Design & Lifestyle

Smart Homes: Home Automation

NEST Learning Thermostat

While we haven’t quite reached the “house of the future” that many sci-fi shows predicted we’d have by the millennium, we do have many amazing technologies that make our home lives easier by automating tasks around the house. Here are our top contenders for the coolest recent home automation products:

Climate Control: Nest

Nest takes the guesswork out of thermostats, which many homeowners’ don’t use to their energy saving potential. Consisting of a single digital dial, Nest learns the patterns in your daily schedule after a few uses and begins to program itself without any need of input from you. It can also be controlled from anywhere via a smartphone app.

Lighting: Phillips Hue or Lifx

A new generation of lighting products give you the ability to control light color and intensity wirelessly via your smartphone, and offer significant energy savings on top of that. More than just mood lighting, these devices’ connection to the Internet enables their integration with a variety of other products. For example, your light can flash red if your (smart) smoke alarm goes off, or dim slightly to alert you when you get an important email.

Entry: August Locks

Ever wanted to let someone into your home while you’re far away? August locks, one of a few electronic lock manufacturers, allows you to do just that, by making their digital lock controlled by the bluetooth technology in smartphones. When you walk up to the door, the lock senses the phone of an authorized user is near and unlocks automatically. You can also send one-time or ongoing “guest passes” to friends you want to let in while you’re away or otherwise occupied.

If these products sound promising to you, you’re not alone. The most amazing thing yet will be when they learn to communicate with each other to provide us with a truly seamless automated house experience.

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