Remodeling? Save Room in Your Budget for These 8 Tech Features.
Before you roll up the drop cloths after your home remodel, consider including these must-have tech features. Adding a few new smart devices only makes sense when you’re already in home improvement mode—so why not leave a little wiggle-room in the budget for something that can make your life easier now, and help cut down on home operating costs long-term?
Here are eight of the smartest of smart devices to include in your next rehab project.
1. Nest Cam
With a wide range of consumer-friendly, energy-saving products, Nest has made a big name for itself in the smart-home industry—and this powerful little camera is one reason why. The Nest Cam records in crystal-clear 1080p resolution and streams 24/7, so you’ll never miss a thing. The Nest Cam Indoor also comes equipped with a speaker and microphone, and will alert you via your cell phone, if you’re not at home when it detects motion or suspicious noises. The speakers allow you to speak to your pet to sooth or scold them, let intruders know they are seen and can be recognized.
2. Smart LED Lighting
Philips Hue LED light bulbs are smart and energy-efficient, allowing you to control the lighting in your home while cutting energy costs. There are 16 million colors and a variety of smart controls to choose from, making your lighting system as subtle or dramatic as you’d like. Sync your lights with movies or music, set the ambience for concentration, or create a gentle morning lighting routine. With the Philips Hue Bridge, you can link up to 50 lights and other accessories, making a completely customizable lighting experience.
LEDs don’t emit heat, and their super-compact nature makes them ideal for small spaces like under cabinets, fireplace mantles, built-in shelving and breakfast bar overhangs. LED cordless, motion detecting lights make stairways safer and they’re handy for inside closets and garage entrances as well.
The design news website Inhabit recently featured Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering’s virtual sky, a beautiful solution to harsh overhead lighting in office environments. An extravagance for sure, but this might just be the mood enhancer that every work-from-home professional has been wishing for.
3. Doorbell Camera
Vivint’s sleek Doorbell Camera lets you see who’s at your door no matter where you are. With a 180-degree look at your porch and night-vision capabilities, you always have a clear view. The Vivint Sky app will send you a notification whenever someone rings the bell, and allows you to turn the camera on and off and adjust your doorbell chime. You can also lock and unlock the door remotely, and speak to friends and strangers through the doorbell.
Go wireless with the Ring Doorbell Camera. It works on rechargeable batteries, offers 2-way talk, night vision, instant alerts compatible with iOS, Android, Mac and Windows, and recording plans as low as $3 per month.
Other options are available from Zmodo with their budget-conscious Green Smart doorbell camera. ViewBell excels with a 185 degree horizontal view and 120 degrees vertical span. RemoBell is recognized for its simplicity, quick installation and advanced motion sensors.
4. Upgrade Your Garage Door Opener
The Chamberlain garage door connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network and allows you to open and close your garage door from anywhere. Chamberlain says it’s compatible with any garage door opener made after 1993; the only requirement is that it must include safety sensors at the bottom of the track. And prepare yourself: CNET called it a “smart-home gateway drug.”
5. August Smart Lock
August’s Smart Lock replaces the interior side of your deadbolt (so it doesn’t throw off the look from the outside), granting you the ability to lock and unlock your door with your smartphone. The Smart Lock doesn’t stop there, though. You can create virtual keys for your family and friends, granting them access, as well. The August Home app will even auto-lock the door behind you and unlock the door for you as you approach—you don’t have to do a thing.
6. Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest is recognized as a pioneer in smart home technology and their original thermostat, while impressive, is noticeably improved with this newest generation. Nest’s Learning Thermostat learns your patterns as you use it—within a week it will adapt to your preferred temperatures and set itself to match your preferences. If you like your home cooler at night and warmer in the morning, for example, the Learning Thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature for you. It will also adjust to an energy-saving mode when you’re not home. The company says it can pay for itself in energy savings after just two years.
7. Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
How connected to you want to be? Samsung might be 2017’s winner of the ultimate connectivity award. This ENERGY STAR®-rated refrigerator does things you never knew you wanted your fridge to do. For starters, every time you close the door, three cameras take pictures of the contents inside. You can then check what’s in your fridge from your phone, so you never have to wonder what you need from the store. If you’d rather not go to the store yourself, you can place an online order using Groceries by Mastercard, one of many included apps accessible right from the touchscreen on the door. You can also sync and display calendars and photos on the screen, leave notes, stream music—even watch TV.
8. Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
The Amazon Echo is a 360-degree Bluetooth speaker featuring Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant. Alexa can stream music, tell you the weather, answer your questions, get traffic updates and sports scores—all the stuff you expect a voice assistant to do. The main reason it’s on this list, though, is that it can connect to a number of smart devices from other manufacturers, allowing you to control your lights, locks, television, video games and thermostat with your voice. Not to mention the ease, ordering anything from Amazon that your little heart desires. Just ask!
These eight gadgets can add some serious value to your life and home. If you’re already remodeling, now’s the perfect time to try a few out and get a little taste of the future.