You know the feeling. You leave for work, get halfway to the office, and wonder, “Did I lock the door?” Then, you contemplate your options. You could head back home to check the door or drive to work risking that the door might be unlocked and an intruder could get inside, steal everything you own, and you wind up coming home to an empty entertainment center, gutted house, and a missing dog. That is, unless you have a smart, or connected, home.
The connected home is becoming more common as technology evolves and changes how we live our everyday lives. A connected home is one that quiets all those little worries you have when you walk out the door. Are the doors locked? Did I turn out all the lights? Is the air conditioner still running?
Simply put, a connected home is one that uses the technology of the Internet of Things (IoT) and has home appliances and accessories that are connected to the Internet.
This year at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the connected home showcase occupied a sizeable amount of show floor real estate. Although this category made its big splash last year, this year it evolved from its preliminary conceptual stages and moved deeper into implementation by featuring products that homeowners could consider and add to their homes right away (in other words, the uses became more applicable and prices more affordable).
From automated sweepers to smart locks, the gadgets at CES impressed and overwhelmed. Through the featured products, we discovered that almost anything electric – lights, heat, locks – can be connected to a home automation system, allowing the devices to communicate and be controlled remotely by any array of digital devices (e.g., smart phones, tablets, etc.).
Here are a few categories that are now a part of the expanding world of the IoT and the associated products that are making their way through our front doors.
Appliances. When it comes to appliances, there are refrigerators connected to the Internet and even dog food bowls that can be controlled through a couple taps within an app. Other appliances include microwaves, ovens, and interestingly enough, slow cookers.
Lighting. A connected home can absolutely help you save money and conserve electricity by utilizing the features of smart lighting. With smart light bulbs and corresponding apps, a lighting schedule can be planned so the lights are turned on and off, avoiding wasted energy. The bonus is that you can even create a lighting schedule so you don’t have to install multiple timers into your electrical outlets just to appear as if you’re home while you’re out for the evening or enjoying a vacation.
Temperature Control. And back to saving money, temperature controls can help you save by controlling and regulating your home temperature, even from afar. By pre-setting temperatures and monitoring any fluctuations, you can easily change the temperature through an app, even if you’re across the country.
Smart Locks. To protect your loved ones (and all your new smart home gadgets), smart locks will keep your home locked while allowing you to set specific codes for anyone entering your home. By activating this sort of locking system, you will always know who walked through your front door, what time he/she entered, and through which door he/she exited.
A connected home is a smart home and one that can actually help save money, provide protection, and offer peace of mind. And while we may not have Rosie from the Jetsons (yet) to help us with our chores, with all the new home automation solutions and gadgets helping our homes operate on their own, a real life Rosie could be on the horizon.