We’ve all seen the advertising campaigns which claim that a certain product will change your life. Sadly, they almost always fall short on their promises, and whatever the product was ends up at the back of the garage collecting dust within a month.
Luckily, smart home products are one sector where that’s not the case. They promise big, and they deliver big.
Turning your abode into a smart home can undoubtedly improve your life for the better. Here we take a look at some of the products that really can change your life within a year – and that’s a MakeUseOf promise…
Summer is coming, and while for some unfortunate souls that means washed-out barbecues and sitting on the beach in woolly hats (I’m looking at you, Britain), for most of us it means sweltering temperatures; spending our days sat in the fridge and our nights sticking to the bed sheets.
That doesn’t have to be the case. Invest in the Quirky Aros – a smart air conditioning unit – and the joys of summer will come flooding back.
It aims to reduce your air conditioning bill by running at certain pre-programmed times of day and by ticking over to a slower fan setting for a longer period. This means that instead of getting home and putting your AC on full blast on the lowest temperature – the most inefficient way of using it – the house should already be at your desired temperature when you walk through the door.
Best of all, you might never need to set it again. It can learn your habits and preferences to adjust itself without any user input.
Face it, keys are a nightmare. We lose them, we don’t have enough of them for guests, and we break them in locks. The earliest keys have been dated to circa 700 BC in Nineveh – an ancient Mesopotamian city. They’re due an upgrade.
Get yourself a 21st Century key by investing $181 in a Kwikset Kevo on Amazon and it’ll let you lock and unlock the door with a mere touch of your finger. You can also assign permanent and temporary keys to family, friends, guests, and lovers (!) and you can monitor all the ins and outs thanks to the accompanying smart phone app.
Cleverly, the Kevo has been designed to look like a regular lock to prevent people trying to hack it. Finally, in case there is a technical malfunction (or you lose your finger) you also can use a regular key. Just don’t lose that as well.
It is vital to keep up with regular maintenance on your home. Failure to do some DIY-housekeeping can lead to catastrophic structural failure, water leaks, or an electrical disaster.
Regardless, few of us heed such advice – and now there is even less incentive to do so.
Wally Home aims to monitor all the places in your home where water leaks could be an issue (under sinks, around the bath tub, behind the toilet, etc) and let you know if a problem is developing. It does that by immediately alerting you on your phone if a solitary drop of water falls on it.
The sensors also monitor temperature and humidity, letting you keep abreast of places where silicon or grouting could be weakening.
The hub and a six-pack of sensors will set you back $235 on Amazon.
Sleep is the best meditation – Dalai Lama
Never doubt the Dalai Lama. Once again, Tibet’s greatest Buddhist has hit the nail on the head with the above quote – a good night’s sleep can work wonders for the body, mind, and soul.
Nonetheless, it’s difficult to get a good night’s rest when you’ve got a lumpy mattress, your significant other snores, and the neighborhood’s stray dog won’t stop barking. You can start to address these issues by getting a gun and a new partner, however a slightly more practical (albeit more expensive) solution is to get yourself a smart bed.
For $999 you can get a Sleep Number c2 Bed king-size bed on Amazon. Unlike fitness trackers that monitor your sleep , this is an entire bed that monitors your sleep. It’ll track a whole host of variables, from your movement and heart-rate to your breathing and quality of sleep.
All the output is fed back to the web app, giving you the tools to set up the bed in the best way for your personal circumstances, thus increasing the amount of rest you get each night. You can even customize both sides of the bed to give you and your partner different set ups.
If you’re the type of person who likes to spend their Sunday’s pottering around the garden, this smart device will revolutionize your life.
No longer will you take a holiday and need ask someone to pop around and water the plants – Click and Grow has you covered.
It’ll let you grow three herbs and/or spices at the same time, in the same pot, with absolutely no effort on your part. There’s a light timer to make sure your plants receive the optimal balance between day and night, a fertilizer that releases nutrients based on your plants’ requirements, a water tank that’ll hold up to one month’s supply, and smart soil that monitors the balance between nutrients, oxygen, and water.
If your plants die while you’re using this device you should probably just give up and turn your back garden into a car park.
The device is $95 on Amazon.
Another problem about taking a holiday or weekend break is what to do with your pet. You could take them with you, put them in a kennel, or just leave them inside with a Petcube.
It will stream 138 degree video, complete with sound, to your smartphone or tablet – meaning you can relax safe in the knowledge that Fido is safe and sound.
It can also help you solve some of those pesky questions like “which of my five dogs ate my flip flops”, “how did the rabbit escape from its hutch”, and “who stood on the hamster”.
Pick one up for $199 on Amazon.
Have you just bought a smart device that you think is going to change your life? Tell us about it!
We’d also love to hear from you if you’ve used any of the devices we’ve covered in the article.
Let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.
Image Credits: smartwatch via Shutterstock