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Tom Merritt has some smart home smarts for us. Try out these items to make your home and office life simpler.
Smart homes are not just for the rich and famous anymore. With a trip to the hardware store, you can make your home or office a little more automated and a little easier to manage.
If you haven’t dabbled already, here are five smart home devices you need to know about.
SEE: Home office deduction guide and checklist (TechRepublic Premium)
- Smart thermostats. The Nest Learning Thermostat is the most famous because it can learn your habits and automatically schedule your temperature changes. It’s among the thermostats that work with public utilities, too, to help save energy and give customers rebates. Smart thermostats from many companies can tell when you’re home and when you’re not, so you don’t waste money cooling or heating the house when you don’t need to.
- Smart ovens. I love my Tovala. Whether I get meals from them, which are surprisingly delicious, or just create my own, a few taps of the app, and it does all the hard parts of combining the broiler, roaster and steamer to make food come out perfectly. Other ovens, like the June oven, can even tell what food you put in them and be ready to cook them immediately.
- Smart doorbells. Ring has been joined by a dozen other companies making competent, connected doorbells. For me, the best part about a smart doorbell is being able to chat with the person at your door without having to open it. Plus, motion detection is pretty reliable at letting me know when a package has been dropped off so I can get it off the porch faster.
- Smart curtains. The classic automatic home move is the curtains that open themselves. Every self-respecting Japanese robot hotel has them. They’ve been a tad bit complicated to implement, sometimes requiring special curtain equipment, but the SwitchBot Curtain attaches to any curtain rod letting you control it with your phone, or with the SwitchBot Hub Mini, your voice.
- Smart assistants. Did I say voice? One way to manage all your smart devices, including smart light bulbs and electric outlets, is a smart assistant. Google Nest and Amazon Echo are the two main brands, though Apple’s HomeKit lets you use Siri on Apple devices, too.
I’m not saying your home isn’t smart, but… it could be smarter, right?
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