Today’s guest post is written by Jennifer Tuohy, a mom of two and serious tech gadget geek, likes writing about the smart home and how these technologies can make our lives easier.
By Jennifer Tuohy
Home automation is here, and while we all know how much easier our lives will be once the oven starts telling the washing machine which stains to expect in the next load, manufacturers and tech companies are still trying to figure out what the really big, game-changing innovations will be.
In the meantime however, the Internet of Things — the power behind home automation — is quietly disrupting everything. From your closet to your grocery shopping, simple Wi-Fi connected devices designed to fix small but annoying problems are streaming onto the market. As much fun as it is to fiddle with a fancy thermostat that’s probably smarter than I am, give me an oven that can turn itself on 30 minutes before I get home and I’m one happy housewife.
Here are five fun, futuristic gadgets that will help everyone in the family solve one of those irritating first world problems.
GE’s Smart Oven ($3,699)
The chef in the family will flip for GE’s double electric wall oven. Equipped with GE’s Brillion app, all it needs is a Wi-Fi connection and you can control it from Timbuktu, if you like. The app allows you to preheat your oven, get alerts when your food is done, and change the oven temperature, all from your smartphone or tablet.
Serious Surround Sound
If your family is anything like mine, Dad is always tinkering with the tunes. From setting up surround sound to picking a playlist for the cook out, it’s just not family friendly if it doesn’t have a soundtrack. Bluetooth connected speakers from the likes of Sonos ($199 and up) allow you to gradually build up a completely connected sound system throughout the house, without having to run those ugly wires in and out of your walls. Plus they’re portable, so you can take the party into the garden with ease. For the truly tune-full, Homewerks’ bathroom fan with integrated Bluetooth speaker ($139.99) takes the prize, letting you stream audio from your phone or home entertainment system directly into the bathroom for pure luxury.
Kinsa Smart Thermometer ($24.99)
Every family struggles with sickness, but whether it’s sniffles and coughs or scary rashes and fevers, a thermometer is often Mom’s first line of defense. The Kinsa Smart Thermometer aims to take the terror out of temperature time. The thermometer plugs directly into your smartphone and then goes under the tongue, arm or elsewhere, while showing your little tyke a calming screen of purple bubbles to entertain him or her as you wait for the read-out. The ability to create individual profiles for each family member means you have a handy record of the illness if you end up at the doctor’s office.
Quirky Piggy Bank ($49.99)
This cute, connected piggy bank is a great introduction to home automation for the littlest savers of your household. Designed by a U.S. Navy vet for his daughter, Taylor, Porkfolio is a Wi Fi-enabled piggy bank that tracks your balance and lets you set savings goals via its smartphone app. A built-in accelerometer alerts you if someone is tampering with your piggy, and his nose lights up every time you pop in coins. Porky is a fun learning tool for teaching children about money and how apps work.
Whistle for Fido ($129 and $5 monthly fee)
Fear not, pets haven’t been left out of the automation revolution. WhistleGPS is a tiny, clip-on activity and location monitor for the four-legged members of the clan. The device pops onto a collar and lets you track Fido wherever he may roam, as well as check in on activity when he’s at home and you’re not; so you can make sure the mailman made it out of the driveway safely.
It seems imagination is the only roadblock to the possibilities the Internet of Things is bringing to home automation. Miniaturization, affordability and ubiquity of technology are making the previously implausible, possible. And if the problem you need a solution for isn’t there yet, seize your moment. Crowd-sourced manufacturers such as Quirky can help make your idea a reality.
Jennifer Tuohy, a mom of two and serious tech gadget geek, likes writing about the smart home and how these technologies can make our lives easier. To get more info on the products Jennifer talks about in this article, click here to go to The Home Depot home automation page.
No compensation was received for placement of this guest post. Images are courtesy of the aforementioned companies.