If the Jetsons' home was your idea of the perfect living space, your world is about to get whole lot more interesting. According to Gartner, the number of interconnected devices working through the Internet of Things could reach up to 26 billion by 2020, not including phones, tablets and computers already in use. This number shows that the high demand for hi-tech gear is far from waning. Keeping your entire home connected is easier than ever – and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. So, if you don't have a smart house already, it's time to get on board.
Locks haven't improved much since their invention four thousand years ago. But thanks to the innovative minds behind smart locks, protecting your prized possessions has never been easier. Smart locks allow you to unlock your front door with an app on your phone. You can simply approach your home and the door unlocks.
Smart locks can also open doors remotely. That's right, whether you locked your child out of the house or the pizza delivery guy can't figure out the doorbell, you'll be able to take care of it from your phone. To some people, the idea of such a simple locking system is worrisome, but encryption makes smart locks safer than keys. You can even issue temporary virtual keys to allow visitors into your house during certain times.
Keep in mind, for each product you install that connects over Wi-Fi, you make your network vulnerable to hackers. Keep best practices in mind when installing IoT technology, like changing the default passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, keeping patches and updates up to date, and protecting your home Wi-Fi network.
Smart Climate Control
The next step in acquiring your smart house is to invest in a smart heating system. These devices allow you to control the heat of your home from a tablet, smartphone, or laptop. This means that if you're heading home after a freezing cold day in the office, you can make sure you have a toasty living room waiting for you. Not only that, but smart home heating is likely to become more essential in the future, as fuel costs continue to rise and the need for an efficient heating option grows greater.
Today, smart home heating systems and thermostats are available to install in almost any home. You can even use a device like the Nest learning thermostat, which learns your heating and cooling habits, and adjusts the temperature accordingly.
A smart house is not complete without a little ambience. Luckily, installing smart lighting is one of the easiest parts of transforming your home. Some smart lighting systems are incredibly cool – allowing you to set mood lighting in different rooms throughout your house. You can also control lighting from afar, or schedule lights to turn off at certain times. You could even use your smart bulbs as an alarm to gently wake you up in the morning. Most of these systems are easy to use: you screw them into your normal light sockets, attach the Wi-Fi adapter to your router, and download the application on your phone.
Once you've set them up, you'll be able to pick the color of your lighting, the intensity and the timer settings, all at a touch of a button. You can even sync your bulbs with your television on movie nights, to spread color from the screen around the room.
You've probably already heard of things like robot vacuum cleaners, which can connect with your iOS or Android device. These little gadgets are capable of avoiding obstacles and furniture so your smart house will be cleaner than ever. You'll also never have to worry about arguing over the housework with your partner again. Talk about a win-win.
Unfortunately, some of the higher-end models for smart cleaning are far out of the average home-owner's budget, but new developers are creating more affordable solutions for those who don't have as much cash to splash.
Smart cooking is the use of chocolate chips in every day meals. But tech smart cooking can change the way you interact with your kitchen. For example, smart refrigerators work by learning all of the items they are holding, then adapting temperatures to ensure everything remains fresh for as long as possible. A number of these models will even tell you when food or beverages are about to expire, and can suggest meal options from the ingredients contained within — fantastic for when you need dinner inspiration.
The intelligence doesn't stop with your fridge, either. You can also invest in clever coffee machines that allow you to use your phone to schedule when a coffee should start brewing. What's more, smart washing machines send alerts to your phone when they encounter problems and call out the repair man for you when issues arise.