Connect Your Whole Home with Smart Tech
Explaining Tech: Easy ways to make your home smarter
We may not have flying cars just yet (although self-driving cars are right around the corner), but it’s tough to deny that we’re living in the future. And there’s no better proof than the burgeoning Internet of Things, otherwise known as IoT or connected tech; no matter what you call it, this new area of tech is inspiring some truly incredible devices, including in the exciting realm of home automation, that let you monitor and make the most of your home like never before. From security to entertainment, here’s what you’ll need to connect your whole home with the latest smart tech.
While voice-controlled virtual assistants have graced our smartphones for the better part of a decade, they’re now becoming a part of our homes. Here’s how these voice-activated hubs can help do everything from controlling your smart devices to answering your everyday questions.
We already go to Google for far more than the answers to our everyday questions, and now Google Home lets you search and more using just your voice. The first voice activated speaker of its kind available in Canada, Google Home can answer the questions you’d normally take to your computer or smartphone. Just say, “Ok Google” to activate it, and Google Home will be ready to answer your questions, schedule your appointments, tell you the weather, play your favourite songs from your streaming music services, and more. It works with tons of other IoT devices and brands, like Nest, Philips Hue, Wemo, TP-Link, and more, so you can control your smart tech with your voice, and it also has some fun surprises up its sleeve, like trivia games, guessing games and even truth or dare.
Keeping your home safe and secure is your top priority, and smart tech can help. Between connected security cameras and smart locks, here’s the top tech you need to keep your home secure right from your smartphone.
The easiest way to keep an eye on your home is with a security camera – and Nest has you covered indoors and out. From monitoring who’s going in and out of your front door to checking in on your pets through the day, Nest Cam Indoor lets you see your home right from your smartphone 24/7–just set it up, plug it in and download the Nest app to get started, and add Nest Cam Outdoor for rain-or-shine, day-or-night coverage outside your home, too.
Want a little extra coverage in one convenient package? The Netgear Arlo wire-free Wi-Fi security system comes with up to 3 HD cameras so you can see more of your home at once, plus a Smart Home Base that connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network and syncs to the cameras for easy wireless set-up.
Locks + Doorbells
Wondering who’s ringing is a thing of the past with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 – just install this 2-in-1 camera plus doorbell to see who’s at the door plus all the activity in your front yard. It also has two-way audio so you can speak to whoever’s ringing, and the built-in, adjustable motion sensors can send alerts to your smartphone if it senses any movement within range of the sensors.
If you’re tired of fumbling in your bag for your keys, the August Home Smart Lock is for you. This Homekit™-enabled device automatically unlocks as you approach the door, and also locks it behind you when you leave. Plus, if you’re an iPhone® user you can even control it using Siri®. You can also give permanent or temporary access to family and friends, and track who comes and goes using the August Home App. Even better: the August Home Smart Lock is super easy to set up, and lets you keep all your existing exterior hardware – you’ll just have to replace the interior side of your door lock.
Between helping the environment and reducing your power bill, there are plenty of ways smart tech can make your home smarter and more efficient.
Canadian weather can be a little unpredictable, which can make it tough to heat and cool your home efficiently. Enter the Nest Thermostat E, which makes it easy to save energy (and money on your energy bill) by turning itself down after you leave the house, and by displaying the handy Nest Leaf™ icon when you’ve picked a temperature that saves energy. Plus, you can check your Energy History to see how much you’ve saved and how to save even more. It’s also perfect for pet owners – you can control it from anywhere via the Nest App, so you can turn it up or down if it gets too hot or cold for your furry family members.
If you’ve ever wondered if you left an appliance on after you’ve left home, there’s a simple IoT solution that is here to give you peace of mind. A smart plug , like the Linksys Wemo mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug , fits into your normal electrical outlet and connects to your home Wi-Fi network so you can keep an eye on your electronics when you’re away from home via your smartphone or tablet. Plus, being able to turn your tech off from afar makes it easy to manage your energy usage, even when you’re not at home.
Whether the kids won’t stop leaving the lights on or you want to set up a timer for when you’re away from home, a smart light switch (like the Belkin WeMo® light switch) can help. Like other IoT devices, it connects to your smartphone so you can turn your lights on and off from another room or even from out of the house. It can also program your lights on a schedule, like turning them on when the sun sets and off again when it rises.
Smart bulbs are another great option for controlling your energy consumption, and Philips Hue has taken this bright idea one step further with their family of connected, controllable light bulbs and strips that let you set a lighting schedule and control your lights from anywhere with the Hue app. Plus, the multicoloured models can be synced to your TV, music or video games for a cool, immersive light show.
Now that you have peace of mind with your brand new security system and your energy-efficient sensors, it’s time to kick back and enjoy your home with some connected entertainment.
Music makes the world go round, which is why the Bose SoundLink® Revolve+ Bluetooth speaker is designed with 360 degrees of incredible sound. This wireless speaker pairs with your smart devices so you can listen to your favourite artists anywhere without worrying about wires, and it’s water-resistant so it can be the life of your pool parties, too. And if you want wireless sound through your whole home, the Bose® SoundTouch® 10 connects to your Wi-Fi network for instant access to your favourite streaming services and your whole music library. Plus, it has programmable pre-set buttons so you can start streaming even if your phone or tablet isn’t in the room.
TV + Tablets
So much of our favourite entertainment is available online these days, from movies to TV shows to YouTube videos and more, and a Smart TV makes it easy and comfortable to watch it all on a nice big screen. With built-in Wi-Fi, simple menus, and even apps and games, a Smart TV is a great addition to your connected home, and also helps to cut down on the number of devices and remotes cluttering up your living room. And if you prefer a smaller, more portable version, a tablet is a great choice. A tablet not only lets you take your entertainment to go (or keep connected if someone else is hogging your Smart TV!), it also has the extra plus of being able to control all the other smart devices in your connected home.