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8 Essential Gadgets for Your Smart Home Part 1

Smart home gadgets are everywhere.  If you’ve ventured into the electronics department of any big box retailer, you’ve likely noticed an endless array of items for home security, efficiency, and automation.  They can even be found at department stores and cell phone storefronts!  What are the “must have” smart home gadgets?  If you’re building a home or upgrading your current setup, you might be interested in our list, curated from the editors of PC Mag and CNET.

What is a Smart Home?

A smart home, at its basic level, is a home equipped with electronic devices, lighting and even temperature regulation that can be controlled remotely, by phone and/or computer. Smart Home USA gives us an even more specific definition:  “A Smart Home is one that provides its homeowners comfort, security, energy efficiency (low operating costs) and convenience at all times, regardless of whether anyone is home.’Smart Home’ is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.Installation of smart products give the home and its occupants various benefits — the same benefits that technology and personal computing have brought to us over the past 30 years — convenience and savings of time, money and energy.Most homes do not have these appliances and systems built into them. Therefore the most common and affordable approach is for the home owner to retrofit smart products into their own finished home.”

A Smart Voice Assistant

It might seem silly (or overly obvious) but a good place to start is with a voice assistant to help you manage your new devices- all with your voice.  There are three major “families” when it comes to voice assistants. Amazon’s Alexa (and Echo family), Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit gadgets.  Alexa is the market leader and works with many of the gadgets you have (or will have).

Indoor Security Camera

An indoor security camera is a must-have for many.  There are many uses:  keeping a watchful eye on elderly or young children at the home, even keeping an eye on caregivers in your absence.  Some popular ones include the Amazon Cloud Cam and the iCamera Keep Pro from iSmartAlarmWyze Labs and Nest also makes terrific contenders.  You should investigate in which features you are most interested.  Then look at integration with your other gadgets and assistants, which only makes them “smarter.”

Smart Bulbs

Smart bulbs can be color-changing or white LED.  You may have already made the leap to energy-efficient light bulbs in your home.  Installing smart bulbs is the next logical step to take. They give you the ability to customize the way your home looks.  You can even turn lights on and off from around the world.  They also save you money in the long run!Philips Hue bulbs are very popular and respond to voice commands via Alexa.  They work with the Apple Watch, too.  Lifx is another manufacturer that makes wi-fi smart bulbs.  If lighting and setting the exact mood is important to you, you might want to check out the Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb White and Color. It’s not cheap–but you can “create” over 16 million colors!

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat gives you the freedom to control your home’s temperature from wherever you may be.  If you’ve left town and set your A/C to 78, you can remotely turn it back down to 71. CNET’s pick for the best small thermostat is the Ecobee. CNET says that, “The Ecobee4 has a responsive display, a remote sensor and tons of smart integrations, including a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker. It is unmatched on the market.”Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to stick to established brands with solid track records. Read those product reviews and do your research!  Check back for Part 2,and we’ll go over four more essential smart home gadgets!Looking to build or buy a new home that is “smart” through and through?  Give us a call today! You can reach the Cami Jones & Company team at 913.402.2550. Want to come see us? Our office is conveniently located at 5000 W. 135th St. Leawood, KS 66224. You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. We’re even on LinkedIn, as Cami Jones & Company, ReeceNichols.

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