Turning Your House Into A Smart Home
In recent years plenty of high-tech tools have been brought to the marketplace that help to turn your house into a smart-home. Luckily nowadays, a fully functioning smart home is hardly a science fiction novelty like where the Jetsons lived. If you are ready to start automating your home then you are in luck! There are many options available to you and they don’t all have to break your wallet. In fact, many of them will offer you long term savings. Already own a smartphone? You are in luck. From self programming thermostats to smart locks there are many appliances, devices, and gadgets designed to increase your home’s technology IQ and most of them are controlled directly from your smartphone.
Automating your home to be “smarter” is all about 3 major factors: convenience, security and savings. You would never consider getting off your couch to change the TV channel unless absolutely necessary. With that same theory in mind maybe it is time to consider using your smartphone to control lighting, appliances, entertainment components, heating and air conditioning, communication, security, draperies, blinds and more. The ability to control these devices remotely from anywhere and everywhere will quickly become a modern convenience you will wonder how you ever lived without.
Have you ever found yourself locked out of your house and praying your spare key is where you last left it? How about constantly changing and updating your thermostat to keep up with the ever changing temperature fluctuations? Let’s face it, life gets busy very quickly. Automating your home is all about saving both time and effort. You easily set up your home to automatically complete routine functions – such as watering your lawn, turning lights on and off, setting the thermostat, closing curtains and more. With “Smart Systems” you can control these directly from your phone from anywhere you are!
Concerned about what is going on in your house when you aren’t home? Want to check in on the kids while you are away? Nowadays there is little reason for you to spend your time and energy worrying. The security of knowing your home will alert you if anything is off, and being able to check in on your home from anywhere in the world is priceless. You’ll find peace of mind in knowing your family is protected with a security system. Security systems include control panels, keypads, sensors, sirens, locks, lights, access control and more.
One of the best features about adding smart features into your home is the savings you can enjoy. You are basically giving your home the responsibility of regulating your lights, water heater, HVAC system, entertainment components, appliances and irrigation system. You set and change these devices so that they are only operational and costing you money when needed.
Interested in some great options to jumpstart your Smart Home? Take a look at some of our favorite recommendations!
iSmartAlarm was founded in the Silicon Valley in 2012 and operates their company on the principles of safety, beauty and intelligence. They are known for designing and developing a smartphone-enabled home security and home control system that not only protects your home but does so intelligently. Their products have won multiple app and design awards and have received high ratings from CNet, PC Mag, TechHome, SecurityGem, and others.
When it comes to home security, the marketplace is flooded with options for keeping your home protected. iSmartAlarm offers the market a sleek yet sophisticated system that uses a free and simple smartphone/tablet app to give home security and control directly to the palm of its users’ hands. iSmartAlarm products are high tech but still simple to use and affordable.
With no monthly fees or contracts and easy setup (no tools required) you can select one of their packages to ensure protection of your entire home. Each package includes a Cube One which is the “brain” or the hub of the entire system. It gets connected to a wall outlet and internet router and supports the entire system, and all iSmartAlarm devices. Don’t let its simple and elegant design fool you; this little box contains a built-in siren that fires off 110 decibels of volume which is louder than a car horn.
iSmartAlarm packages come with contact sensors, motion sensors and remote tags; everything you need to ensure your home and family are safe and secure. The contact sensors are easily placed at any window or door opening and are both removable and moveable. The sensors are wireless and battery powered and have many uses. Perfect for not only doors and windows but also liquor cabinets, pool gates, sliding glass doors, refrigerators and many more. Their motion sensors can identify trouble within 30 feet and can instantly notify you of intruders. Similar to the contact sensors they are also wireless and powered by batteries. Their packages also include remote tags which can be given to members of your family, especially those without smartphones. They can arm and disarm the alarm system and set off the alarm in case of an intruder or emergency. These remotes work within 300 feet of the home and are helpful to set off your siren as well as track your children and pets.
A great addition to your iSmartAlarm system is an iCamera KEEP. This HD resolution camera uses both video and audio detection as well as on-demand streaming video control directly from your smartphone. It has the ability to capture and store video, 350° x 40° pan and tilt as well as night vision.
Features You Will LOVE
- Package contains contact sensors, motion sensors and remote tags
- Systems ensure safety and security of your family
- Contact and Motion sensors are wireless and battery powered
- Motion Sensors identify trouble within 30 feet
- Remote tags work to arm and disarm the system and set off the alarm
- iCamera KEEP has HD resolution, audio and video detection and on demand streaming video
The SmartAlarm system is the perfect choice for families who are looking to ensure their house is safe and their family is protected. This affordable option really has all the bells and whistles for a great and easy to operate home security system. Since everything is controlled directly from your smartphone you can ensure ease of operation.
ecobee Inc., based in Toronto, Canada, introduced the world’s first wi-fi connected smart thermostat in 2009. The company’s award-winning thermostats have enabled hundreds of thousands of consumers to control their home comfort anytime and from anywhere, using their smartphone, tablet or computer.
The ecobee3 isn’t just smart; it’s really smart. It comes with an intuitive thinking that will automatically understand when to turn on your home’s heating or cooling system, based on its individual profile and occupancy, as well as schedule, what the weather is outdoors, and thousands of other data points to make sure your home is at a comfortable temperature at all times.
An investment in an ecobee3 is an investment into your home’s future, as it’s proven to save the average homeowner 23% on energy bills. It literally pays for itself in energy savings.
The ecobee3 has a built in occupancy sensor that will sense when the house is unoccupied and will automatically change the set-points to save energy. In addition, the system comes with remote wireless sensors to sense the temperature in other rooms as well as those room’s occupancies. This allows the system to only control the rooms that have people currently inside them. The system will allow the user to control the system remotely, as well as track energy usage.
It’s also the world’s first HomeKit enabled smart thermostat, so it can be controlled remotely from your iPad while on the go, or laying in bed upstairs.
Features You Will LOVE
- Attractive full color touchscreen thermostat includes an occupancy sensor to allow the thermostat to heat and cool the house only when occupied
- Includes one wireless remote sensor to sense the temperature and occupancy, and more can be added. This allows the system to control the entire house and not just the room with the thermostat.
- Allows the tracking of past system usage, to see energy usage and savings
- 4 x 4 x 0.9 inches
- 3-Year Limited Warranty
- Recyclable packaging
- Mercury free
- Arsenic free
- PVC free
The ecobee3 is perfect for anyone who is looking to save some money by reducing their monthly energy bill. It’s ideal for any home and its owners, from a tech-guy in a trendy loft in San Francisco to a ranch style family home in the suburbs.
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
Nexia™ is a smart home technology leader, and is a brand of Ingersoll Rand. Ingersoll Rand aims to advance the quality of life by creating a comfortable home environment, which is efficient and sustainable. Their family of brands also include Club Car®, Ingersoll Rand®, Thermo King® and Trane® and they all work together to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings, transport and protect food and perishables, and increase industrial productivity and efficiency. They are a 13 billion dollar global company, with a proven track record for excellence in all that they do.
The home intelligence system from Nexia truly allows you to babysit your home while you are away, so you can rest assured that you’re returning home to everything operating the way it should be – all from the convenience of your smart phone.
Imagine this: you get to the airport, and you suddenly wonder, “Did I leave the coffee pot on?!” Nexia lets you double-check the Linear® Z-Wave Garage Door Controller and shut the door remotely if you forgot. Using any of hundreds of Z-Wave devices, such as a General Electric® Z-Wave Appliance and Light Modules, you can do the same with a coffee pot or any appliance you might want to turn off while away.
This Z-way bridge is the gateway to connect Z-Wave sensors and other products to the app and the Internet. This allows a user to control and monitor their home from their smartphone or computer, anywhere Internet is available. This allows devices such as:
- indoor/outdoor wireless cameras
- door/window sensors to monitor their opening or closing
- sensors to monitor light, motion, temperature, and humidity
- relays to control electrical outlets, including dimming lamps
- water leak detectors
- keypad or hands free door locks
The Fibaro Z-Wave Motion Sensor is the world’s smallest z-wave Multi-sensor that detects motion, temperature, light and vibrations due to the built-in accelerometer. You can get alerted immediately if there is any motion within your house, and it’s also smart enough to recognize the difference between a person and a pet! The multi-colored LED “eye” can also visually display motion or temperature.
You can take a quick peek inside or outside your home using HD Indoor and Outdoor Security Cameras that can stream live encrypted video to your smartphone or automatically record video if a Z-Wave motion sensor such as those from Schlage®, Fibaro, or Aeotek detects motion. The indoor camera features high-definition resolution and enhanced nighttime visibility, and the outdoor camera includes motion detection for two-in-one functionality.
You can also give your home the “lived in” look so that it will not become a tempting target for burglars. Using the lighting control, you can program lights to come on at dusk or the radio or TV to turn on or off over the course of the day. Or, the First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm can send you an alert if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. The Linear ® Z-Wave Siren and Strobe Light increases security from intruders with alerts, sirens and strobe lights that trigger when doors or windows are breached.
Features You Will LOVE
- The Nexia Bridge connects to your router to allow you to control your home through a securely encrypted broadband Internet connection.
- It communicates wirelessly with many other Nexia-compatible Z-Wave products from leading brands, giving you complete control over your home, whether you’re at home or away.
- The Nexia Bridge can hold and control more than 200 Z-Wave products at the same time so you can start small and grow your system as you like.
- The average Z-Wave communication range is 60-feet to 100-feet.
- 720p HD resolution (640 x 480 VGA resolution optional for lower bandwidth consumption) with H.264 streaming for efficient data compression
- Infrared night vision sensing and illumination
- View camera anywhere on your Internet enabled computer or smartphone with your Nexia app
- For use with an active Nexia Home Intelligence Subscription ($9.99 monthly fee) – pay as you go with no contracts or long term agreements
- Built-in tamper protection alerts user if sensor has been moved and can even be used for Earthquake detection (Fibaro controller may be required for advanced configuration)
- Only 1 3/4″ in diameter
- Get alerted immediately on your smart phone, tablet, or email when there is motion detected. Trigger certain lights, activate specific scenes or even sirens if there is a threat.
- Adjustable sensitivity and indicator LED to persons liking
- White lighting control blends with most home decor; can be controlled in groups of multiple lights or turned on or off within ambient interior lighting scenes
- Space-efficient, side-plug design does not block lower outlet or obstruct placement of furniture
- Features one always-on pass-through AC outlet and one Z-Wave enabled outlet
The Nexia home intelligence system is ideal for any home that you wish to upgrade into a “smart home.” It’s great for the traveling couple, or the family that likes assurance that their home is in tip-top condition when they are away from it.
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
Nexia™ and Rachio teamed up in September of 2015 to launch a game changer. Nexia’s custom-developed compatibility with the Iro Smart Sprinkler Controller brings an important new outdoor irrigation management and conservation capability to Nexia users. Using modern irrigation techniques and real-time intelligence on the weather, zone type, regional characteristics and seasonality, Iro’s sensors and software automatically calculate the optimal watering schedule with just the right amount of water necessary to maintain a healthy landscape, reducing outdoor water usage by 30 percent on average.
The Rachio Irrigation Controller device controls a sprinkler system, with a WiFi connection to the Internet. This connection allows the controller to change when, how and how much to water the different zones in a lawn and garden based on the weather or the factors. This prevents under or over-watering plants, saving on water while keeping things green and vibrant. This also allows the user to control and monitor the system from anywhere, from a smartphone or computer. This means that watering is automatic, and based on real time weather and seasonal adjustments!
Now fully-integrated with Nexia, the Iro Smart Sprinkler Controller can connect seamlessly with hundreds of compatible products for endless combinations of smart home functionality – all of which can be managed through a single Nexia app. Nexia users can also turn their irrigation on and off remotely from their smartphone and incorporate Iro into their Nexia automations or modes for added control and customization over their smart home environment.
The Rachio Iro is the newest addition to a growing ecosystem of Nexia-certified products, which have passed Nexia’s rigorous testing for advanced integration to ensure a streamlined user experience.
Features You Will LOVE
- Tune sprinkler system to each zone’s vegetation type, slope, soil type, sprinkler type and sun exposure. Water exactly how much your plants need.
- Controllable from Android, iOS, or a computer from anywhere. Set the system and forget it, or control every detail.
- Integrates with other home automation products, like Nexia
- Track when the system last ran, for how long and see when it will run again
- Forecast weather and change how the system will run based on what will happen
- Pays for itself – Saves customers as much as 30% on their outdoor water use, giving them one of the fastest paybacks on any smart home device
The Rachio Irrigation Controller takes your smart home capabilities to a whole different level by taking the technology outdoors with your sprinkler system. In the days of droughts and more emphasis being placed on water conservation, the irrigation controller is the perfect fit for any home that wishes to save water, and money as well!
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
With so many options available to you, turning your house into a smart home may seem a bit overwhelming. The best way to approach it is to decide which systems or features would make your life easiest. Do you frequently forget to turn off lights? Maybe you are more concerned with home security, or possibly your partner is always on your case for changing the thermostat. Pick what you think would prove most useful and start there. Update your home a little at a time, and before you know it you will be living in a fully functioning smart home! Just don’t lose that smartphone! (And if you d0- there’s a “smart” product called Tile for that!)
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Jessica is a holistic health counselor and work from home mom living in the middle of nowhere USA with her sweet little boy! She suffers from a serious case of compulsive globe-trotting and is always counting the days until her next move or adventure. You can often find her trying to get in her exercise in by lunging through the park while chasing after her very energetic little boy! She is constantly fueled and energized by her love for healthy eating and occasionally copious amounts of caffeine.