5 Home Tech Improvements to Make in 2018
By Victoria Figueiredo
The cool part about living in the future is that all the things sci-fi authors wrote about back in the day are actually pretty doable. AI? Very much on its way up. Fully electric cars? We got em. Smart tech? An increasingly big part of our day to day lives! We’re all about using what’s available to make our lives more efficient and safe, and (in our humble opinion) you should be too! Here are five gadgets we think you should integrate into your home this year as we all make the transition to a his-boy-Elroy reality.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock at the bottom of the ocean of a totally different planet for the last couple years, you know what Alexa is and why you need her in your life. Half personal assistant, half Siri-minded information bank, Alexa exists inside the Echo or Echo Dot to make your life easier through simple commands. The limit to what you can do with the Echo is set by your own budget – not least because compatible accessories can get pretty pricey. A cheaper alternative, the Echo Dot, will only set you back $50, though! Something to consider. Want to stop flipping your own light switches? Get yourself some compatible smart light bulbs (we didn’t need to put those on this list – you already know you want them) and ask Alexa to dim them for you! Ask her to play music, order an Uber, turn on the news, whatever you need. For a little more than $100, you can get yourself the new second gen Echo and make your house a little more like 2001: A Space Odyssey – sans out-to-get-you computer. Isn’t that everyone’s dream?
If you are truly committed to the hands-free life, this one is for you. The TP-Link Smart Plug connects with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant so you can turn devices on or off with voice commands, control them from your tablet or smartphone no matter where you are, or schedule them to power on or off as needed – that means no more coming home to a dark house and reliving every horror movie you’ve ever seen as you grope for the light switch. How comforting.
Technically, the second generation of this battery is so new that it isn’t even out yet, but the first gen was so cool that we couldn’t not bring it up here. Roost batteries pop right into any smoke detector or carbon monoxide alarm that uses a regular 9 volt battery, connect to your wifi, and send you alerts when your alarms start to go off – even if you’re not home. “Cool,” you might be saying, “But what about when I’m out of town? What’s the point?” Oh, my friend. Roost batteries also provide the option to send the same alerts you get to family members or close friends. Rest easy, nothing you love is going down in flames with this guy around.
If you’re anything like us, you worry about how much your electric bill is going to be during the summertime. Florida heat is no joke, and not for the faint of a/c. How can you deal when you’re looking to cut cost but stay cool? Enter Ecobee. This Alexa-enabled thermostat lets you – you guessed it – control the temperature of your home from anywhere you are. Turn the air down when you’re out the door and schedule it to come back on a bit before you get home. You’ll never know the pain of walking into a hot and humid home ever again!
Our personal favorite on this list, Lutron’s smart lighting kit makes it very easy to take your home from on-or-off-only to totally customizable. Put these switches in yourself or have an expert do it for you! *cough cough wink wink* Again, with an Alexa-compatible voice control function as well as an in-app remote of sorts, this system makes it easy to turn off lights you forgot on your way out, make it look like someone’s home to deter burglars, or switch lights on as you’re coming home from work. What more could you want?
Is there any smart home technology you’ve been curious about? Tell us all about it in the comments!