It isn’t just phones that are smart — you name it, there is probably a “smart” form of it. Not only are these items off-the-charts cool, they also make life more convenient and can even save you money. Consider outfitting your new crib with the following gadgets.
Canary Wireless Security
Plenty of home security systems use Wi-Fi to help you monitor your home and set alarms from just about anywhere. One standout system is the Canary. It includes an HD camera with night vision and motion detection. It does more than just help you battle bad guys, though. It also monitors air quality, temperature, and humidity in your home.
This smarty-pants system watches (yeah, it’s a little creepy) your family’s activities and learns your patterns. It stores what it learns and uses that information to alert you to suspicious activity.
For example, as mentioned at apartmenttherapy.com, “Canary will note a home owner’s normal wakeup hour is 8am and uses this information to determine suspicious vs. normal activity. Any abnormal activity is sent as a notification to connected smart devices for review by the home owner, complete with a DVR video recording for review.”
Keep your eyes open for Canary to burst onto the scene within the next year or so.
It’s common knowledge that replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs saves you a hunk on your energy bill, but when the light bulbs are smart, you save even more. The bulbs in the Greenwave Reality Lighting Kit have microchips that allow you to control illumination levels and on/off times via an app on your phone. The system can manage hundreds of light bulbs at once (not that you’re likely to have hundreds of light bulbs in your home, but it’s good to know, right?).
The LIFX light bulbs too are worthy of your consideration. You can change the color of these LEDs to fit your mood, and they can even adapt to the rhythm of music that you play on your connected smartphone. Program the lights to blink a certain color when you get a notification on your phone. In summer, when days are brighter, the bulbs smartly lower the lighting level to save you money.
If you’re planning a move to the Windy City and searching for Chicago apartments from ForRent.com, something like the LIFX bulbs might serve you particularly well. The right lighting can lift your mood during the frigid, dark winters.
If you often rush out the door without remembering to adjust your thermostat, chances are your energy bill suffers because of it. You can adjust a smart thermostat from anywhere using your phone or a web browser.
Some smart thermostats do even more. The Nest can learn your routines and automatically make adjustments. It also adapts to changes in your routine. It isn’t perfect, of course, but it will do a good job of keeping your home comfortable.
The Honeywell Prestige 2.0 Comfort System also seeks to learn your habits and adjusts to fit your lifestyle. It “interviews” you to learn your habits and molds its programs around your answers.
Home Automation Systems
The WeMo switches from Belkin give you a simple and affordable method of home automation. You just plug a WeMo switch into an electrical outlet, plug an appliance into the WeMo, and then you can control that appliance via an app on your smartphone. You can also connect a motion sensor, so lights automatically turn on when someone passes by. The app lets you set up rules for items connected to WeMo—like set on and off times and things like that.
There are other, more expensive — and more extensive — home automation systems that let you control basically everything goes on in your home. Temperature, lighting, security, and more. The Iris system from Lowe’s, for example, is fairly easy to install and helps keep your home secure and energy efficient. Home automation systems are bound to become more and more comprehensive as people continue to catch on to the trend.
A Smart Showerhead
Like to sing in the shower? Techradar.com listed the Kohler Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker as a gadget to have for the ultimate connected home. You can connect this Bluetooth showerhead to your phone or tablet to stream music—yes, rocking out in the shower just stepped up to a whole new level. You can remove the speaker easily to charge it, since it just connects to your shower with a magnet. Take it anywhere in your home to enjoy your tunes.
How smart is your apartment? Gadgets abound that can connect you and streamline your life to offer you convenience, coolness, and monetary savings.