When we received an invite from Best Buy for an event showcasing what’s available today in building a smart home tech, we thought we’d be walking into a showroom full of products. Instead, when we arrived at the address in Leslieville, we found ourselves at the steps of a townhouse. What better way to learn about what life in a smart home would be like, than to experience it first hand.
Imagine this – you’re coming home from a long day at work, and you approach you garage. You open it with the wifi enabled Chamberlain MyQ Garage, controlled by the accompanying app on your smartphone. You can now open and close your garage from anywhere, and more importantly, you can do so safely, with the included door sensors. You now have the peace of mind that you haven’t left the garage door open when you’ve left for work or gone on vacation.
Heading to your front door, your front yard is beautifully lit with Playbulb Garden lights. They’ve been charging all day using the sun’s energy, and have already turned because the sun has gone down. They’re set to the colour you chose previously in the app.
Once you get to your front door, it automatically unlocks, as it’s outfitted with the August Smart Lock. It recognized that you’re nearby and unlocked the door for you. Your alarm system disarms automatically and the surveillance cameras go into privacy mode. This is especially convenient when your hands are full.
Your Nest thermostat changes to the right temperature, having learned your preferences through the adjustments you’ve made over time. Your Philips Hue lights turn on to your programmed scene’s brightness and colour to set the right mood.
While you’re in the house, a whole host of sensors come on to measure air quality and humidity. You’re making dinner and step away for a few minutes. One of the dishes you’re cooking for dinner is burning! You get notified on your phone and/or wearable device that air quality has gone down. Your Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector sends out an audible warning, the Philips Hue lights blink red, and the Nest thermostat turns off the fans, to reduce the chance of any fire spreading. The nearest camera turns on and starts recording. You’ll be able to play back the recorded video later to see what happened while you were away.
You finish dinner and set your lights to a more relaxing scene. You check the humidity readings recorded by your sensors and notice they’re trending up. You check the weather forecast as a result and sure enough, rain is coming tomorrow. You check the watering schedule of your Rachio Smart Wifi Sprinkler and it has automatically adjusted itself based on the rainy forecast. Your plants will get the water they need, and you save water, and some money, in the process.
During the night, your activate your security system. It’s smart enough to know you’re in the house so it’s in privacy mode, not recording any footage of your movements. You go to sleep knowing that your family and home are safe and secure. This is just a sampling of the conveniences, efficiencies, thoughtfulness, and safety offered by today’s smart home devices. There are many options out there depending on the your home’s particular needs.
For security in particular, there are a plethora of products available. If you require monitoring the outdoors, you might consider Netgear Arlo’s weatherproof cameras. If you want door and window sensors, built-in backups during a power outage, and the convenience of a fob, the MyFox security system has these. If you want two way camera communications, motion and sound detection, and a 180 degree field of view, the Piper security system might be for you. If you want something more discreet, and offers sensors that monitor the air quality and humidity, you can opt for the Canary All-In-One Security wireless camera. These are only a few of what I consider to be standout features of these systems, though there are definitely some overlaps in their feature sets. So if you’re considering one of these for your home, it’s important to do your research to find the system that best suits your specific needs; one of these is bound to satisfy.
Many of the gadgets we saw also communicate with each other and work together as part of an integrated ecosystem, such as the products offering compatibility with Works with Nest. Some of them can also be voice controlled (those labelled with Works with Apple HomeKit), or triggered by some other means through apps like IFTTT, providing even more usefulness and configurability. The home of the future is smart, convenient, safe, and thoughtful, and it’s here. Head on to your local Best Buy to find out more about the latest smart home technology.
Photos by James Shay and Nick Lee