LiveTech

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. Now that we’re home more often than ever, those savings can really come in handy.

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

Save on Energy

Smart home devices can help you save on energy costs almost right away by cutting unnecessary heating, cooling and lighting. The Google Nest Thermostat E 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 (which is pretty likely, considering the summer we’re having this year), so you never accidentally leave the A/C running in an empty house or when you’re in the backyard.

You can also monitor your electricity use with devices like the Wemo Mini Smart Plug, which sends diagnostics from any or all of your power outlets, so you can figure out who’s running up the energy bill with their late-night binge-watching. 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 it’s time to wind down.

The WiZ A19 Lightbulb lets you connect your lighting 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 Pulse 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 Ring Indoor Cam and Google Nest Cam Indoor stream HD video over Wi-Fi to any of your devices.

The motion-activated Google Nest Hello 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 Google 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 the latest connected home products with U.S. Cellular.