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The Intelligent Home


smart home devices: Nickey Kehoe

When talking about your home in the past, “smart” likely referred to something you operated remotely from your phone. You probably had to download an app, regularly monitor the device, and basically help it function. So, really, you were the smart one, and your smart home devices just followed orders.

But now, “smart” can mean something completely different: actual intelligence. Certain tech products can now take care of the house without you having to be home. Others learn your behavior, making your decisions for you so you don’t have to. Today’s smart home devices not only control your home, but optimize living conditions for you and your family while you live there. Here are a couple products that are way past smart home— they’re downright intelligent. 

 

Nest Protect Smoke Detector: Smart Home

Nest Protect Smoke Detector

I am a mother bear when it comes to my kids’ safety. And as we move boldly into the leaving-them-home-alone-together phase, I’m more and more concerned about disasters that could strike, and do their little brains know what to do? I’m looking at things like smoke detectors with a newfound appreciation.

The Nest Protect is a far cry from those dumb boxes on the ceiling who beep when there’s no fire and sometimes fail when there is one (many do, due to clogged filters). This smoke detector has an industrial-grade smoke sensor that lasts up to a decade. And it can be shushed from an app on your phone (no more getting on a ladder in the middle of the night to wrench a beeping box it off the ceiling). Plus, the Nest Protect can sense all types of smoke, including carbon monoxide.

The Nest Protect’s alerts are equally as efficient. Have you ever set off your smoke detector by burning something on your stove? Using a friendly human voice, the Nest Protect first communicates a pleasant warning. This gives you time to look into the cause and then silence the alarm from your smartphone. Thank you. Plus, I have personally watched both my kids sleep through the most piercing smoke alarm, and studies show they’re less likely to do so if there’s a nice lady telling the to wake up because there might be a fire. That’s what Nest Protect does (and I hope I never have to hear that alert!).

Set up is easy and within minutes Nest Protect runs through some tests and it’s ready to go. The app will show you at any time whether there’s a low battery or if the device is otherwise compromised. Otherwise you get a “good to go” read-out so you can always be sure they’re in good working order.

OK one last best part: All the Nest Protects in your home are connected— so if there’s smoke downstairs, but you’re upstairs, the Nest Protect in the room where you’re located will let you know there’s danger in a different part of the house. And your whole family can stay alert: everyone can sync their smartphones to the Nest Protect, so even if we’re not home, the kids can know instantly if something’s wrong.

 

Netatmo Healthy Home Coach: Smart Home

Netatmo’s Healthy Home Coach

Everyone wants their families to live their happiest and healthiest lives, and that starts at home, where air quality can impact everything from focus and brain function to allergies and sleep. We can only go so far in creating the right environment without any feedback or data… technology steps in to take things further. 

Netatmo’s Healthy Home Coach touts itself as “the smart indoor climate monitor,” but it really offers so much more than climate control. The device uses four precise sensors, focused on humidity, air quality, noise, and temperature. It measures each category and gathers feedback, and it then offers suggestions for all rooms of your home.

Tangible results? Less dry, itchy skin, thanks to shifts in humidity. A better night’s sleep, thanks to sound level recommendations. And less coughing and sneezing due to better air quality. The device can also help you achieve the optimal home temperature, no matter the season or time of year.

 

Vivint Sky: Smart Home

Vivint Sky

Remember that smart home that relies on you being the smarts? Vivint’s Sky app is happy to take the reins, and start making intelligent decisions on your behalf. Those who are lucky enough to have a Vivint security and home automation system can benefit from using Sky, the app that learns your family’s habits and reacts accordingly. A bevy of sensors and learning algorithms help Sky boost its artificial intelligence so it can learn how you live and help you keep your home comfortable (and safe) for your family).

Because Vivint’s home automation systems are sold as a cohesive unit, Sky has pervue over all of them— you’ll start to get alerts when you leave if, say, you left lights on, or if the door was accidentally left unlocked. Later, you can hand the controls over to Sky and it can automate your routine, making sure the thermostat, alarm system, locks and lights react to your liking when you leave, come home, or go to sleep. Now that’s a brainy home.

 

 

Sense Energy Monitor: Smart Home

Sense Home Energy Monitor

We all try to conserve as much energy as we can, so it can be helpful to know how much energy you’re actually using in different areas of your home. How much TV did your family watch over the weekend? Who forgot to turn off the kitchen light? Is your hair straightener sucking energy while it’s plugged in and not being used (or are you driving yourself crazy for nothing)?

Well your appliances are talking, and the Sense Home Energy Monitor is listening. The monitor tracks energy usage from different electrical devices throughout your home and shows you all the dirty secrets of energy consumption in your home. The best part? You just live your life and it works in the background. If it plugs into an outlet, Sense is watching it. Very little setup is required; it installs into your breaker box in minutes. Sense will automatically detect devices so you can listen to what they have to say, and make changes accordingly.

Any of these smart home stories compelling to you? Where would you start with smart home devices? let me know in the comments. 

Photo borrowed from Nickey Kehoe


2 comments on “The Intelligent Home”

  1. Nice article. I thought the Sense product was a great idea too, but it seems it’ll still be a while before it actually identifies devices – I used mine for about three months, but they couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t identifying specific devices. Hope others have had a better experience !

    1. I’ve had Sense installed for a couple of weeks and even though it still hasn’t identified all of my devices, it’s been useful for remotely keeping an eye on what’s going on in my home just by watching the power meter from my iPhone. We have another home that we rent out for air bnb, vrbo etc. and I’m thinking of installing one there too just to help make sure our guests and cleaning crew get in OK, and see if an oven gets left on or something dangerous like that.

      I’m excited to see all these technologies start talking to one another too. Can the Vivint Sky app integrate with Nest, Netatmo and Sense so I can use all these sensors together?

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