Why Smart Home Gadgets Aren’t Just For The Rich
In the past, smart home gadgets have been the reserve of celebrities and the rich- we have often seen them on reality programs checking their video home security systems or remotely triggering light and doors all from the comfort of their sofa. Similarly sci-fi movies have conditioned us to think that clever personlised gadgets and voice activated systems are futuristic and unobtainable to the normal earth dwelling human. However not only are these systems already available to purchase easily, they’re more affordable than we may have imagined.
A wave of gadgets for integral home security have recently hit the market ranging from advanced home camera systems and sensors like Cocoon $399 to digital lock systems such as August $249.99 to Chamberlain’s MyQ garage door and lighting monitors. While these are very useful tools for the security conscious, for most of us the systems that they replace (ie metal locks and keys) are not so outdated or insecure that we feel the need to update them unnecessarily.
The idea of the ‘connected home’ is one that’s emerged over the last few years and being able to trigger and control many gadgets through one device is, on the face of it, the basis of many of the futuristic systems from the movies. Automation controller hubs such as SmartThings Hub $99 and Revolv $299 aren’t all that expensive on their own, but they are useless if you don’t have the compatible smart connected gadgets that they actually control. The hubs can control everything from your stereo to your light bulbs, often while you’re not even in the house, but buying a whole home full of gadgets that are compatible would be expensive and unnecessary for most of us who purchase things when they need replacing and don’t have the volume of expendable income to spend on luxury gadgets.
A more inexpensive version of this system is the Belkin WeMo Switch $49.99 which allows you to control just one gadget at a time wirelessly through 3G, 4G or wi-fi even when you’re not at home. This is perfect for those that would like to dip their toe into home automation without having to pay for a whole system.
A smart home gadget that may be seen as less frivolous are those that control your heating, hot water and air conditioning remotely such as Hive $296, Tado $296 which can be bought or rented for $8 per month uses your phone’s location to determine your temperature needs or Nest $249 which learns your usual heating routine. These can actually save you money in the long run by allowing you to lower temperature control when you’re not at home.
For those who would like to take a step onto the smart home ladder slowly without spending excessive amounts, it makes sense to focus on smaller individual gadgets that will be of great use to the user. While it would be cool to be able to remotely control the lights in our home or set up our stereo to turn on before we get in from work, these are maybe not the first things we think of when deciding what would be useful in our everyday lives.
Smaller gadgets enable us to build up a collection of smart homeware and may prove more cost effective in the long run, allowing us to choose just the standalone products that would be most beneficial to us as individuals.
A smart toothbrush such as the Bluetooth connected Oral B Pro 7000 $147.99 would help to improve our dental hygiene and not only enhance our health but help us to save on dental bills. Those that are into gardening may choose the Parrot Flower Power $59 gadget that enables smart monitoring of plants to ensure a prize pot plant is kept at optimum health. Those who are fond of their smaller devices such as smartphones may choose to fit wireless induction chargers into their furniture or purchase pre-made charging furniture such as IKEA’s new range to increase convenience. In addition, electronic baby monitors are so commonplace that upgrading to a smart monitor such as the Medisana ($199) means you won’t be paying over the odds for something you won’t use.
While the majority of us won’t be living in completely automated and controlled smart homes yet, by focussing on the individual gadgets that will provide the most use to us, we can move forward into the future with great convenience but without great cost.