Smart lights

We live in the Smart Home era. As kids get ready to start a new school year, smart home products become part of the Back-to-School conversation. These gadgets improve comfort, organization, and productivity of students studying at home. A lot has changed since I went to school. Let’s look at some of the best smart home products for back to school. 

Smart speaker

Smart speakers and displays 

At the heart of any smart home is smart speakers and displays. What students may not realize is that they make a great study buddy.  Voice assistant like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri can help students manage schedules, create reminders, and access information on the fly. For example, I always use a bedside smart display to set multiple alarm clocks when I have to get up early. It’s a great backup to using the alarm in your phone so you’ll never miss an early morning exam. 

While I don’t study anymore, I still spend a lot of time at my desk writing. A good tip for students is to use smart speaker to set study timers. This is what I do when I write. Once I sit at my desk, I use a voice assistant to set a timer for 45 minutes. Then I work non-stop until the timer goes off. Once it does, I set another timer for a 15 minute break. This is a great method to condition yourself to deep work without distraction. 

Smart plugs to control devices

Smart plugs may not be the first thing you think about for back to school. However, they compliment smart speakers and displays to make students’ lives easier. For example, if you live in a dorm, connect a smart plug to a heater. Then as you leave class, remotely turn the heat on.  Your dorm will be nice and cozy for late night study sessions. 

If you’re a student who loves coffee, use my smart plug hack. Connect your coffee maker to a smart plug. Then as you lay in bed, use a bedside voice assistant to turn your coffee maker on. By the time you get into the kitchen,  a hot cup of coffee will be waiting for you. 

Smart lights

Smart lighting for epic study sessions

Many students like to study late into the night. With smart lights, students can create the perfect atmosphere for learning. Students can adjust the colour temperature to set the right mood. Personally, I recommend using a yellowish colour for studying. It’s bright enough to keep you working, but it won’t disrupt your sleep. Avoid using bright white lights at night.  A good tip is to use smart lights to mimic the colour of the sun. During the evening and night, turn the light to a sunset colour. 

Smart homes for security and safety 

Many students are living on their own for the first time to attend college or university. Security & Access products help students be independent and safe. For example, smart locks are great for keyless entry. It’s a great choice for students who have roommates. You’ll always have a record of who is coming in and out. No more dorm parties when you’re visiting the parents on spring break. Students can monitor entrance/exits and even provide temporary access remotely. 

You don’t always get to choose your roommate in university. Indoor smart security cameras are a great tool to watch over your stuff when you’re in class. Install one in your bedroom for peace of mind. If someone go in there, you’ll get a push notification on your smartphone and video recorded to the cloud. I recommend letting people know your room is being monitored. It’s a great deterrent for any nosy roommates. 

Smart gardening

Smart gardening to relieve stress and eat healthy

If I could go back to school, the one thing I would do differently is eat healthier foods, With Smart Gardening, students can hit two birds with one stone. First, gardening has shown to relieve stress and anxiety. Student life is stressful, so gardening is a great way to stay grounded during study sessions at home. Second, smart gardening promotes healthy eating. There’s nothing more rewarding than eating food you’ve grown yourself. It’s a great reminder to eat a healthy diet during the school year. Plus, students save money by growing their own food with a smart garden.

Smart thermostats to save money 

Managing expenses as a student is hard but necessary. One way students can keep their costs down is by reducing their heating and cooling bills. The best part is, you don’t have to wear sweaters or jackets indoors to save money. Smart thermostats avoid unnecessary heating or cooling when students are not home. 

There are several ways students can use smart thermostats. First, they can set heating schedules at the start of the semester year. When students are in class, they won’t be paying to heat their room. Second, students can remotely turn the heat on through an app. By the time they get home, their place will be warm and ready. Third, students can gain experience in sustainability and energy management. Smart thermostats provide valuable education on how smart home technologies contribute to energy efficiency. Once you start paying bills, you’re suddenly interested in learning how to save money.  

Smart homes create smart students

Back to school is the time to prepare for the upcoming school year. One of the first places to start is in the bedroom or study room. Smart home products help students stay productive, focused, and comfortable. Smart speakers and displays are voice assistants ready to help. They can be used to play music during study sessions, or answer random questions on the fly. Smart plugs let students control electronic devices remotely or via voice. Use my coffee machine hack as part of your morning routine. Finally, smart security products give students peace-of-mind, especially with dorm roommates. 

If you’re a student or a parent, read this back to school buying guide. It’s the perfect place to start but don’t forget to check out smart home products as part of your shopping. 

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.