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What smart items for the home are out there?

The smart homes industry is beginning to grow, but what exactly is out there?

Image: iRobot

IT’S BEEN A slow process but we’re reaching the point where our day-to-day items are getting smarter. What were usually dumb items have been given extra functionality and connectivity that we likely wouldn’t have thought of a few years ago.

While we’re still a long way from a completely smart home, there are products out there that will get things started. Here’s a taster of what’s out there.

Thermostats

You have two main choices, Nest or Climote, which both allow you to manage your house temperature remotely. In the case of Nest, it will learn your preferences and automatically adjust the temperature to suit your schedule. For Climote, you can set times and control your heating remotely. Both include smartphone controls.

Source: Nest/YouTube

Source: climote/YouTube

Smart TVs

Probably the most common smart item that you can get out there. This doesn’t include set top boxes (which work with any TV) but those which have an OS built in and allow you to run apps like Netflix, YouTube and Twitter to name a few.

If you’re considering getting one, check features like ports and connections, (if you want to connect media streaming devices like Chromecast, what video/streaming services are available (it’s unlikely you will use the TV for Twitter or Facebook), and whether it connects via WiFi or Ethernet (wired)

While there are quite a number of products on the market, the range from LG and Panasonic range has a good reputation, but it’s always important to do your research first before you part with your cash.

Source: LG HE HQ/YouTube

Smart switches

If you want to give your normal, everyday items some additional functionality, then it’s might be worth looking at a device like Belkin WeMo Switch.

Taking the form of a smart plug, this is an indirect way of turning on and off devices from your smartphone so if you regularly find yourself forgetting to turn off the iron or any other plugged in devices. If you’re arriving home, you can also buy a motion sensor for it so that devices or electronics will turn on as soon as you enter the room.

Source: BelkinWeMo/YouTube

Light bulbs

Admittedly, light bulbs might seem like the last thing you want to give smart functionality to, but it depends on how much you want to remotely control something. The best one on the market is Philips’ Hue bulbs, which allows you to connect up to 50 bulbs to a system and control it from your smartphone.

Philips claim that their bulbs use 80% less power than a traditional bulb and if you wanted to take it a step further, you can also buy a specialised switch for them although for the most part, your phone will be enough.

Source: PhilipsLighting/YouTube

Robot vacuums

Because chances are you find vacuuming a bit of a chore (who knew), then maybe give something like iRobot Rooma 650. It has a charge of four hours, quite long as far as robot vacuums go, and a host of sensors that helps it navigate rooms.

It can also be scheduled to work at certain times, so you could programme it so it vacuums while you’re at work so it doesn’t get in your way. It won’t be able to get at all spots like stairs or tight spaces, but for most rooms, it will do the job.

Source: iRobot BR/YouTube

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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