connected-home.jpgDoes your fridge talk to your smartphone and let you know that you’re out of milk or butter? Can your stove turn on wirelessly based on a recipe you’ve created and plugged in? Maybe your washing machine can send you a text if you forgot the fabric softener or your laundry is on the verge of becoming smelly from being left behind?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, I’m jealous. Although I just bought an entire kitchen and laundry room worth of brand new appliances, my appliances aren’t part of my smart home lineup just yet, although I will admit to playing a joke on my husband when I told him my Samsung washing machine just texted me to say the laundry was finished. He believed me and actually walked to get the laundry, so I guess the thought of connected home appliances really is mainstream already.

But having smart appliances that text you and keep you up to date on what’s going on in your fridge or washing machine is part of the Internet of Things we’ve been talking about here on Plug Infor the past few weeks. I’ll be the first to admit it—I had no idea what the Internet of Things (IoT) was the first time I came across the phrase. I’ve always kept up to date on everything tech and was a little surprised when I started reading about the IoT and seeing people label themselves as ‘futurists.’

But it turns out I haven’t missed the boat on the IoT just yet, and I’ve seen the concept of it before, I just didn’t associate what I was reading with the name Internet of Things. When I realized what it all meant, I got that same shiver up my spine I had when I laid eyes on the iPad for the first time.

What does IoT mean?246ED37000000578-2899321-It_ll_leave_you_in_a_spin_This_washing_machine_by_LG_unveiled_at-a-24_1420593774030.jpg

In a nutshell, the Internet of Things means devices connecting to the Internet and each other, and when they do that, they can automate and provide us with home conveniences some of us never thought possible. One article I read predicts 9 out of 10 household appliances would have WiFi-fueled appliances within the next two years, and those appliances will be able to do everything from letting your stove know what the contents of your fridge so it can suggest a recipe, or having your coffee maker know exactly what time you put your feet on the floor in the morning so it can brew you a cup before your eyes are even open.

I don’t know about you, but I have blurry memories of a life before smartphones and even TVs with remote controls, so the idea of having a completely connected home is very Jetson-esque to me. It’s also incredibly exciting, and when LG and Samsung took to the floor at CES to demonstrate the WiFi connectivity already enabled on some of their new, high-end models, people sat up and took notice.


10254137.jpgJust take a look at Nest

Those appliances may be out of range for most people, but we’re already starting to see a trickle of smart home devices that have the ability to connect and talk to each other, and some of them are ready for your home right now. Take Nest for example—I remember when the Nest just came out, and how many people were wondering out loud exactly why you would want a WiFi controlled thermostat. I don’t think anyone was prepared for the answer, because if Nest is any indication, that programmable thermostat has the power to run your home right from your smartphone. Need an example? Nest Thermostat will interact with all of the other Nest products including Nest Protect and Nest Cam. When it’s connected to your Nest Protect and there’s a carbon monoxide leak detected in your home, Nest Thermostat will turn off the furnace.

Nest will also work with the phone service Ooma Telo in some very unique ways. If Nest is in away mode, Ooma Telo will automatically forward your calls to you. When you get home, it will resume sending your calls to your home number. The occupancy sensor on your Nest will also connect to Ooma Telo and call you if someone doesn’t show up when they’re supposed to. That means if you’re at work and your child doesn’t return from school when they’re supposed to, you’ll get a call on your phone.

It might all sound futuristic, but it really isn’t. We’ve already seen the glimmers of what it’s going to be like to have an IoT connected home, and the best is yet to come.

Watching more and more home appliances become WiFi-enabled is going to be incredibly exciting. In the meantime, take a look at everything has that will automate your home right now.

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Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag