Not your ordinary thermostat
Everyone’s heard the old saying that ‘your home is your castle’. It provides shelter and is the scene of countless good memories. Such a place should be looked after, which is why millions of Australian families have home insurance. It’s also why we’re always looking for ways to make our homes better.
A future filled with Jetsons-style houses is edging closer to reality as more smart devices become part of our lives. Some call it a “smart home” – one that is equipped with lighting, heating and electronic appliances all controlled remotely by smartphone or tablet. Many of us can only dream of buying these gadgets or think they are a bit over the top, but they’re pretty cool.
Not your ordinary thermostat
Among the hot new smart home tools coming to market are new-age thermostats that allow users to remotely program temperatures from their smartphones or computers. This means you can fire up the heater or the air-conditioning when you’re not home.
However, what makes these smart thermostats really impressive is their ability to save on expensive energy bills by sensing when you’re in a room. Wireless devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Honeywell Lyric and Ecobee3 are also designed to connect your preferences with the local weather patterns to determine the most cost-effective usage.
Spy on your food with the ‘Big Brother’ fridge
Internet-connected fridges have been talked about for years, but they’re not mainstream yet. They might not be top of your wish list, but think about how they could make meal times easier.
These fridges often come with internal cameras so there’s no need to actually open the fridge to see what’s inside, which just sounds lazy, but consider this: one night you are at the supermarket and you can’t remember if you have enough milk for breakfast so you pull out your smart phone to look straight into your fridge. Problem solved.
And that’s not all – these super high-tech fridges come fitted with touchscreen panels that look up recipes and even suggest meal options based on the ingredients in your fridge.
Man and woman’s best friend: split-screen television
Here’s an interesting device that might even be helpful: a single-screen, dual-program television which allows people sitting on different sides of a couch to watch different programs at the same time. Cleverly marketed as marriage-savers, never again will you have to miss your favourite show because it clashes with your partner’s. A little win there!
The classic 2-in-1 washing machine moves on
People in smaller homes know space is at a premium, so a 2-in-1 washer–dryer is a smart choice. Now, people can save time as well as space in the laundry: enter the 2-drum washing machine. Similar to dishwashers with two drawers this two-at-a-time machine lets you wash your lights and darks at the same time, or your work clothes and your delicates without worrying about damage. Two loads, two cycles, half the time. Some models even come with an inbuilt dryer.
Linking it up
Hubs that connect smart home equipment allow users to organise multiple automated devices. Integration devices such as Apple’s HomeKit and LG’s HomeChat link smart home appliances, lighting, door locks, music and just about anything, which can then be controlled with smartphones, iPads or even just by speaking. Talk about convenient.
Your home today, your home tomorrow
Although many of us may only ever dream of owning these high-tech devices, the speed of innovation in the smart home industry means they may not be out of reach for much longer. It might be one, two, or more years away, but we’re keeping an eye on this space.