The digital age is here and with it comes technology that can help us upgrade our lifestyle to a whole new level. This technology is such that you can do almost anything like play music, change the temperature of your cooling system, even clean your house, without even needing to get off your sofa or even be at home.  Having these devices can turn our normal home into a true hi-tech smart home.

Now before we get into the crux of this article, we need to discuss

What is a Smart home?

A smart home is a house that uses internet connected devices to enable remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems. It provides its home owners with comfort, security, energy efficiency (low operating costs) and convenience at all times.

So what are these wonderful devices that have the ability to change your life forever? This is what we will be talking about in this article: here are 10 smart home devices that you need to know about.

  1. Virtual Assistant

    Whether they are shaped like a tube, an ice hockey puck or a vase, you can’t beat having a virtual assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home. Initially they were just like the mobile assistants Siri and Google Now, you would speak a phrase like “Ok google” or “Alexa,” ask them a question and they would search for the information on the internet and give you an answer. You could even listen to music, set alarms and set calendar events with them. Now thanks to updates in the technology, you can sync your virtual assistant to other smart devices and control all of them through one convenient hub. Tell them to turn on the TV, make some coffee, turn on the AC, clean the house or anything else connected to an electronic device and they will do it.

  2. Smart Home Security

    Security cameras like the Nest Cam are integrating smart, wireless technology to make your home security more convenient and manageable. The high quality lens and the digital sensors in these cameras means that they can detect an intruder as soon as they enter their field of vision and they will not only begin recording, they will stream the footage directly to your mobile device in 1080p, which you can use as evidence for later. They even have face recognition so they can tell the difference between an intruder and the owner of a home. Some versions are also used as baby cameras, so parents can keep an eye on their young ones even when they are not at home.

    By Tibor Antalóczy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  3. Smart Vacuums

    Almost everyone has heard of a Roomba. They are compact semi-autonomous robot vacuum cleaners that can clean up almost anything on the floor no matter where the dirt may be. Under the sofa, under the bed, behind the cupboards, this vacuum can reach anywhere you need to clean. You can schedule it to start cleaning at specific times so it will clean even when you are not around.

  4. Smart Light Bulbs

    Smart Light bulbs like the Philips Hue and Lutron Dimmer helps give you more control over the lighting in your home. With this technology, you can control how bright you want the lights to be. You can even adjust the colour of the lights, helping you control the entire mood and atmosphere of a room. You could make them bright white for when you are working, a medium blue to simulate the sky when you are playing around with your kids or a dim orange for the perfect romantic evening with your significant other.

    By Cookiemonster1979 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  5. Smart Plugs

    Smart plugs like the Elgato Eve Energy help give you the ability to turn any simple electronic appliance into a semi-smart device. Once connected to this plug, you have you the ability to turn any appliance on or off remotely; and this helps you monitor electricity consumption, so you can save on the cost on your electric bill. Or have the kettle on before you reach home.

    By LindaInpijn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  6. Smart Thermostat

    A thermostat is a device you use to control the temperature of the cooling/heating system of your home. Smart thermostats or WiFi Thermostats like the Nest Learning Thermostat or the ecobee3 Smarter WiFi Thermostat take temperature control to the next level. They are capable of learning your preferences and schedule and thus adjust the temperature accordingly by themselves. Thanks to that, not only will you save electricity, you no longer have to go and set the temperature yourself, the entire process is automated; to your personal preference too.

  7.  Smart protection

    Earlier we talked about home security which focuses mostly on intruders, but what about other dangers like a fire?  That’s where Smart protection devices like Nest Protect come in. These devices not only warn you of fire or carbon monoxide, they have the ability to connect to the internet so they can let you know if something is wrong when you are not there. Also, unlike conventional sensors they are able to tell the difference between smoke and steam so you don’t have to worry about the alarm going off when you are cooking. Some of them also come with a handy “Pathlight” feature that gives you a light if it senses you walking around in the dark.

    By Maurizio Pesce from Milan, Italia (GOJI Smart Lock) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  8. Smart Lock

    Smart locks like the August Smart Lock fall under the category of Niche devices. Basically these devices allow you to remotely control a door lock. They are easy to install and they come with a feature which allows you to program who to allow into the house even when you’re not at home.  It also allows you to lock and unlock the door remotely, wherever you are.

    By SUPERIVASHKA (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  9. Smart Fitness bands

    We’ve all heard of the smart fitness bands which measure our heartbeat and record how many steps we take, giving a better idea of how much we exercise and how much we need to exercise. They are good for keeping track of your health but how do they help with a smart home? Well, certain Smart fitness bands like Jawbone UP3 Fitness Band can be integrated with your other smart devices and automate certain tasks. For example, when you wake up, the band will detect it and send a signal to the other devices to turn on the lights and start brewing your morning coffee. Another example would be that if you are coming home from work, the band will signal the other devices and they will have a nice cup of hot and refreshing tea ready for you once you get home.

    By Breville USA (Own work) [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

  10. Smart Ovens

    Take cooking to the digital level with smart ovens. Ovens like the June Intelligent Oven, which comes with Wifi connection capability, a camera and artificial intelligence, do most of the work for you. Now you don’t need to check and make sure if your meal is ready or not; all you need to do is put in what you want to cook, wait for the oven to ask you if the food is what it think it is and then select how you want it cooked. After that the oven will work its magic and you get a delicious meal that is ready and waiting to be eaten.

These are the devices that help you take that step in turning your home into a smart home.  All of this has been made possible thanks to technological concepts like ubiquitous computing and the internet of things. Some of you might scoff at the thought of this type of technology, but it won’t be long before you can see them everywhere. As we said before, the digital age is here, so it is best to get ready for it.