Top 10 Smart Home Tech so You Can Live in the Future - GearUp^

Top 10 Smart Home Tech so You Can Live in the Future - GearUp^
VOICE OVER: Marc Saltzman WRITTEN BY: Marc Saltzman
The utopic (or distopic depending on who you ask) world may not be as far away as you think, especially with these 10 amazing smart home gadgets and technology that will make you feel like you're living in the future. From clever coffee pots to robotic lawn mowers and new sources of power, our tech-spert Marc Saltzman brings you the best in smart home technology.

Home, Smart, Home! There’s no shortage of awesome tech for your place – from video doorbells and security cameras to Wi-Fi thermostats and Bluetooth door locks to robotic vacuum cleaners and water sensors. Need some suggestions? You’ve come to the right place.

Hey everyone, welcome to Gear Up, the WatchMojo series that looks at the latest in gadgets, gear and games. I’m Marc Saltzman, and in this video, we look at 10 awesome gadgets that transforms your regular home into a smarter one. No, we’re not going to look at smart speakers or smart screens in this video, such as those powered by Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, nor are we going to look at large appliances like high-tech fridges and washing machines, but there are plenty of other cool smart home tech to get to. Let’s dive right in.

OK, not listed in any order…

No. 1. Smart thermostats.

Ecobee is back with Ecobee4, a smart thermostat that can help you save money on your heating and cooling bills with automated adjustments made based on your activity around the home, and you can manually make changes on an app if you’re not near the thermostat’s touch-screen. What’s unique is Ecobee4 is that it also works with room sensors to help manage hot or cold spots in your home. That is, these room sensors detect occupancy and temperature to deliver comfort when you’re home and energy savings when you’re not. You get one sensor in the box, along with the thermostat, but it supports up to 32. There’s also built-in Amazon Alexa, so you can ask your thermostat to read you the news, help plan your commute, set a timer, or adjust the temperature, of course -- and more – all hands-free.

No. 2. Smart lights

As you know, it’s a good time to replace your incandescent and florescent bulbs with LED lights, as they sip rather than gulp electricity. Oh sure, they cost more -- so perhaps wait for a big sale or seasonal rebates -- but you’ll save money in the long run. A 60-watt equivalent, for instance, might only be only 7 to 8 watts for comparable lumens with an LED light -- not to mention they can last considerably longer, which saves you even more money. Wi-Fi-enabled Smart LED bulbs like Philips HUE can save you even more, thanks to the ability to set schedules and timers, remotely access your lights via an app, or, when coupled with room sensors, have the lights go off automatically when someone left the room. Philips HUE also let you use your voice to control them (via Amazon Alexa or Google) or you can change between millions of colors or preset scenes.

No. 3. Video cameras.

OK, so you’ve heard of the Ring video doorbell, but instead of just a one camera solution, why not have multiple cameras in and around your home to keep an eye on multiple locations, with all video recorded to a DVR and with the ability to see footage on an app. The 16-channel Lorex 4K Bullet Camera Security System is a smart bundle that includes 10 ultra-high definition indoor or outdoor cameras – that can capture 4 times more resolution than a 1080p Full HD camera – and record all that footage to a 4-terabyte digital video recorder. Along with amazingly clear 4K footage, these 10 weatherproof bullet cameras offer color night vision for low light conditions and up to 135 feet with long-range infrared night vision, not to mention remote viewing available via the free Lorex app.

No. 4. A robotic vacuum cleaner.

If you getting sick of vacuuming your home, when your time could be better spent elsewhere, why not let a robot do the dirty work for you? Simply push a button on the top-of-the-line iRobot Roomba 980 and this robotic vacuum cleaner will start moving around each room, sucking up dirt and pet hair, freeing you up to do whatever you like. Compared to previous models, this Roomba offers a longer-lasting battery, additional sensors, a camera, and Wi-Fi and app connectivity. When it detects its running low on battery, it’ll navigate itself back to the charging base! If you own an Alexa- or Google-powered smart home device, you can also use your voice to say “Roomba, clean my home!”

No. 5. A robotic lawn mower.

Yes, just like a Roomba can vacuum the indoors, the aptly named Automowers from Husqvarna will quietly cut your grass in a front yard or backyard. You first need to install a ground wire for the lawn mower to follow and avoid areas you don’t want it to go into (like a flower garden) -- but it will navigate around other objects, like rocks, garden gnomes or fences. The weatherproof Husqvarna Automower 315x is also smart enough to detect when it’s running low on battery, navigate itself back to the base, charge itself up, and then continue the job. You can give commands via the keypad, through the app, and even use your voice (with support for both Amazon Echo and Google Home devices). Anti-theft technologies include a high-decibel siren and GPS tracking.

No. 6. A smart lock.

Imagine you’re on the way home and you realize you left your house keys at work. No problem. As long as you have the Kevo smart lock. This second-generation Kevo is a smarter smart lock – and the only one to offer touch-to-open convenience – which lets you lock or unlock the door with the touch of a finger, and eliminating the need to fumble for keys. The Bluetooth-enabled deadbolt also includes support for a traditional mechanical key, of course, and a wireless fob to keep on your keychain or sewn into a kid’s backpack. As a bonus, you can email an electronic key (or “eKey”) to family, friends, housekeepers or guests, so they can use their smartphone as a key, too -- even temporarily. Kevo also works with many other smart home products and personal assistants.

No. 7. Switches and power strips.

Ever hear of “vampire power”? This is when plugged-in products “suck” electricity, even though they’re switched off. This common (but little-known) energy waster is also referred to as “standby” power. Your smartphone, for example, is probably fully charged after 40-odd minutes, but perhaps you leave it plugged into a wall socket all night? This isn’t good on your wallet or the environment. The good news is some switches and power strips can completely cut off electricity, on demand, with a button or app, or through a timer. Belkin, for example, has a line of Conserve-branded switches, sockets and plugs that shut off all power to what’s plugged into it -- either with the flip of a switch or after a predetermined amount of time. There are also Conserve power strips for multiple items to be plugged into.

No. 8. A smart garage door opener

When you hear the word “technology” you probably aren’t thinking “garage doors” – but new Wi-Fi-connected products may change your mind -- like the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub. Simple to install and use, these garage systems show you if your garage door has been left open, and lets you close or open it from anywhere in the world via the free app. You can also set custom alerts if the garage has been open for a specific period of time, or schedule it to close the garage door after 1, 5, or 10 minutes, after leaving the home. Some of these new garage systems offer a battery back-up, so your garage door opener will still work if the power goes out, as well as optional synchronization with lights, therefore your home becomes illuminated when you open the garage door.

No. 9. A Smart Water Sensor

You’re not alone if you’re concerned about water damage and the havoc it can wreak. Whether or not you’ve had a prior issue, the D-Link Wi-Fi Water Sensor plugs into an open power outlet – perhaps in a basement office, under an old window or near the water heater -- and lets you know if and when leaks are detected. If there’s an issue, you’ll get an immediate notification on your smartphone, so you can act on it to minimize damage. After all, water damage is the no. 1 reason for home insurance claims, so this is a great product that joins your Wi-Fi and doesn’t require a monthly subscription, and ideal for a home, cottage or cabin, or for snowbirds who want to keep a digital eye on another property – even if you’re not there.

And finally…

No. 10. A high-tech coffee maker

What’s the only thing better than having great coffee made in your home in under a minute? The answer is having the coffee brewed simply by tapping on an app – maybe while you’re still in bed. It’s possible with the Nespresso Prodigio, the first connected machine from the Swiss company. Using Bluetooth technology, the machine seamlessly links with the Nespresso app to allow you to prepare a cup of Jo remotely with just a few taps, plus it also helps with brewing schedules and maintenance alerts, and the Nespresso app tracks your capsule stock, so you know exactly when to reorder. Other features include a rotating water tank and fast heat-up at just 25 seconds.


Hey, thanks for watching Gear Up; I'm Marc Saltzman. Let us know in the comments section what you you’d like to see more of going forward on Gear Up. And for more tech-tastic lists, be sure to subscribe to Ciao for now.