The Connected Home

You can water your garden from the office, lower your home thermostat from your car, and your window shades can talk to light fixtures - welcome to the connected home.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

The Connected Home

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we live in our homes by creating connected devices that we can control. We can use a smart phone or give a voice command to a virtual assistant to adjust the temperature in a room, raise or lower lighting and a myriad of other adjustments we would otherwise have to do manually. Or how about the convenience of having smart lights that can communicate with smart blinds and work together to dim lights at dusk or open blinds in the morning? The applications allow living more conveniently and comfortably and interacting with our homes and devices are endless and the industry is just beginning.

As all things new and innovative this is a story in the works as the technology develops and manufacturers work together to create a framework for home automation. We found some innovative examples at the Consumer Electronics Show where the Smart Home exhibit was a major presence.

For example, Samsung’s SmartThings Hub is a home automation platform that turns a smart phone into a remote control for smart accessories. The hub app has no hard-wiring or installation and connects to your Internet router using the included Ethernet cable. Learn more at Smart Things.

We were introduced to Alexa, the speaking assistant of Amazon’s Echo at the demonstration by the NexiaHome Intelligence System that uses an all-in-one app that connects smart devices through Z-wave technology with brands like General Electric, Honeywell and Schlage. We walked through rooms and saw how easy it is to ask Alexa to change the music selection, raise the air conditioning level and turn off the lawn sprinkling system when it rains. Learn more at Nexia Home

At Lowes the Iris Smart Hub is the heart of the network that connects compatible smart products like thermostats, lighting, motion sensors, lawn watering systems and more that you can access and control from the Iris app. Learn more at IRIS

The Apple HOME app will control their HomeKit enabled smart home devices from manufacturers of smart doorbells, locks, thermostats, light bulbs, humidifiers, and entertainment systems. Their HomeKit will be a framework for home automation as a single destination to control smarthome accessories Apple Home Kit.

Image credit: Weichert Realtors