This morning I stopped by News 3 This Morning to chat with Kevin Hunsperger about the latest in Smart Home technology. In the past couple of years, creating a connected home that uses technology to save you time, energy, and money has become all the rage. I decided to try out several of the newest innovations and report back!
A leader in smart home technology has been the company Nest, who "reinvent unloved but important home products." Founded in 2010 by two Apple engineers, they first introduced the Nest Learning Thermostat - a wifi-enabled thermostat that learns your schedule and adjusts the temperature in your home accordingly.
We easily installed our Nest within minutes and were immediately impressed by the large and easy to read display screen. I particularly like Nest Leaf™ that appears on the screen when you turn Nest to a temperature that’s energy efficient. There's no guessing - just turn the dial until you see the leaf!
The Nest Learning Thermostat has been proven by third-party researchers to save people, on average, about 10 to 12 percent on their heating bills and about 15 percent on their cooling bills and pays for itself within two years. We've already noticed savings in our energy usage in only a few weeks.
You can control your Nest from anywhere using your phone and set the thermostat to "away" for additional energy savings while you're gone.
There are tons of rebates and rewards offered through local energy services depending on your area as well so click here to check your zip code.
My absolute favorite feature on our Prius was the smart lock. No digging for keys. Just touch the lock and you were in! Now, Kwikset has brought the same technology to your front door. For anyone like me, who struggles with carrying babies and groceries, the Kevo Smart Lock uses Bluetooth technology to turn your cell phone into an eKey and unlocks the door with a touch!
Even better? You can set up temporary eKeys for babysitters, house cleaners, or dog walkers. There's a Bluetooth key fob for anyone without a compatible device and two traditional keys just in case.
So, we've connected your thermostat and your front door - now what about your lights? Philips Hue is a connected light bulb that allows you to control your home lighting from a smartphone or tablet. With over 16 million color options, Hue can create the perfect tone to match your mood, decor or party theme.
We have three lamps in our main family room so, on the most basic level, it's awesome to turn them all on or off by simply asking Siri to do so. We've also really enjoyed the different light recipes you can use based on whether you are reading, relaxing, or concentrating.
You can even use a schedule to alert you to important events or flash when you receive an email or want a weather alert.
Amazon Echo was our first introduction to smart home technology. My father sent us one for an early Christmas and - at first - I was a little skeptical. We had Bluetooth speakers so I wasn't sure what the big deal was.
However, Alexa (that's her name!) is so much better than a wireless speaker. She can set timers and order more toilet paper from Amazon and add items to your to-do list. (She can also control your Hue lights after a bit of setup).
I mainly enjoy the Echo because it has brought music back into our home. We don't own a stereo anymore or a radio and I moved my computer back into our room. We could pair our phones with a speaker, but that's a little more trouble than I'm willing to go to. Now, I can simply ask Alexa to play NPR or our favorite kids music station and we're good to go!
I highly recommend any of these items for a unique Christmas present to anyone not intimidated by technology and looking to make their lives easier!
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