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Is your home smarter than a 5th Grader?

Our kids are growing up in a different world than we ever imagined.

In Indianapolis, most of our 5th graders are now required to do research and homework on school-issued tablets. It makes sense to them that their smartphones and tablets should link together and function as a control to other electronics. That is the idea behind the smart home – connecting electronics communication.

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Now, there are a whole host of products out there that have added functionality to the fun and novelty.

The “Smart” home is a trend that has quickly gone from luxury to standard. Most products fall into at least one of three categories: practical and functional use, lifestyle and entertainment, or safety and security.

Most of these products work on a shared platform so you can start with one product and add additional features as time and budget allow.

Practical & Functional use

Thermostat – A new generation of thermostats, like the Lyric Round or Nest, claim to lower your heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent by learning your heating and cooling preferences. Controlled by a smartphone and programmed to learn a homeowner’s daily routine. The Lyric thermostat will works with the Apple HomeKit and can recognize when you have entered your home and offer to adjust the temperature accordingly. It also has sensors that keep track of whether a home is empty, and it can use less energy while no one is there.

Lights – Automating your indoor lighting can have some energy cost savings, but more importantly lighting can be used for security. Take it a step further and create an ambiance that matches your mood with a brand like Philips Hue.

Blinds – You can install controls on your window shades to help with both security and energy savings. Help keep your home more secure by lowering and raising the curtains in a schedule can make it seem like you’re still there. An Energy-Saving mode can adjust shades according to sun activity, either allow sun in to warm or close them to keep in the cool. A product like Smart Shades even retrofit to your existing window shades.

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Television – TVs have gone from 720 to 1080 to 4K high definition with images four times clearer than standard definition TVs. Smart TVs also allow users to surf the Internet, browse Netflix, check social media and play videos. Many streaming devices like AppleTV, Amazon Fire and Roku all have apps that let you use your phone or tablet as the television remote control.
Whole Home Control – Don’t feel like keeping a phone by your side at all times in your home, then try a product like Google Home, Amazon Echo or Ivee that lets you connect and control all your smart devices to work with just the sound of your voice command.

Safety & Security

Security – Alarm systems come with window sensors, door sensors, motion detectors and cameras that can all be connected wirelessly. You can use a full-service security company or services like Canary that allow amazing flexibility and motion-activated video you control from your phone. Receive notifications when doors have been opened, the alarm has been set or disarmed, just about any activity in your home. You can even have stream video of your home to your smartphone, tablet or computer—anywhere and anytime.

Smoke and CO alarm – A Onelink or Nest Protect speaks up if there’s smoke or carbon monoxide and tells you where it is, so you know what to do. It also sends notifications to your phone so you can know right away if there is a problem, no matter where you are. It’s also the first home alarm you can hush from your phone without any extra hardware required.

Locks – Tired of carrying that bulky keychain or trusting your kids not to lose their keys? With August or Kevo by Kwikset you can ditch the house keys. These locks use Bluetooth technology and your smartphone as a virtual key. You can also lock and unlock the door remotely.

Garage door – Remote controlled garage door openers are nothing new, but the level of control now is far greater than ever before. With the help of an Chamberlain’s MyQ Garage Door Opener, not only can your smartphone replace your garage’s remote control, but you’ll also get reminders when you’ve left the door open, manage who has garage access, receive texts whenever the door is used, and even monitor the garage via a video stream.

So, we now live in a world where our refrigerators can send us images from inside while we’re at the grocery store. There are new technologies emerging everyday. If you are interested in upgrading your home to a “smart” home you can ask a 5th grader or call Mister Quik for more options.