Connected Home 101: Start with these Smart Home Products

The image of a “smart” home, with lights, temperature and music connected to your devices and customized to your exact routine, is futuristic and appealing. But a connected home offers more than the “cool” factor. Syncing your devices to your lifestyle saves time, energy and money.

Many of today’s smart home products depend on a high-speed Wi-Fi connection. If you have a strong internet signal and a high speed wireless router, you can get started with a connected home fast. Here’s how (and why) to begin to smarten up your home.

Save on Energy

This is a popular way to introduce connectivity into your home beause you can see savings quickly by cutting unnecessary heating, cooling and lighting. The Nest Learning Thermostat automatically adjusts your home temperature based on your usage. After just a few days, this smart thermostat will anticipate your household’s heating and cooling needs and perform accordingly. It can also sense whether anyone’s home, so you never accidentally leave the A/C running in an empty house.

You can also monitor your electricity use with devices like the Incipio CommandKit Wireless Smart Outlet, which sends diagnostics from any or all of your power outlets, so you can figure out where to cut back and save. To save more power, it can also be set to turn electronics on and off based on a schedule, or even your proximity.

Sync Your Routine

Use timers and presets on your connected devices to have your lights on, radio playing and thermostat set while you get ready for work every morning, and when you return in the evening.

The Incipio CommandKit Smart Light Bulb Adapter lets you connect one or more light bulbs to your Smartphone or computer. Set timers, program light sequences or remotely turn lights on and off via Wi-Fi. Set your home’s ambiance by adding a Bluetooth speaker — or a network of connected speakers. The JBL Flip 4 Portable Bluetooth Speaker seamlessly integrates into your connected home through your Smartphone. And many “smart” speakers are voice-activated, giving you hands-free control over music and lighting at home.

Check In

If you’re leaving pets or older kids home alone while you go out, get peace of mind by checking in on them with remote monitoring devices. The Nest Cam Indoor and Motorola Moto Focus 50 Wi-Fi HD Camera stream HD video over Wi-Fi to any of your devices.

The motion-activated Ring Video Doorbell lets you see if any packages get dropped off at your door anytime you’re away for the day or even on vacation.

As an additional precaution, replace that battery-powered smoke alarm with a smart monitor like the Nest Protect Smoke and CO Alarm. No more low-battery chirping — you can check this monitor’s battery from your phone, and receive alerts even when you’re not in the house to hear the alarm.

If you’re ready to save time, money, these are great ideas to start making your home a connected home. To get the smart home of your futuristic fantasies, check out more connected home products from U.S. Cellular.