application. The application allows you to set up the plug and connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi network. You can switch the devices on and off from the application itself. It also logs the power consumption of that particular outlet and provides you with data regarding the power consumed by the devices plugged into that outlet as well as the electricity costs incurred.
The WeMo application enables you to program the switch to turn the device on and off as per a schedule. You can set the schedule to switch on a device in the morning and automatically turn it off in the evening. It can also send notifications if the switch has been in operation for more than a specified number of hours in a day. It is a great feature for parents who want to control the amount of time their children spend watching TV or gaming. It is also compatible with Amazon Alex and Google Home. With the Belkin WeMo, there is no need to get out of bed to check whether you switched off the TV or any other appliance. It can be accomplished at your fingertips.
Amazon Echo Plus
It is good to have a smart home that you can control at your fingertips. It is even better if it responds to your voice. The Amazon Echo Plus makes it possible to control your home using voice commands. Its voice control technology allows you to command a wide array of devices. The Echo Plus can perform various tasks (skills) ranging from booking a vacation to ordering an Uber. It supports more than 30,000 skills and can make your daily chores easier.
It also has an integrated ZigBee hub that enables users to connect different ZigBee devices to their Amazon Echo Plus including Philips Hue lighting kit and different smart locks. You can even add the Echo Spot or Echo Show to the Echo Plus to control it via a touchscreen. It is a genie that interprets your voice commands and performs the corresponding functions.
The above-mentioned devices can transform any regular home into a contemporary and high-tech one. Switch on the air conditioning, adjust the ambient lighting, order your favorite food, turn on your N7L projector and get set for an awesome movie night with these smart devices by your side.