Technological advances make it possible for us to lead more connected lives with the Internet of Things. More and more “smart” devices and appliances are being introduced that can be connected to the internet, and controlled remotely with a digital device. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular internet-connected devices are proving to be the most valuable to consumers.
No More Flipping Switches
This age of connection can spare you the trouble of performing even the simplest tasks, like flipping a light switch or moving the dial on the thermostat. In addition to in-app controls, some systems use motion sensors to turn on a light when you enter a room and allow you to create a schedule for light use. You can schedule your bedroom lights to turn on when it is time for you to wake up. The appeal of controlling the temperature and lights from an app isn’t just about convenience – it can help save on energy costs by ensuring you do not inadvertently leave lights on all day or preventing the unnecessary use of air conditioning and heating. It can also help improve home security during vacations by activating lights so it appears that your home is occupied.
Keeping Your Home Safe
How many times have you been halfway to work, only to wonder if you remembered to lock the front door? Devices like the August Smart Lock are attached to the existing deadbolt, allowing you to remotely lock or unlock the door with your smartphone. In addition to ensuring your home is secure, you can give visitors access when you are unable to be there to greet them personally. In the past, a common practice has been to leave a spare key hidden under the doormat or stashed in a potted plant. In fact, hidden keys are easy for criminals to find, leaving your home vulnerable. Remote control via internet-connected locks provides much greater control over who has access to your home.
Checking in From Far Away
Internet-enabled cameras can also play a critical role in home security, while serving a range of other functions. Some record constantly, while others record when activated by movement or sound. The most advanced systems are controlled remotely through an app. In terms of value, consumers seem to be favoring the Nest Cam for its high-quality video during day and night, and the simplicity of installation. With this product, you get three hours of footage saved to the cloud for free, with expanded storage available. The SkyBell Wi-Fi Video Doorbell features a security camera incorporated into a smart doorbell, allowing you to see the visitor before opening the door, or alerting you when someone is at your door if you are away from home.
Keeping Things Clean
The Roomba has pioneered robotic cleaning, but has only recently joined the Internet of Things. The Roomba is a well-known automated vacuum-cleaning system that uses sensors to navigate the home, and is supposed to function without colliding with objects or becoming stuck. iRobot, the company that produces Roombas, currently offers four Roomba systems with Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to schedule cleaning and monitor activity remotely through an app.
Currently, the features in the Wi-Fi capabilities are limited, so it is uncertain how worthwhile the investment will be until iRobot rolls out more updates and offers expanded features. While a robotic vacuum sounds ideal in theory, these systems can be troublesome. They are reported to have difficulty cleaning certain areas, get stuck easily, run into problems with cords, water, brushes, or to have common charging issues. It may, in the end, be faster to vacuum yourself than to spend time rearranging your rooms in the hopes that a robotic vacuum will perform!
In the meantime, for non-robotic cleaning needs, the COIT team is here to lend a hand.