Technology is everywhere, it has come a long way over the past few years and now more and more homes are being upgraded to ‘smart homes’. This year, the popularity of connected technology within the home is expected to surge dramatically, and whilst there may still be room for expansion, many experts have dubbed 2017 as the year of the smart home. Below, we delve a little deeper into some of the hottest pieces of tech around…
1. it Bed
It’s not just the kitchen that we’ll be covering in this blog either, with the introduction of Sleep Number’s it Bed, nodding off to sleep after a hard day’s work just got a whole lot easier too. The it Bed is again controlled by a single app on your smart phone or tablet, and gives you the ability to alter how firm or how soft the bed is, allowing one side to remain as strong as a rock whilst on the other side, it will feel like your floating on a cloud.
Another cool feature of the app is that it tracks how well you sleep and updates your personal fitness tracker. Unfortunately, this product is tricky to come by in the UK – but we have a feeling 2017 is the year when other manufacturers will start following suit.
2. August Smart Lock
Upgrading to a smart home means a much comfier home, but a smart home also means a much safer home too – which leads us on to the August Smart Lock. The app for this device allows you to lock and unlock your door remotely, and create virtual keys for guests whilst also carrying the ability to see and speak with guests remotely as well.
How many times have you stood at your doorstep, with bags full of shopping, struggling to dig out your key from your back pocket? Imagine how easy it would be if your door automatically unlocked as you approach. The August Smart Lock does just that! Of course, the best feature might be the fact that you can delete guest access at any time (for visiting relatives that might’ve overstayed their welcome) and set specific time lengths for short-term access – ideal for anyone operating an Airbnb.
3. Ring Stick Up Cam
For added security, the Ring Stick Up Cam is proving popular with smart-buyers and promises homeowners a complete ‘Ring of Security’ and a ‘complete peace of mind’. Once you’ve downloaded the app you’ll be able to listen, see and speak to people on your camera. The camera is weather resistant and can be operated by a solar panel – meaning no wires and extra battery life. It comes with an adjustable mounting bracket and a 13ft USB cable, meaning you can capture footage from any angle – both inside and out.
Some cool features that this product offers are infrared night-vision, custom motion zones and live view on-demand video and audio. If you want to go that one step further, Ring offers a series of video recording plans which allow you to access your videos ‘anytime, anywhere’ and means you can save your recordings for up to six months.
4. Hoover Wizard
The first complete family of WiFi enabled appliances which allows you to control your oven, hob, hood, fridge freezer, and even a selection of washing machines and dishwashers, via one single app. If you’ve ever made the fatal error of putting a wash on early in the morning and then not returned until several hours later resulting in a smelly, damp heap of clothing – then Hoover Wizard is the thing of dreams. It means we no longer have to be at home to stay in control.
The Hoover Wizard WiFi app can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store, and allows users to monitor their energy consumption and keep track of the status of their programmes. We personally love that this means no more waiting for the oven to pre-heat. Setting it going a few minutes before we arrive home means we’re one step closer to food!
5. Phillips Hue
Meet Hue. Phillips’ personal wireless lighting tech that comes in all shapes and sizes such as table lamps, light strips, bulbs and hanging light shades, and the brightness and colour of which can be controlled with a simple swipe on your smart phone. Hue offers a massive 16 million colours which will transform your everyday lightning, creating awesome experiences for you and your family.
Phillips Hue comes with a dimmer switch, motion sensor and the ability to connect 50 lights to the app at once, allowing for a mix of atmospheres right under one roof. Whether it’s a party, movie night or a romantic evening in for two – Phillips Hue will enhance any experience and allow you to capture the moment, storing a combination of settings so you can revisit any scene in the future.
Once the lighting is in place, you’ll need music – and Sonos is probably the finest piece of kit out there that allows users to connect to various speakers throughout the home and play multiple songs in different rooms at once. This will prove you very popular if you’re hosting a party – instantly transforming your home into your very own night club. You can also use Sonos to sync to Spotify and even play vinyl collections. If you’re being visited by fellow Sonos users, they too can pick a room, pick a song and play DJ as well.
Sonos has a variety of speakers available too, ranging from its basic PLAY:1 model to the (somewhat more expensive) PLAYBASE model which produces a formidable sound through your TV. Get the party started simply by downloading Sonos on your smartphone, tablet or even your desktop too!
7. Parrot Flower Power Plant Monitor
Your smart home wouldn’t be complete without a smart garden, and Parrot’s Flower Power Plant Monitor is the perfect final touch to upgrading to a smart house. It comes with an incredible sensor that assesses your plant’s needs and sends alerts to your smartphone, keeping track of your plant’s health and sending updates when you need to give your little green friends some more attention. The monitor analyses the four parameters essential to your plant’s health and sends you a notification when it needs more sunlight, an adjusted temperature, extra fertilizer and water.
If you’re worried it won’t recognise your rare and exotic flowers, the app comes with a 7,000 database , so it’s highly likely your plants will get all the lovin’ they need. Tech-savvy plant lovers are sure to have the lushest, greenest gardens around this Summer!
How many of these technological treasures do you have? Get your upgrade started right away and beat your neighbours to having the smartest home on the block.
For information about Hoover’s innovative appliances, please visit www.hoover.co.uk or @Hoover_UK on Twitter.