Blog post

Must Have Gadgets For a Smart Home

13 March 2017

Did you know that you can easily turn your everyday home into a smart-home?

There are a wide range of smart home products, apps and appliances that let you control your lighting, temperature, and even your cooking pot all from your smartphone.

With so many smart apps and devices available on the market and more coming out this year in 2017, you can easily pick and choose your favourite gadgets to assemble an affordable intelligent abode that suits your home and your lifestyle.

We’ve sourced for you the best Smart Home Gadgets of 2017. Use this list as an inspiring guide to explore what you’d like to see smarter in your new home today.

Here are our favourite Top 10 Must-Have Gadgets to Make Your Home Smarter:

1. Smarter Speakers

Why have an ordinary Bluetooth speaker, when you can have a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo. It boasts voice-activated features which let you control a number of other smart home gadgets, as well as read you audiobooks, check the weather and even let you purchase things online by using your voice? Oh yeah, and it also plays music from all your favourite stream services. While it's not 'available' in Australia you can Google Australia amazon echo for instructions on how to get your hands on one and set it up for use outside of the U.S.

The Amazon Echo plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice.


2. Smart Security Camera

Need some extra security in your home? Introducing the third generation of the excellent Dropcam, the Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera shoots video in 1080p, and has a magnetic, swivelling base that lets you set it up almost anywhere in the home. It also features two-way audio, sharp night vision and a powerful digital zoom, integrating well with other smart home gadgets too, like its sister, the Nest Learning Thermostat.

The Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera records 24/7 live video with a built-in speaker/microphone and lets you talk and listen through the app.


3. Smart Temperature Control

Looking for an alternative to the popular Nest Thermostat device? Don’t look past the Ecobee3 Thermostat, while it will need some professional installation, the Ecobee3 will transform your house into the future. You won’t be disappointed with its slick looks or awesome temperature-gauging features.

The Ecobee3 features a touchscreen interface, with a small wireless sensor that intuitively understands when to turn on your heating or cooling based on your home’s unique energy profile, the weather outside and other data points to make sure you are comfortable at all times. In addition, it helps lower your energy bills – now that’s truly smart.

TheEcobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, Wi-Fi, 2nd Generation, works with Amazon Alexa for voice control.


4. Smart Light Bulbs

One of the more affordable gadgets on this list, and something you can buy more easily in-stores are smart LED light bulbs. But not just energy-saving smart LED light bulbs, we’re talking light bulbs you can adjust straight from your smartphone.

The Phillips Hue White Starter Kit lets you adjust their brightness (up to 800 lumens) from an app, and the Phillips kit also works with a wide range of smart home platforms like Nest and Alexa.

The Phillips Hue White Starter kit includes two bulbs and a hub to connect them to other smart home devices.


5. Smart Switches

Another simple and inexpensive way to make any device “smart” is a smart plug.

The iHome SmartPlug lets you control any connected device from home or remotely. You could turn off the portable heater or fan and turn on the holiday lights straight from the app.

Another cool feature is letting you create a schedule to turn the plug on and off – all that is required is a WiFi connection with internet access.

The iHome Control SmartPlug features Apple Homekit and Android Combability. It also works with Amazon Alexa for voice control and is WiFi enabled.


6. Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector

Looking for an alternative to the popular (but fairly priced) Nest Protect Smoke + CO2 alarm? How about an inexpensive little battery gadget that plugs into any existing smoke or CO2 detector and immediately turns it into a smart device?

The Roost Smart Battery for smoke alarms transforms your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm into a smart home device just like that. With the same size and specs as a 9-Volt battery, the Roost Smart Battery works with existing alarms to upgrade the safety and convenience of your home.

When your alarm goes off, it will alert you (and others) on your smart phone and from there you can either call emergency or silence the alarm in case it was just a burnt piece of toast.

The Smart 9V Battery for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms transforms your ordinary smoke alarm into something so much smarter!


7. Smart Home Lock

A designer, smart home security lock, anyone? That blends in nicely with your door while offering premium security?

The Kwikset Smartcode 916 touchscreen electronic deadbolt is a bit of a mouthful, but it certainly packs a punch, allowing you to punch in two random digits before entering your code – ensuring burglars can’t guess your password by fingerprint smudges alone. And it has an alarm if someone tries to break in.

While the 916 lacks a standalone app, it can be connected to several other smart home hubs. Overall, it is a great all-round lock that allows you to ease into the world of smart locks.

The Smartcode 916’s small size makes it less conspicuous than other locks, allowing you to still use your old house keys if you want.


8. Smart Cookware

Have a busy lifestyle but also want to be a Masterchef? Juggling a career with young kids but need to get dinner on the table? If you generally need more flexibility in the kitchen, a smart crock-pot by Belkin might be your answer.

The Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo-enabled technology allows you to easily increase or decrease cooking time, turn the temperature up or down, switch the slow cooker to keep-warm mode or turn it completely off, all from using the free WeMo app on your smart device.

This no ordinary Crock-Pot allows you to adjust cook time and temperature with the WeMo-enabled app on your smart device. Great for busy parents!


9. Smart Sleeping

Some people track their sleep with fitness trackers, but what if I told you that there is a bed out there can do it already for you, plus more?

The SleepNumber it Bed aims to improve your quality of sleep with its embedded sensors tracking heart rate, breathing and movement, using its SleepIQ app to provide suggestions about bed times and bed firmness via an app for tablets and phones. And yes, it connects with Fitbits, Nest Thermostats and other health and smart home apps and devices to customise your sleeping patterns.

A bed that’s smart, adjustable and comfortable. You can use your smartphone to change its firmness or softness as often as you’d like.


10. Smart Refrigerator

The Samsung Family Hub Fridge has a large touchscreen that lets you view family members’ schedules, leave notes for each other, order groceries, play music, and even watch TV. With additional cameras on the inside, you can keep an eye on your food and save money on wastage.

The fridge is WiFi enabled and can be used in conjunction with your smartphone! Pricey, yes, but this may be the most innovative fridge ever.

This connected fridge has everything but the kitchen sink, and even lets you spy on your food with three camera on the inside.

Want to add some smarts to your home today?

Plunkett Homes are committed to building high quality homes to meet each individual homebuilder’s needs.  Partnering with Intelligent Homes allows Plunkett Homes to provided home builders with access to smart home technology such as security/intercom/CCTV plus home theatre automation.

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