Simple Ways to Make Your Home Smarter

The Internet of Things is revolutionizing the way that we interact with our homes. Today’s connected technologies make it possible to transform what would otherwise be a normal house into a “smart” home. And this allows anyone to create the home of the future they have long dreamed of. From Batman and The Jetsons to Buster Keaton’s Electric House, the so-called “smart” home has long been a staple of the cultural imagination. And now, it’s finally here. Here are some simple ways to make your home smarter. You may be surprised at how easy (and even affordable) it is.

Home Automation Systems

One of the best ways to transform you home – and the way you live your life – is through home automation products. Home automation systems make it easy to control everything in your home with the click of a button (or the tap of a touch screen), and can give you peace of mind when you’re away from home. A home automation system from ADT, for example, makes it possible to remotely control the temperature (using a smart thermostat, like one from Nest), lock or unlock your doors, turn appliances on and off, and more. You’ll never think twice about whether you locked up – because that information is right at your fingertips, whenever you need it. A truly smart home is an automated home, and that starts with a comprehensive home automation system.

Smart Refrigerators

Smart refrigerators, like the Family Hub by Samsung, are designed to fit into our new digital lifestyles. With a massive touchscreen prominently affixed to the front of the refrigerator, the Family Hub, and others like it, make it easy to listen to music, watch videos, keep a calendar, view the contents of the refrigerator while away (perfect for seeing what’s needed when you’re at the grocery store), display family photos, check social media, and more. Put simply, smart refrigerators bring our digital lives into what is arguably the home’s most popular room: the kitchen.

Smart Washing Machines

Who hasn’t put a load of laundry into the machine with every intention of starting it later, and then forgetting? Well, with a smart washing machine, you can start your wash remotely when you finally have that Eureka! moment later in the day. Simply start and monitor the wash directly from your smartphone. Machines like the Smart ThinQ by LG make that a possibility. And the machine’s connectivity provides numerous other benefits. You can download new, more efficient wash cycles; input custom washes for specific washing needs (like deep stains, for example); and receive notifications when your wash is complete.

IKAWA: The Digital Coffee Maker

Some smart solutions are smaller than others. The IKAWA digital coffee roaster certainly won’t be for everyone, but for those of you who take your coffee seriously, this forthcoming coffee maker will be a must-have. Small and easily integrated into your kitchen, the IKAWA allows you to roast your own coffee beans, just like a professional. For the farm-to-table crowd who demands the freshest ingredients possible, there may be no better or more cost-effective way to make your own coffee. Plus, it’s a “smart” coffee roaster; you can share your roasting recipes and manage your roasts with the IKAWA smartphone app.

Planty: The Connected Plant Pot

The Planty connected plant pot packs a lot of useful features into what might seem like an ordinary potted plant. Its digital sensors will provide recommendations on the correct light levels, humidity levels, temperature, and water levels, ensuring your plant has the best possible chance at success. For those of you who are potted plant enthusiasts, you probably know all too well the feeling of buying a new plant only to have it wither away a couple of months later. Planty is designed to prevent this from happening. With the Planty smartphone app, you can monitor and manage your plant, and in the process, ensure it never goes without water again.

PowerView: Fully Motorized Blinds

Of all the smart products listed in this article, PowerView motorized blinds might just give you the greatest sense of personal satisfaction. Why? Because being able to close your blinds with the touch of a button (or swipe of a finger) while comfortably seated on your couch is exactly the type of thing that we dream of when we watch television shows like The Jetsons. After all, isn’t the appeal of the smart house that it does all of our work for us? Well, motorized blinds do just that! Select a setting with the remote or via the app, and the blinds do the rest. What more do you need to know? Okay, you might also want to know that you can set schedules and create custom settings to personalize your experience. But really, all you need to know is that the blinds close themselves!

Samantha Rivers ()

Samantha Rivers is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!) and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, tech and career realm both online and print. When she’s not running the Upward Onward blog, she enjoys reading, finding new restaurants, being active outside, and indulging in a glass of wine or two.