If you didn't already know, smart homes have arrived and are seriously changing the way we live. What might have seemed like an idea from a sci-fi movie has come to life with a number of amazing devices that work to make our lives a little easier. What's even cooler? You can control this tech from the convenience of the phone in your hand, offering you the luxury to control and monitor your home from anywhere around the globe.
Now you may understandably be apprehensive to buy into smart technology. Perhaps a viewing of the moviesWall-E or Her made you swear off it. Even a smart home writer Stacey Higginbotham warned that the technology might not be ready yet. "A good artificial intelligence will need context to build great automation. But homes don't offer computers that context yet," she said in Fortune. "There is both a lack of understanding of where people are in the home (presence detection), who that person is (computer vision or just grabbing a unique ID off their phone if it's on them), what they are doing (computer vision), and the power dynamics in the home."
Glitchy products might also might scare people off. In a review in The Verge for the Nest Cam IQ, which uses face recognition software to alert you of intruders to your home, Dan Seifert wrote, "I thought it would be able to alert me to visitors and delivery people — like a doorbell, in effect — which it did do. But it also alerted me whenever one of my neighbors was walking their dog on my street, which grew tiresome quickly. Even with its people-tracking intelligence and high-resolution image quality, I’m not convinced it’s worth the price."
Even still — you shouldn't give up on smart homes just yet. There are so many incredible innovations that have already begun changing the way we interact with our space. Whether you want to keep your home safe or to make your life a bit more seamless, there is tech out there to help.
Take home security for example. If you want to keep an eye on your home while you're away, Nest, which has been at the forefront of home security tech, has a smoke and carbon dioxide monitor that can alert you anywhere if there are changes in carcinogen levels in your space . If you want to check who's ringing your doorbell, Skybell has a 1080p resolution camera that can show you who's there and can record and store the footage. Forget if you closed your garage? Chamberlain now has a device that senses if the door is open and lets you shut it via WiFi from anywhere in the world. Or if you want to go keyless, Schlage smart locks let you enter your home with a touch of your app via Bluetooth. No more having to climb through a window or call your landlord to get back safe and sound.
Now you may be surprised to know that some gadgets that seem made up like that Silicon Valley smart fridge actually exist. Really. For example, the Samsung Family Hub knows when things expire to cut down on food waste, lets you order the groceries you need straight from Instacart, play music on Pandora, and have a live-cam inside that you can access from anywhere to double check if you actually need to pick up a bottle of rosé. Or there's also the June oven, which lets you preheat it from your phone and knows how to cook your steak that perfect medium rare temperature. If you're concerned about having to constantly upgrade your devices, these cool pieces can learn new recipes and tech with software updates over WiFi.
Now if you want to use your smart home to throw a party, it's also super simple. Like, my parents have been able to figure it out simple. All you need to do is connect your phone through Sonos speakers to keep different playlists playing throughout your home at varying volumes and set colorful mood lighting with Philips Hue bulbs.
The coolest recent development? You can now control all this home tech just through one app and create sequences that let your home come to life all at once. "With Samsung Connect Home, we’re redefining the whole home network to finally offer families a simple solution that expands Wi-Fi coverage throughout the home while offering the ability to monitor, automate, and control smart devices," says Bill Lee, VP and general manager of Samsung Smart Home Product Marketing. "All of this with just a few taps on a smartphone."
Lee continues, "Smart home adoption is at a tipping point with consumers; they’re starting to understand the value of a connected home and how it can simplify life’s daily tasks." And it's that simplicity that we are all really looking for. We want smart homes to add convenience and a touch of excitement to those mundane tasks. "Apps let me be a bit more lazy," says one S.F.-based smart tech enthusiast. "I can control my TV, put on music, or even just turn off my lights without having to get out of bed." Whether it's telling your coffee machine to start brewing while you're getting dressed or having the lights and music turn on as you walk through the front door, smart tech is all about removing stress from your day. If you can make your space safer, your routines easier, and your life more whimsical, there's no reason not to enter the realm of the smart home.