Our house has long been one that has had a lot of “techie” stuff in it. Way back in the day my husband and I both worked for Panasonic Consumer Electronics. One of the great perks of working there was getting a lot of electronics for not a lot of money. While we still use some of those products to this day, they are not exactly what you would call cutting edge.
But, you know what IS cutting edge? Smarthome products. These are devices that let you control functions within (or around) your home from anywhere simply by using your Smartphone or tablet. You can also program them to tell them WHAT to do WHEN based on your personal schedule, preferences and the patterns that it learns over time. Not too long ago that all sounded futuristic, but now it's a reality!
We have started to incorporate some of these products into our home and they're pretty darn awesome. The first things we added were bluetooth/WiFi speakers – actually LOTS of speakers. They are so handy because you can stream music from your smart devices, use them as a high quality speakerphone for your smartphone, or (depending on your speaker) network them together. The sound quality on many of these speakers is amazing and they can eliminate bulky stereo systems from your home.
The next thing we added was smart lighting with a Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting Starter Pack. It lets you change the tone, contrast, white light and spectrum of color to create the perfect lighting for every situation. And you control it all right from your smartphone or tablet! You can also set special programs to change the lights to alert you to things like traffic alerts that come over your phone before work or weather changes you might want to be aware of. Hue lighting is both FUN and FUNCTIONAL!
Next up was some security. There are lots of smarthome products to help keep your home more safe and secure. We recently added two items in this area. The first is Leeo, which listens for your smoke and CO detectors. If any of them go off, it instantly calls your phone. When it does, you have the option of hearing a recorded clip of the alarm just to make sure the noise is actually the detector. You can also set back up emergency contacts so If you’re not reachable, Leeo can notify them as well and your backup can either check your home or call 911 if necessary.
Also for security, we added a Panasonic Home Surveillance System. These handy cameras can be controlled from your smartphone/tablet AND they have the added advantage of being able to see what is happening at your house even when you're not there. A few weeks ago we were in Florida a few days after we installed the system. Not only was it fun to see our house from a thousand miles away, but we could monitor how much snow was falling to know if we needed to send someone to clear it away and we could see that we had a package delivered and ask my mom to go pick it up. There are so many other features that let you check on your pets, be alerted when cameras sense motion, etc. It really gives peace of mind.
The next thing we will be adding to our home is a Nest Learning Thermostat. This one has been on our wish list for a long time and now it is in its box on our kitchen table waiting to be installed. Nest buildds an auto-schedule that learns from your heating habits. Over time it learns what temperature you like your house at various times of the day and starts to automatically make all those changes for you. It can also auto adjust when it knows you left the house and, of course, it lets you control the temperature from your smartphone whether you're home or away. It has lots of other super-cool features and I can't wait to try them out.