• Elaine Tait

Smart Homes are the Smart Choice

I love my gadgets, probably more than the average person. In many aspects of my life, personal and professional, I love being “connected” and analyzing data, and my gadgets enable me to have more access to data and information than any person could possibly process in a 24-hour day. Whether it is the personal fitness stats enabled by my iWatch or map routing & distance performance metrics enabled by my GPS running watch, data is available anywhere and everywhere to keep me informed, help me change my behavior, and motivate me to progress.

So, when it came to researching how to run a connected household and buying into the gadgets that could enable my family and household to operate a “Smart Home,” I was blown away by the innovations (and uses of them) available on the market today.

Innovative companies across many personal and home care categories are introducing products and services in the “Smart Home” space. If I had endless financial resources, I would certainly want to try them all for the assumed convenience and information they offer. To be honest, it actually became a little overwhelming to research these products, as I realized how much more I could be doing to make our home and lives safer, easier, and more efficient.

Below is a short list of ways that I currently incorporate “Smart Home” technologies into my life or plan to do so soon. And, I encourage and invite others who have direct experience with “Smart Home” products to share how they help make your home easier and better.

SAFETY – I still consider myself a “new” mom, though my daughter is now almost two. And, as a first time mom, anything that keeps me aware and informed of my child’s safety and well-being is a true luxury. Smart technologies, like the Owlet Smart Sock, help keep your home and family members safer. The Owlet is designed to notify parents if their baby stops breathing by using the same Pulse Oximetry technology used in hospitals. While the $249.99 price tag may be a barrier for the average family, this is one “Smart Home” technology for families that may be easier to justify than others.

EFFICIENCY – Yes, I will admit it, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment (and disappointment) when DTE Energy (the Detroit based utility company) sends me an email showing how my household ranks compared to others in my area. Some weeks I am so shocked by how inefficient our home is that I take the results very personally and am immediately compelled to start making drastic changes around the house. The awareness enabled through these emails has also given me the justification I need to consider transitioning my home to a Nest household. Aside from just paying for itself due to the efficiency offered, the Nest line of products has more features than I could possible do justice in this blog. But, the Nest brand is the definition of “Smart Home” because it singularly delivers on making the home safer, more efficient, and more comfortable—and it does this with complete ease and automation (and some of the most beautiful product aesthetics to boot).

AWARENESS/PROGRESS – My Apple iWatch and Garmin GPS running watch give me the data and information I need to make progress in my personal fitness and training efforts, while also inspiring me to just stand and walk more throughout the day (though often not a challenge when chasing a toddler around). These more personally oriented “Smart Home” products, and many others like them on the market, bring personal information to your fingertips and act as the small voice in our heads pushing us to do better / compete against our best self.

EFFORTLESS – And, some “Smart Home” products like Smarter Coffee and Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator, just help to make our busy lives effortless. Smarter Coffee enables you to brew coffee from anywhere in your house by using your smartphone. Not only is this product gorgeous, but the technology enables you to clean the machine remotely, and set the perfect brewing schedule and quantity that meets your needs. Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator has a Wi-fi enabled touchscreen that takes photos of the inside of your refrigerator so that you know what you do and don’t need at a given point in time. Aside from that amazing feature, it also helps you connect with your family by offering to-do list, calendar and photo capabilities. Lastly, it brings recipes and music to the space you often use them most.

There are just a small sample of the innovative technologies for running a “Smart Home” that I came across, but am inspired and excited by the progress that manufacturers have been making in both expected and unexpected product categories. And, I just cannot wait to see what is next.