Did you ever get jealous watching the Jetsons? Do you still think about how great and streamlined your life would become if you had a robot maid, or if you could make your house do whatever you wanted just by pressing a few buttons on your cell phone? Although Rosie is still a more remote possibility, Smart Home technology is real, widely available, and very cool. Here are some of my favorite devices available today.
1. Philips Hue
Hue, from the renowned Philips company, offers a range of automated lighting that can perform a set of useful functions throughout the day. Have you ever thought of using your lights as an alarm clock? We hadn’t either, but if you program Hue’s brightness to gain in intensity like a sunrise, then it could wake you gently — without the surprise and irritation that traditional alarm clocks are known for.
Hue can provide great home security too, and by remotely switching lights on and off from your Smartphone, you can give the impression that your property is occupied throughout the day.
Finally, to complete the daily cycle, why not reverse the morning routine and get your lighting to dim slowly as you drift off to sleep? There is a choice of smart lighting around but as a 24/7 package, this is tough to beat!
2. Samsung Smart Fridge
A fridge doesn’t seem like the #1 priority for smart technology — it’s just a cold box that holds food; why would you need smart technology to make it easier to run? The answer lies in a host of innovations that make Samsung’s Smart Fridge more than just a place to stick your leftovers.
Firstly, let’s do away with all those written reminders that you stick to the fridge door telling you to pick up the kids or to pay your utility bills. The display screen can be programed to show these in digital form, and to alert you when action is required. Family photos can be shown digitally too, which is great news for everyone except the fridge magnet industry. And this new range of refrigerators uses the latest technology to keep your food cool and fresh, with different temperature levels available for the separate compartments within each product.
3. Samsung Smart Microwave
No, we’re not sponsored by Samsung — but it does seem as though the South Korean giant is at the forefront of smart technology, and their highly intelligent microwave has certainly impressed leading chef Jamie Oliver. The UK based celebrity cook runs through a list of processes, all of which promise to save you time and add some flavor, whether you’re an advanced chef or a culinary klutz. For example, the clever device tells you exactly when your food has defrosted by virtue of its temperature display, and Oliver explains how he used it to cook a complete roast dinner before promising some more tempting recipes in the months ahead. If you’re more Gordon Gekko than Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, the Samsung Smart oven could literally transform your skills overnight.
4. Nest Learning Thermostat
This ingenious device is called a “learning thermostat” for reasons you may not initially suspect. It’s not an entry level piece of equipment for Smart Home dummies – it’s actually the Nest Thermostat itself that undertakes all of the learning processes. The ‘stat begins to understand your home heating and cooling preferences, and over time it will start to implement them automatically. So you don’t even have to program the equipment yourself — perfect for the busy (or lazy!) homeowner.
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest, and that’s certainly the case with Doorbot. It’s a flexible device that helps to boost your home security and helps you ignore timewasters at your door. Once downloaded, the app lets you see who has just rung your doorbell. If you’re away from home, you can monitor all the comings and goings at your property and alert the authorities (or your Doberman) if you see anything suspicious. Alternatively, if you’re at home and don’t want to entertain the traveling salesman, you’re free to stay rooted to your couch.