house tech

SMART HOME AUTOMATION

Congratulations! If you are reading this blog post, you have survived the holidays! Gone are the stressful days of finding that perfect present for others and now you can look forward to playing with your new toys or finding something to buy with those gift cards…

…but what to buy? Fear not, for I have put together a list of the latest and greatest toys and gadgets to help you turn your house into the smart home from the Jetsons.

historical smart houses  

Technology in houses has been around for a while, at least in sketch form.

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A remote-controlled TV that spins? from vintageindustrialstyle.com 

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Dad can watch TV and watch his kid swim through the window. from Taschen’s All American Ads of the 60s

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Woah, a spaceship car and a fancy indoor pool? Are those PV solar panels on the roof? from ournostalgicmemories.blogspot.com 

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Everyone dreams of walk-through hot air dryers after getting out of the shower from gizmodo.com

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A house under glass so you can garden control your home’s temperature! from gizmodo.com 

As you can see, the concept of a smart home has been around for some time now, but the reason smart homes are not as common as they should be is due to two big problems: compatibility/integration (preparatory) and price.

smart houses now 

The good news is that technology prices are coming down and the different manufacturers who produce it are now allowing for greater compatibility with other devices. Without further ado, here is the list:

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Heating and Cooling: Nest – Learning Thermostat – 3rd Generation – Stainless Steel $249.99 

The Nest is one of the most talked about pieces in home-automated technology. This smart thermostat can help you save money by learning your home temperature trends and automatically changing the temperature of your home as needed. The Nest can connect to the Internet and make automatic adjustments based on the weather conditions. If you are away on vacation and the weather will be cold while you’re gone, you don’t have to worry about leaving your heat off and having your pipes freeze and burst. You can also set it up to automatically turn off the heat if it detects that no one is home.

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Fans: Big Ass Fans – Haiku L Series Ceiling Fan – $450.00  

We love Big Ass Fans here at WORKSHOP8 – Marcel even has two of them in his home. This fan is the full package – stylized and smart. The fan can even be paired with a Nest thermostat and automatically turn on and off depending on the temperature.

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Glass: Smart Tint – 36” x 24” – $359.40

During the cold winter days, you want southern exposure windows to bring in and trap all of the sun’s heat inside your home, but during the hot summer days, you want that heat to stay out. To help with this issue, we now have Smart Tint. Smart Tint is an easy-to-install clear film that is placed over your windows. At the press of the button, the film turns from clear to frosted, helping block the sun’s rays. You can use it for instant privacy in indoor applications as well. The tint can also be controlled via your smart phone and…you guessed it, it is compatible with Nest too.

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Windows: Truth Sentry II WLS power window system – $634.95

Here in Colorado, we have big temperature swings between our cold nights and warm days. We can take advantage of this change in temperatures by allowing the cold air from early in the morning to enter our home and keep that cold air trapped inside to carry us through the hot mid- day. Unfortunately, most of us are either still asleep or busy and away from home during that precise time when we would need to open or close the windows for this to work. 

With the Truth Sentry window system, the opening and closing of windows can be done remotely and automatically. Unfortunately, this system only works with certain type of windows; but every day, more window manufacturers are introducing similar solutions for their window lines.

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Doors: Kwikset’s Kevo Smart Lock – $159.99

So now that we can open and close windows remotely, what about the front door? With Kwikset Kevo smart lock, you can have your door automatically unlock as you approach it. The lock will also allow you to remotely unlock your door if you need to grant access to someone and you are away from home. The lock can be programmed to auto lock or unlock at certain times and can give you notifications when the door has been opened or left opened.

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Controls: Google Home – White/Slate fabric – $129.99

All of this technology can be overwhelming to learn and use. Luckily, with Google Home, everything can be controlled by simply using voice commands. Google Home is a speaker and microphone hub for your connected home. You can control all of your connected gadgets with it and can even ask it questions. Google Home will search the Internet and respond. Google Home also works with the Nest. Simply say, “Google, turn on the temperature to 80 degrees” and Google Home will send a signal to the Nest to turn on the heat.

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Sprinklers: Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller – $243.93

Colorado is a very dry state; therefore, water conservation is very important. When paired with Google Home, the Rachio smart sprinkler system can turn your sprinklers on automatically by just saying “Google, turn on the sprinklers.” The system is also smart enough to know not to turn on the sprinklers if it has rained recently. 

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Lawncare: Robomow – rs622 – $2,200.00

Close your eyes and pretend it is summer – your lawn is looking nice and healthy; however, thanks to the Rachio smart sprinklers, it is also looking a bit tall. You could say, “Google, add cutting grass to my weekend calendar” or you could say “Google, deploy Robomow!” Robomow makes automated lawn mowers. After you have programmed and set up your lawn perimeter, Robomow uses its blades to cut the grass into small mulch so that there is also no need to dump bags of grass.

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Vacuum: iRobot – Roomba 860 Robot Vacuum – Silver – $449.99

Now that Robomow has taken care of the lawn, you have time to take care of the floors inside or… you can have iRobot take care of that for you! This little automated vacuum has sensors to detect falls and obstacles and it will roam through your house cleaning your floors. The robot will automatically make its way back to it home charging port once done.

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Entertainment: Sonos PLAY – 1 Two-Room Starter Package – $339.98

Now that you have robots doing all of your chores, you can sit down and relax. If you have Sonos’ wireless speaker system, you can say, “Google, play my favorite songs” and your favorite music will fill your house. Sonos allows you to have the same or different sounds playing in different rooms of your house at the same or different volumes. The system can also be paired with your TV to give you the surround sound experience and it can all be controlled remotely from your phone or from Google Home.

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Lights: Philips hue – LED White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit (2nd Generation) – Multicolor $149.99

Now that your favorite songs are playing, you can set the mood with Hue color ambience lighting. Hue allows you to paint your walls with lights using your phone or voice commands when paired with Google Home. The lights can be programmed to automatically turn on when you arrive home and turn off when you are away. There is even a “light show” option that is controlled by the beat of the music that is playing.

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Fridge: Samsung – Family hub refrigerator – $3299.00

The only left thing to do now is to go to the fridge and grab a cold brew. If you have the Samsung family hub refrigerator, you can rest assured that there will be a cold beer waiting for you as this smart fridge has cameras inside which allow you to remotely monitor the contents inside and help to conserve energy. If you are running low on supplies, you can even use the 21.5” door mounted touch screen to order groceries, browse for recipes, or check out the calendar which can be synced with your smart phone.

Not quite how everyone imagined it in the retro illustrations!

THANKS FOR READING

Ivan Patino, Architectural Designer
28 December 2016