arWe don’t have hoverboards or fuel made from compost (yet), and the Cubs probably aren’t going to win the World Series any time soon, but our modern society still looks surprisingly similar to how 2015 was depicted in Back to the Future. I remember watching the movies as a child and thinking “Computers on tablets? No way! Talking to people through video? That’s sure not going to happen” but look at us now. Tablets and video chatting are fully integrated into our daily lives, but perhaps the most impressive technology feat we’ve overcome is the smart home. Yes, people have clearly survived well without thermostats and advanced home security before now, but that doesn’t mean a simple home is better. With our advancement of technology, we suddenly have the ability to integrate tons of smart devices into our homes that actually help us live better and healthier. So, since it’s 2105, we rounded up our favorite smart home devices that even Marty McFly would love.
1. Nest is quickly turning into a household name. Walk into any home in the Bay Area and there’s a good chance you’ll see a Nest Thermostat on the wall. This handy device programs itself, learns your routines and can be controlled from your phone, resulting in energy saved by each average user. Each thermostat relays how much energy is being cut by issuing “leafs”, one for each 5% of energy saved. Leafs can get quite addictive to collect. What really makes Nest a powerhouse is its other two products, Nest Protect and Nest Cam which all work together. Nest Protect is a smart smoke and CO alarm that will politely alert you with a voice (ex: “heads up there’s smoke in the kitchen”) before issuing that high-pitched alarm we all hate so much. When it does go off, you can simply turn it off via your phone and the device will do self-checks, so you no longer have to climb a chair to reach it. Nest Cam is their home security device which allows you to check in on your home remotely to ensure everything is in order (or just watch all the goofy things your pet does while you’re away). What’s special is that Nest Cam can tell the difference between a car honking and someone breaking in, and alert you even when you don’t have the app open. So, when all this innovation is from one company, it’s no surprise that Nest is on to something great, and they’re a name you’ll hear around for many years to come.
2. Tado Cooling is a smart air conditioner controller that uses your phone’s location to cut energy costs. If you’re far from home, it knows to turn the AC off, and when you get closer to home, it’ll turn it back on for you so your house is pre-cooled without leaving it on all day. You can, of course, manually turn it on and off via your phone. The cool thing about Tado is that it works with any remote-controlled AC unit, so you don’t need a whole AC system or a smart home system in place for this to be useful. The cost of AC can be huge and we predict this will be a very popular product among those who live in climates with hot summers.
3. Awair: This smart air monitoring device is the future of health and wellness. Everybody knows that diet and fitness are important for health, but nobody understands that good air quality is just as vital. Awair sits on your shelf in your home or office to track temperature, humidity, VOCs, dust and CO2 in the room. It then alerts you when air turns unhealthy and gives suggestions on how to fix the problem. It can even sync with other smart home devices so you can automatically have a healthy home or office. Awair is all about keeping you healthy and breathing better! It’s available for pre-order here.
4. Sutro: This nifty device floats in your pool and monitors the water chemistry 24/7. It tests the temperature, Ph, chlorine and salt level of your water daily, saving you time. When balances are off, it tells you the exact dose of chemicals that need to be added and when, so you don’t have to worry about guessing. Having a home pool can be a pain to upkeep, and Sutro takes a lot of that workload off your shoulders for you. While they’re positioning it for personal pools and spas, we can see Sutro easily taking over America’s public pools due to how easy it is to understand and use. It’s available for pre-order here.
5. SmartThings is a platform that has covered almost every base you could think of. It allows you to connect ALL your smart home devices and lets you remotely control them with your phone. We’re talking everything from locks, lighting, home cams, smart outlets, water detection, the list goes on. (See the full list HERE). SmartThings offers brand products and starter kits, but any smart home device can work with this platform to truly create a complete smart household. If you’re itching to have a connected house, SmartThings may be the place to start due to its free app and no monthly fees.
6. Ily: With Ily, kids can be connected to every single family member you have. Instead of being limited to calling Grandpa when you’re willing to hand over your smart phone, kids can use Ily by themselves to stay connected. In a way, Ily can replace landline phones for a more innovative communication system. Ily does video and voice calls as well as being able to send messages, drawings and pictures and the best part is that you only need one Ily to get started. The main household can use Ily and other relatives can talk via an app, though it’s more fun, engaging and rewarding when everyone has their own Ily pad. If you’re a traveling parent, or have a huge extended family that you like to stay close to, Ily helps ensure everyone can communicate whenever they want. It’s available for pre-order here.
7. Philips Hue: Lighting has also been getting a “smart” makeover in the past years. Philips Hue is a notable personal wireless lighting company which allows users to fully customize their home’s light via smart bulbs, wifi and an app. Each Hue bulb can work with existing lighting fixtures (BR30, E26, GU10 and PAR16), you simply just screw it in like a normal bulb. Lights can be turned on manually with their wall switch like normal, but the fun part is the Hue app. Got a killer photo of a sunset? Tell Hue to copy that light pattern, your lights with change colors and suddenly your home will feel like you’re at the beach, watching that sunset. It has standard modes, as well, for relaxing, concentration, energy and sleep. Hue light bulbs can even notify you via light for events like waking up, taking dinner out of the oven or to remind you when CSI is on TV. Hue started with their original bulb but has now expanded to an army of smart bulbs and kits, all available here.
I personally am very excited for when someone makes a hoverboard, but these awesome smart home devices will tide me over for now. Do you have a favorite smart home device not on this list? Leave a comment below!