Now that 2013 has wrapped up, people are reflecting on the past 12 months in a number of ways. Consumers as well as companies are weighing the pros and cons of different trends from various industries, including the best in home tech.
While the Best and Worst Dressed Lists and the Top Baby Names are always amusing, you’ll be amazed by what people have been doing to turn their homes into smart homes and what the future holds for home technology in 2014. The number of home automation trends continues to grow as more people integrate security alarms, heating and cooling, and other systems with their smartphones for 24/7 access and limitless capabilities.
Smart home engineering has managed to achieve an unusual feat – by helping people stay connected on the go, it’s actually bringing them closer to their homes.
You may have heard of the Nest Thermostat, the smart thermostat that “learns” your habits and routines so that it can automatically adjust temperatures to your liking. Nest’s newest product, Nest Protect, puts a new spin on an old piece of familiar equipment – the smoke detector. Nest Protect revamps the old tried-and-true device so that it’s not justsmaller and sleeker, but also more intuitive.
Why Nest Protect makes the grade: Instead of the usual annoying beep, a calm female voice will warn you that signs of a fire are present. The device can also warn users of the presence of carbon monoxide in addition to smoke. Maybe Nest’s next big venture will be taking on the motion detector in 2014.
Another home security gadget that debuted in 2013 is the Doorbot. This 2-in-1 security surveillance device acts as your doorbell and a security camera for your front door. It easily synchs with the corresponding smartphone application. You can see who is at your door just by glancing at your phone and even let the visitor in remotely if you’ve paired Doorbot with a separate gadget called Lockitron.
Cool and convenient Doorbot features: Doorbot has night-vision mode, so even if you’re front step isn’t well-lit (or you forgot to leave the light on), you’ll still be able to see who is ringing your doorbell once the sun goes down. Doorbot functions on Wi-Fi and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It’s easy to install and tamper-resistant.
What do you get when you raise money through crowdsourcing for a home security device just about anyone can use? The Canary is an all-in-one home security solution that’s perfect for renters or anyone who doesn’t want to sign a long-term contract with a provider but also doesn’t want a complicated DIY installation process.
A small cylinder containing a number of sensors – for motion detection, temperature and a built-in security camera – helps monitor your home for threats. Plus, you can control the Canary with a smartphone app and receive updates about your home’s security status, including everything from changes in air temperature to a knock on you door.
Singing its praises: If you receive a notification, Canary gives you the option to call the police or a neighbor and its nifty three-axis accelerometer detects vandalism or tampering with the unit.
All of these home technologies retail for only a couple of hundred dollars (if that) and are available to homeowners and renters across the country. They are affordable, intuitive, and make great gifts for any tech-savvy person.