“Put down the remote and no one gets hurt.”
The voice comes from behind me.
“Guilty,” I say. No denying I have violated the restraining order certain family members who shall remain unnamed have placed against me. I am forbidden from operating the TV remotes. Whenever I do, the television and all its various components (again, why?) lurch into inoperable modes.
“I was just trying to turn off the TV since no one was watching,” I say.
“First of all, you were pointing with the wrong end of the remote. It goes this way,” says the voice. It’s no use. What happened to the days when you got up and turned the TV on and off with one knob?
Recognizing my limitations and my obligation to tell you about the latest smart home technology, I tap someone who knows way more than I do. I call my techno-trend-tracking friend and lifestyle expert Kathryn Emery.
“Smart home is definitely having its moment, and that trend will continue to elevate as people look for ways to make life more convenient at home with technology,” says Emery.
“But can a home be too smart?” I ask. “I mean do we really need to be able to turn our oven on and fire up the jacuzzi from the car?”
“That’s the question,” she says. “How do you cut through all the noise and decide what technology you should let into your home.”
Here are some smart-home advances you can geek out on:
- Always home security. Goodbye home security companies. Hello smart doorbells. Today, you can monitor who’s at your door, or creeping around your house, from your phone. Smart doorbell systems, like those from Ring, connect to your existing doorbell and alert you through an app when someone’s at your door. They have gotten even smarter with the addition of high-definition video. Now, in real time, you can see who’s there and talk to them. Meanwhile, motion detectors will trigger cameras at the door and around the house to capture video, which you can share with neighbors or police. “It’s neighborhood watch for the digital age,” said Emery.
- Nobody likes a drip. Anyone who’s had to mop up and pay up after a leak caused by a broken water pipe will appreciate Flo, a new water detection device that attaches to your main water line and can detect the smallest leak in a pipe long before you do. By monitoring your water pressure, the Flo Smart Home Monitoring System senses problems, including freezing pipes, and shuts off the main water line if needed.
- A light that changes with you. LifX bulbs are Wi-Fi-connected, LED smart lights that let you time your light levels and choose your hue from an array of colors to match your activity level and mood. Using an app, you can program the light to turn on with a low-level warm sunrise glow when you wake up, and grow gradually brighter as you get ready for work, turn on before you get home, stay bright while you cook, soften during dinner hour and set like the sun at bedtime.
- Need milk? The new Family Hub Refrigerator from Samsung has three built-in cameras that snap your fridge’s contents every time someone closes the door, so you can from see from your phone what’s in there. A Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen on the refrigerator door can tell you when food is expiring, call up recipes or just play your favorite tunes on Spotify or Pandora.
Though most of this is beyond me, I’m game for the video doorbell and maybe the lightbulb. But first, would some geek-nerd please invent an easy way to turn on the television?
Syndicated columnist Marni Jameson is the author of three home and lifestyle books, including “Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Let Go”. She can be reached at www.marnijameson.com.
Published at Wed, 10 Oct 2018 08:00:24 +0000