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From Amazon Echo to Nest: An Overview of Smart Home Technology

For those who are unaware, smart home technology allows you to control various aspects of your home from a smartphone, tablet or by using voice commands. While the idea may seem out of reach for all but the ultra-rich, smart home technology is actually becoming very accessible and mainstream. There are countless products hitting the market and you now have the option to remotely control practically any electric device in your home.

If you’ve ever gone on vacation and suddenly had a nagging feeling that you left the stove on or wished you’d remembered to water your parched lawn before you left, you’re not alone. In the past you’d have to try to get a hold of a neighbor to run over and take care of things for you or just sweat it out until you got home. These days, smart home technology can take care of all this and more, but with so many different options it can be hard to decide what system will work best for you. Here, we take a look at some of the most popular smart home products and what makes each unique.

Amazon Echo

Echo has a voice activated home speaker and can pick up the sound of your voice from quite a distance away, even with other background noises around it. To activate Echo, users say a ‘wake’ word and then give a command. Echo is said to be quick and easy to setup. The all-in-one device can stream music, get you the day’s headlines, time the cake you’ve got in the oven, keep track of your favorite sports team’s scores, or order up some delicious takeout. And the best thing? You can do this all without even getting up off the couch.

Connected

If you’re sick of running around shutting off lights that others have left on, then Connected by TCP may be the smart device for you. The system installs quickly and can be used to remotely control the lights in your home. Rather than having lights set on a timer that automatically turn your lights on and off at the same time each day, lights on the Connected system come on and go off exactly when you need them to. You won’t have to worry about coming home to a dark entryway or about leaving all the lights on when you’re away. You can even use Connected to dim lights.

Fortrezz Wireless Z-Wave Water Valve

If you spend a lot of time away from home or just have a home that is prone to leaks, then the Fortrezz Wireless Z-Wave could be a big money saver for you. No one wants to come home to a flooded basement or a leaky faucet. As ConsumerReports points out, “you want to know whenever anything springs a water leak before it damages flooring, wiring, or furniture below.” The Fortrezz device can be installed by a certified plumber and can be connected to the water supply of any home. If the system detects a leak it shuts off the water supply and sends an alert to your smart device.

Nest

Thermostats have come a long way since the old wall dials that had to be manually bumped up or down to reach your desired temperature. These days, thermostats can be pre-set to follow a specific heating and cooling pattern. Nest, however, takes things to a whole other level. Since the device is a learning thermostat, it adapts to your lifestyle and surroundings after a week or so of use. That first week you teach it when you want the heat up, when you want it down, and when you are away. After that, it works with your routine. You can also make adjustments to the routine from your smartphone. In addition, Nest has alerts built in in case it senses that your home is becoming unusually cold or hot due to an issue. You can purchase additional devices as well, such as the Nest Cam to work with Nest while you are away from home.

HomeSeer

HomeSeer is a device that pretty much does it all. It controls temperature, monitors door locks, takes care of lights, sprinklers, security, garage doors, home theatre systems, and a lot more. The system can also alert you about emergencies in your area. All of these aspects can be monitored and controlled from your smart device and it’s compatible with a wide range of devices. Due to its broad capabilities, HomeSeer can take a while to get used to. As TopTenReviews says, “This system is relatively easy to use but it takes time to master.”

This is just a small sampling of what the world of smart home technology has to offer. As you can see, there is a device to suit practically every home automation need. Determine what your home needs are, do your research, and you’re sure to find the ideal system for your lifestyle.

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