I think the words “Smart Home” puts a bit of a limitation on the technology in people’s minds, don’t you? What about if you happen to live in an apartment? Can you still make it a “Smart Home” even if it’s not exactly a full-sized house? The short answer is “Of course!,” while the longer answer requires a few examples to ease your mind, and convince you that Smart Home applies to anywhere that you happen to hang your hat. So, read on and let me give you some options for top smart home products to easily make your apartment smarter.
Smart Plugs for a Smarter Apartment
A really good place to start when it comes to Smart Home technology, is with a Smart Plug. These little devices are a lot like the timer plugs you’ve seen or used in the past. Those old school plugs simply went into any electrical socket, and allowed you to set a timer for when you wanted any attached appliance (usually a light) to come on. The new Smart Plugs, however, synch with your home network, so you can not only set a schedule for when something turns on and off, but you can now also control and monitor it from your smartphone or other connected devices, as well. The iHome iSP8W Wi-Fi Smart Plug with Remote, for instance, doesn’t even require a hub to connect to your home network, and it even monitors the power consumption of whatever is plugged into it, so you can make smarter environmental choices for your apartment. There’s even a handy remote so you can turn your appliances on and off without using a smartphone or tablet.
Make Your Apartment Brighter with Smart Lighting
Another easy way to dip your toes into the Smart Home waters is with some Smart Lighting. Light bulbs have certainly come a long way, if you ask me. Today, Smart Light Bulbs are internet connected, allowing you to interact, control and monitor them from practically anywhere. The Philips Hue brand of products offers a wide range of Smart Lighting for your home that is quite easy to use and versatile. You can go for something like the Philips Hue A19 Smart LED Light Bulb Starter Kit with three bulbs and a bridge modem, or maybe you want something stylish like the Philips Hue Phoenix Table Lamp. But, no matter which Hue lighting product you purchase, you’ll be able to quickly set it all up, and then start setting schedules for your lights, and myriad other uses. For instance, some Smart Lighting allows you to set it up so it will turn on when you enter a room (by sensing your smartphone), or even when you are walking up the driveway. You can also use your Smart Lighting as an alarm, too. Imagine waking to gently pulsing light, rather than a blaring alarm tone. These Smart Lights also let you adjust the colour and brightness of the lights, so you can enjoy a simulated sunset in the living room, or anywhere else. Some Smart Lights can also be set to pulse and flash with music or the sounds from a movie, so you can set the party mood, or thrill to a more immersive Hollywood experience.
The Perfect Temperature with Smart Thermostats
A small space such as an apartment could also benefit from a Smart Thermostat. Something like the Nest Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat or ecobee3 HomeKit-Enabled Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat allow users to save tons on their energy bills by monitoring use. They know which rooms you are in most, and when, and adjust temperatures – turning them up and down accordingly – to keep you comfortable at home, while at the same time minimizing energy use. Internet-connected, these thermostats also let you control your apartment’s temperatures from practically anywhere. So, you can turn up the heat in your apartment before leaving work on a snowy day, and arrive to a toasty home.
Indoor Cameras for Smart Apartment Security
Next, you’ll probably want to invest in a solid Indoor Smart Camera for your apartment’s security. You can set these things up anywhere, and then monitor what is going on in your flat when you’re not there. The D-Link Pan & Tilt Network Camera with Night Vision even lets you check things out when the lights are off. It also can send you alerts when it senses movement, plus there’s a built-in microphone to record sounds. The Nest Cam WiFi Indoor IP Camera also offers 24/7 live streaming video, plus night vision and phone alerts, too.
Smart Video Doorbells Let You Know Who’s at the Door, Anytime
By far, one of my favourite Smart Devices is the Smart Doorbell Cameras. With these installed, you can answer your door from anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection. The Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell offers a full HD camera, motion detection, interchangeable faceplates, and two-way communication via WiFi. You can also record video of who is knocking at your door. The August Doorbell Cam offers similar features, plus it works with August Smart Locks, so you also lock and unlock your door remotely using the Doorbell as a hub. Imagine being able to answer your door as if you were at home. It’s ideal for when you’re expecting a UPS delivery, or for giving the illusion you’re still at home, thereby preventing break-ins.
Best of all, most Smart Home products out there are compatible with an overarching umbrella framework such as Apple HomeKit or Nest, so even if you have Smart Devices from different companies, they can all speak and interact with each other to create a truly smart apartment. For those living in a detached home, I’ve also covered in a previous blog some of the best Smart Home products to kick off your own detached Smart Home. Let me know in the comment section if I’ve missed anything, or if there is a Smart Home product you’d recommend for those just getting into the technology.