Plus, six smart devices you can own to upgrade your home
Simply put, the way we are living is changing. Technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. The 2000s decade gave us a glimpse of a lot of new technology, but it was raw and un-evolved, the 2010s decade allowed us to build on that and develop it further. Now, in the 2020s decade it really feels like we are on the cusp of living in the future. The age of technological advancement is definitely here. This is affecting all aspects of humanity, whether it’s AI, space exploration or driverless cars. Another area that technology has infiltrated is our homes, and this is partly due to other existing technologies such as smartphones and wireless connectivity - such as Bluetooth and WiFi. A simple example of this is a light bulb in your home that you can dim or change color by using an app on your phone.
This is known as home automation, or otherwise known as a smart home. These are automated or remotely operated systems in the home that monitor and/or control home attributes such as lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security, such as access and control of locks or alarm systems, and doorbell cameras. These kind of systems often integrate with a smartphone app for ease of use and control.
Many new homes being built already include home automation systems and more and more people are adopting these kind of features into their homes. With a plethora of app-controlled home automation products available—including light bulbs, thermostats and door locks—it seems anybody can turn their existing home into a smart (or at least smarter) home. It is however still quite a niche market, but it is growing fast and lot of companies are investing in these types of products, so 2022 will surely see this market expand further.
What are some popular smart home systems and apps you can buy right now?
Here are six top devices that can upgrade your living environment and make your home smarter:
1. Philips Hue - Best smart lighting
Lighting is perhaps one of the most popular smart home products, and the Philips Hue range of smart bulbs is our top pick in this category. Philips didn’t waste any time jumping on the smart bulb bandwagon, in fact their lighting division created the first marketable smart bulb.. so there!
Here they present to us Hue. This is Philips line of smart bulbs and app-controlled lighting systems. Philips Hue smart lighting is extremely versatile, allowing you create almost any atmosphere you want in your living room, bedroom, or any other room in your home. From cozy nights in to wild house parties, you’ll never get bored with the lighting options that Philips Hue lighting provides.There are a plethora of options available, far too many to list here, so head over to Philips dedicated website for Hue, or check them out here on Facebook.
2. Amazon Echo Studio - Best smart speaker
What isn’t there to love about Amazon’s Echo Studio? Immersive sound with voice control gives you access to millions of songs from your favorite streaming services. Alexa is on standby to answer your questions, play your music or control your other smart home devices from requests you give it. The Echo Studio features no less than 5 separate speakers, including a 5.25-inch woofer for immersive bass. In addition to the other 4 speakers, sound gets fired off in all directions, adding space, clarity and depth for a truly dynamic audio experience.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has the ability to act as a hub for your other smart home devices. This simple setup process works with dozens of compatible devices that use Zigbee. Echo Studio also supports every Works with Alexa device. This makes the Echo Studio very versatile and an attractive addition to any home. Check it out further here on Amazon.
3. Arlo Pro 4 - Best home security camera
The Arlo Pro 4 is a popular choice among people who want to enhance their home security, and it is easy to see why. Yes, it doesn’t feature 4K resolution like some of the more premium models but it’s 2K resolution is still pretty impressive and detailed enough in most in most situations. Upon testing, we found it offered clear footage that was rich in color during both day and night thanks to its color night vision and built-in spotlight feature. In addition to this, there is also automatic zooming and motion tracking of objects it detects. It connects directly to WiFi and boasts Google and Alexa integration for even more versatility.
Some smart features however, do require a subscription. This includes, for example, an option that lets you reduce the amount of unwanted alerts. Although a three-month free trial is included with purchase of the Arlo Pro 4. For an in-depth look at the Arlo Pro 4, visit here.
4.Eve Energy - Best smart plug
A smart home would not be complete without a smart plug, and the Eve Energy smart plug is our top pick in this department. The Eve Energy smart plug not only lets you control devices plugged into it and set schedules, but it also monitors energy usage and estimates how much power certain devices will cost you to run. This is great if you’re trying to use less energy or save money on your power bill. It connects via Bluetooth and is compatible with Apple HomeKit, but lacks support for Alexa or Google Assistant. It can also integrate into Thread - a wireless technology that’s built into the plug. Check out the Eve Energy smart plug here for all the details.
5. Eufy Video Doorbell 2K - Best video doorbell
For a doorbell that strikes the right balance between price, functionality and performance, we’d have to recommend the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K. Detailed footage is captured during both day and night in 4:3 aspect ratio so you can clearly see who is at your doorstep and talk to them via 2-way audio. It is subscription-free and has the ability to store around 2-week’s worth of video on its 16GB of internal storage. It’s battery-operated, which can last up to six months, but there is some downtime when it needs recharging as the battery can’t be switched out. However, wired models are also available. Visit Eufy here to learn more and order directly.
6.Nest Learning Thermostat - Best smart thermostat
The Nest Learning Thermostat was one of the first smart thermostats to incorporate machine learning into heating and cooling your home. It does this by learning how long it takes for your home to heat up and cool down. It then adjusts the heating schedule based on the information it has learned. This optimized process subsequently helps save energy and money. The Nest Learning Thermostat has been hailed by some as the best smart thermostat you can buy right now. It does work with Google Assistant, but a couple of drawbacks are there’s no support for Apple HomeKit and it doesn’t offer zonal temperature control. With that said however, for most people, it will be everything they need in a smart thermostat. It’s available in a range of colors and you can view it here on Amazon.
What do you think of the above devices? Do you own any of them or would you like to own any of them? Are there any other devices you think are essential for a smart home to have? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, see you next time!
The Kovol Blog Team