Smart Home Devices Make Floor & Home Maintenance Easy

Posted by on November 19, 2015

Roomba Floor cleaner

In just the course of a year the home automation industry has skyrocketed to new levels. 2015 could be the year that smart devices start to become ubiquitous, for several have been released or will be released this year. Not only is there a growing selection of gadgets, but they are becoming easier to install and use. Operating these smart devices is most of the time as easy as downloading the corresponding app onto your phone tablet and typing in a setup code.

Many devices truly are ‘smart’ and are more than capable of learning their user’s preferences over time – including keeping your laminate floors sparkling clean on your own schedule. Here is a look at some of the most user-friendly and innovative smart devices of the year.

HomeKit

Apple HomeKit is a system designed to communicate with and control all compatible devices in a smarthome. The system was unveiled in June 2014, but did not become available to the public until this summer. HomeKit enables people to use their iPhones or iPads to communicate with devices in their home including lights, security systems and heating.

HomeKit is designed to work with Siri, which is software built into most iPhones that serves as a personal assistant. Siri responds to voice commands and will enable HomeKit to do so as well. HomeKit can also link to the current models of Apple TV to a limited extent, but that could change with the next generation of Apple TVs. Other devices that will be able to work with HomeKit include Lutron (which controls lights), the Insteon Hub (which controls a variety of devices ranging from cameras to switches) and Elgato (which controls sensors that gather data on items like humidity, air quality and energy consumption).

Ecobee3

A new version of Ecobee3, a smart thermostat, came out this past July. The new version can be integrated with HomeKit and also be connected to WiFi, and will control the heating, air conditioning and venting in a home. Ecobee3, now available at the Apple store, is capable of learning its owner’s needs and preferences so you don’t have to worry about settings and will automatically adjust itself to meet your needs. For example, the program will learn and recognize your habits if you come home around 6pm daily and spend most of the night in a certain room. But if you prefer to manually set the thermostat, that can easily be done in a matter of seconds as well.

Pella Insynctive

Well known company Pella Windows and Doors has finally entered the home automation sector with Z-Wave based Pella Insynctive. With this efficient, low-energy tech, your home’s doors and windows are equipped with built-in sensors that increase security, comfort, and convenience. Homeowners will be able to know with just a simple glance if their doors and windows are open, closed or locked. The motorized shades and blinds can monitor the temperature of the household, and can be programmed to open or close to keep the house at a comfortable temperature. This technology can easily be controlled at home with a remote or through the corresponding app on your smartphone – you can even connect the Insynctive technology to a larger home automation hub and expand your operating options even more. Pella Insynctive also has the added bonus of helping people lower their electric bills.

Nest Protect

Nest Protect, from the makers of Nest Thermostat, is a smart smoke and carbon dioxide detector. It will send alerts directly to you through a smartphone app so you will be the first to know if anything happens, even while you are away, and the app can even advise the owner when the Nest’s batteries are running low, so no more wondering which detector the pesky beeping is coming from! Nest Protect also has speech capabilities programmed into it, so it can tell the user exactly where the smoke or carbon is and how to safely get out of the house. Nest Protect can also be connected to Nest Cam, a security camera, which will automatically record and store video of anything requiring action on Nest Protect’s part.

SkyBell

SkyBell is a smart doorbell that includes a motion sensor, speaker, microphone and day and night video camera. Skybell offers the ultimate convenience – imagine essentially Facetiming with your front porch so you can see and communicate with whoever has rung your doorbell, without having to leave your current location (even if you aren’t home). It alerts the user when someone is standing at the doorway or rings the doorbell, and if the user chooses to answer the doorbell, they can see, hear and speak to the visitor, receiving the live video feed on any compatible smartphones. Skybell is also great for peace of mind and safety when you or the kids are home alone, when it’s dark, or are away from the house when someone arrives.

The possibilities with stand-alone “smart” home automation devices are shaping up to be endless – you have the option to automate everything from coffee machines to a full security system, and entertainment devices to leak sensors. And with the variety of different smart hubs available, it’s possible to essentially build your own smart house, customizing these smart devices to suit your needs and preferences.

If you haven’t explored home automation yet, these devices are a great place to start.

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