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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Guest Blogger: Kaitlin Krull Discusses Top 5 Essential Gadgets for a High-Tech Home

I love having guest bloggers post from time to time. Today's guest blogger is Kaitlin Krull. Kaitlin is a writer and mom of two girls living the expat life in the UK. Her writing is featured on Modernize.com and a number of home decor sites around the web. She can also be found blogging from time to time on her personal blog, A Vicar’s Wife.

Top 5 Essential Gadgets for a High-Tech Home

 Modern life isn’t exactly what we imagined, technologically speaking. While our cars don’t hover and our homes aren’t run by robots (yet), there are many high-tech gadgets that make home life easier and more advanced than that of our ancestors. If you’re looking for ways to bring your home into the 21st century, here are five essential gadgets you’ll need (and a few extras you’ll probably want).

Smart thermostat or HVAC system
At the top of the home technology list for most homeowners is a smart thermostat or HVAC system. Most of us have heard of the range of products from Nest, an environmentally friendly home automation company that produces thermostats, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and safety cameras. The smart thermostat from Nest monitors, measures, and learns your home heating and cooling patterns over a period of time and adapts your heating settings to save energy and regulate the temperature in your home. All of the data collected by your Nest thermometer is available to view and control via smartphone or tablet app. The newest model of the Nest learning thermometer costs $249 and is sure to save you money on your heating bills. If you’re looking for something similar, check out products from EcoBee and Ecovent, which also produce smart thermometers for the home.


via Nest

Wireless light bulbs

Wireless, WiFi controlled light bulbs and lighting systems are the next step for lighting technology. Make your home more energy efficient and increase your tech profile by switching out traditional halogen light bulbs for eco-friendly wireless LED bulbs that can be linked and controlled remotely. There are tons of these alternative bulbs on the market, but some of the best come from brands such as Hue and Stack. Although the switch to wireless lighting will cost you more than traditional light bulbs initially, the savings in your electricity bills will be reflected quickly and you will thank yourself for this high-tech change.



via Modernize 


Home security system
Via Modernize

Home security is of paramount importance to homeowners, and the latest technology is key if you want to keep your security system up to date and adequately reliable. While standard home security systems do the job just fine, there are several companies that are taking home security technology to the next level. The Welcome camera from home security company Netatmo, for example, has the ability to learn the faces of your loved ones and recognize them when they arrive at your home. The live streaming data from this device is accessed remotely via smartphone app, as with most of today’s high tech gadgets, and can tell you instantly when the device recognizes a loved one or a stranger in your home. The Welcome costs $199 with access to a free, no-subscription app and will save you time, stress, and money in the long run.


WiFi speakers

The latest technology in the home entertainment field comes from WiFi speakers and other devices that can play music over WiFi and via Bluetooth. With portable speakers from brands such as Sonos, Amazon, and Bose, you can easily fill your home with music with the touch of a button on your smartphone, computer, or tablet. The tech behind these gadgets is simple Bluetooth magic and is fast, reliable, and easy, provided you have an adequate wireless Internet connection. Take your pick from basic or top of the line speaker models that enhance sound quality, and your house will be instantly tech savvy when it comes to music.

Robot vacuum
Robotic vacuums may well be a bit passé by now, but they are still worth mentioning in this list. Although we joke that our homes will someday be controlled by robots, many 21st century technological solutions aren’t that far off. Clever floor cleaners like the iRobot Roomba leave their dock, whizz around the room sucking up small amounts of dust and debris, and return to their home when the job is done, all without running into walls or other hazards in the middle of the room. Very clever to watch and even easier to operate, a robotic vacuum is a high tech household necessity for those of us who want to save a little time cleaning.

Extras
Once you’ve equipped your home with these five gadgets, you will officially be members of the high tech homeowners club. However, like us at Modernize, we are sure you know that technology is always changing, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the latest and greatest home tech products on the market. Just to get you started, here are a few of the cleverest (and sometimes oddest) products out there right now:

      WiFi coffee machine
      Smart washer/dryer
      Smart smoke/CO2 alarm
      WeMo Crock Pot: from Belkin, equipped with WeMo
      PetCube: video camera system for pets

      H20 Smart Pot: plant watering device

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