The New Smart Home Products to Lust After

I am a big fan of new smart home products.   In past eras, all the fancy maids and butlers were for the rich and famous and the average person could never afford home help . It must have been so hard then (as it is today with us often holding down 2 jobs with children to look after and, as we age, extended family too!)

That’s why I am a big fan of the smart home products beginning to grow in the marketplaces around the world. If it’s a mundane job, it should be outsourced because it often takes time away from the ones you love…and each family has different requirements.

For some families the mundane jobs double as bonding moments, but for other families it is a stress point. The beauty of new smart home products is that they are now easy to adapt for each and every household with decreasing expense with the adoption of the new application Dot Dot language certification used by the ZigBee Alliance internationally. Different brands will be able to work together more and more.

Here are a few of my favourite smart home products you can buy for your home…they are sooo cool!

Alexa Smart Home Devices

Doesn’t everyone know about Alexa already? Maybe. But Alexa has cousins.:)  such as…

There are now a plethora of voice activated smart home products linked to Alexa, offering
a variety of services in the home. Alexa allows you to tell the Amazon what you want to order even!

Alexa box can  do lots of stuff:

  • Turn on the TV
  • Find your TV programs
  • Turn on/off room lights in different rooms
  • Close garage doors
  • Adjust the thermostat for when you leave the house
  • Turn on the thermostat when you come in
  • Have a wake up routine complete with blinds up, alarms, and coffee brewed
  • Have an AWAY MODE routine
  • Tell corny jokes
  • Give you time, information
  • Create your own routine
  • Lock your front door
    Alexa in the living room

Alexa is like a command box which is voice activated so you don’t need to use text or an app, (even though it has one).

new smart home product
Amazon Echo To Talk To Box

Great for hands being full! However, to get Alexa to work, your fittings and fixtures (the TV, lights, coffee machine, blinds, locks must be WiFi or Bluetooth linked, often to another hub.

New Smart Home Products – Samsung Appliances

I start to get a bit excited by Samsung appliances. Did you know that they make cool appliances…not just phones?. Nothing is better than a smart appliance like the Samsung Fridge Family Hub with a tablet in the door which can show you the inside of your fridge while you are away, update your calendar, play music, show videos and has a touchscreen!

But what is a smart appliance exactly? (I used to think my crock pot was a smart appliance!!)

The Samsung Smart Things Hub

This is different from the Family Hub above. It’s the sort of brains behind your new smart home products and devices getting them to work in sync. There are several brands of hubs which we can review another time.The Samsung Hub provides a breakdown of its skills on its website.

I have listed some below.

  • Acts as a wireless connection point to make your smart devices work together.
  • Has a SmartThings app on your mobile for remote control
  • Ability to set up and run connected devices on auto pilot, turning off and on as people move in and out of home.
  • Get activity alerts via phone text.
  • Manage connected devices with SmartThings pre-designed Routines for Good Morning, Goodbye, Good Night, and more.
  • Control connected devices in your home with voice commands using SmartThings and Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
  • Requires an internet-connected Wi-Fi router with an available port, plus a free SmartThings app.

Smart Locks

Again, as a designer…more excitement!! Because…I am forever losing my keys! A lock which I can operate by voice or with an app on my phone ….? THE BOMB! And a lock that does lots of other stuff too? Well, I would have to react the way people used to for Michael Jackson…you know, with screaming and crying?

Fans with love

There are a wide range of smart locks available but I will just mention one today so that you can see the benefits of installing one in your new home. For this article the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt is our choice.

So What’s so Great about a Smart Lock Like This?

Firstly smart locks are either with or without a handle; they are in the deadbolt category or the level/knob category. This Schlage lock is a deadbolt, the easiest type of smart lock to install as it often uses an existing door cyclinder.

Some come with key access and others just a keypad. This Schlage has both. And the Keypad is a backlit touch pad….

The Touchscreen Connect is a compatible lock. This Smart Lock is powered by ZigBee application language and to my knowledge doesn’t have it’s own app but because of ZigBee, can be managed by a smartphone or smart product hub like Samsung Smart Things or Amazon Alexa.
Smart locks can come in different finishes to match the home…always a plus. And this one has 30 codes which can be set for various family members.

This Smart Lock has a bonus of an alarm which goes off if someone tries to break -in through the door- a great security plus as most break-ins use front and back doors! Not all Smart Locks have them.

Criticisms of the lock have been that they fail after a years because of humidity or moisture. However the Schlage brand now  warrants the electronics for 3 years for all newer models.

Smart Plugs

One of the add-ons from Samsung is the Smart plug which has a WiFi capability and can make normal items plugged into it, controlled by a smart hub or and /or voice activation. This is one of the cheapest ways to automate your home a little at a time and the variety of plugs is growing monthly.

One of my tips is to use a slimline smart plug that is designed to for one outlet. Some are bulky and stop using a second outlet in the same plate.

The new Kasa Smart Wifi Plug combines 2 outlets with it’s slimline profile and acts like a hub so there is no need for the Samsung smart Hub…although you would need more plugs! At around US$30, they are inexpensive to try out and accept all voice activated equipment like Alexa and Google. It also has its own app so you can control it from anywhere! While these can be used in the USA , the TPlink plugs are naturally larger in the UK.

Smart Bulbs

TP-Link Accessory HS105 KIT Smart Plug Mini Sized Wi-Fi Smart Plug Retail

Another new smart home product is the energy saving device is the smart LED lightbulb. Yes…it is way more than an ordinary bulb… you can control it via voice or phone app, change colours with it, connect it to voice activated management…it makes your home fun! These bulbs are needed to allow Alexa or Google to control them. The Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance A 19 (the bulb type that fits the average light or lamp in your home) seems to have the widest flexibility to connect to other smart items, and being part of the Philips brand has more creativity as it is part of a much bigger product portfolio.

new smart home products.
Be smart with New smart home Products

Get Smart!

I think you get the picture of how exciting even a small home design can become, thanks to changes in technology. Try out some new  smart home products today and be wowed. Then when you refurbish or build your new home add them to the plans to create the full automated home experience!

We just offered a brief overview today but will be back with more detailed reviews as we show how to design automation into your home. Let us know if you have purchased any smart home products! Were they worth the money?

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