All about Smart Homes and Living the Jetsons’ Way
The Jetsons’-style homecoming starts before you even hit the welcome mat. Whether you’re coming in the front door or through the garage, a few smart gadgets can make your life easier.
Smart Doorbell Technology
With a smart doorbell, your phone’s screen shows you who’s at the door, be it the UPS driver or the neighbor. Not only can you talk to visitors when you’re not home, thanks to a fish-eye lens you can even check for packages at the door. Many smart doorbells require existing doorbell wiring so when you’re building a new home don’t forget to have the Builder add the wiring.
Smart Deadbolt Technology
The right smart lock can be a game changer, letting you open the door without fumbling for your keys. Some unlock automatically as you arrive home; others unlock via a code or the touch of your finger. You can also create temporary codes to allow your dog walker or mother-n-law in when you aren’t there. These smart locks work well on doors you frequently enter, like the door from the garage to the house.
In the 70's and 80’s the remote-control garage door opener was the gateway to smart home technology. Now you can open the garage from your phone, whether you’re in the kitchen or miles away. You can even allow delivery drivers to put packages in your garage. Most importantly these smart openers alert you when the doors have been opened by someone else. If you are the forgetful type, or just want peace of mind knowing the garage door is closed, these smart operators are a great piece of tech to have.
TV / Sound Bar
People tend to huddle around the television, so there is a lot of need for smart gadgets here. Smart TV’s are now widely available; you can augment their features with a few other gizmos to create a perfect movie night. For example, streaming set-top boxes such as standalone streaming boxes like Apple TV are usually better than the smart software built into your TV. They’re often faster and easier to navigate, and they continually get software updates for increased efficiency. A streaming box can enhance your TV watching experience, especially if your TV’s smart system is slow and clunky, which is often the case with older or lower cost sets.
As TV’s have gotten thinner and lighter, their speakers have gotten smaller, making it harder to hear. A soundbar is a compact speaker that raises volume, sharpens sounds, and creates a more immersive action scene. After you try a soundbar, you’ll never go back to relying solely on TV speakers. The clearer dialog alone makes this a must-have.
If you’re constantly adjusting the blinds to keep the sun from shining in your eyes, motorized shades might be worthwhile. You can set them to open and close on a schedule or control them with your voice using Alexa or Google Assistant. You can even create a single voice command to turn on the TV and lower the blinds at the same time. Having your Builder install smart shades in your new home is money well spent. In Bloomfield homes, the motorized shades work seamlessly with the Lutron smart home technology.
It’s been over thirty years since the first automatic, hands-free lavatory faucets appeared. They were primarily used in public buildings and airports. Originally it wasn’t about a positive user experience but rather a new tool created to minimize water and energy loss from valves all too often left open. In the early 2000’s several plumbing manufacturers brought that same technology to the home. Today you can see them everywhere and the technology is greatly improved. About five years ago Amazon and Google permanently changed the game by bringing voice activation to a number of devices. In addition to asking Alexa to play “Hymn for the Weekend” by Coldplay, we can also ask it to turn on lights, lock doors, and close the shades. In recent months that voice-activation control has even extended to kitchen faucets. Acceptance and adoption of touchless, handsfree and even voice-controlled faucets has grown rapidly. Current events like the Covid-19 has certainly raised awareness of how messy the space can be around the sinks in bathrooms and kitchens. We are all paying more attention to hand washing making these touchless products even more essential to everyday life.
You can turn on the faucet with a wave of the hand, or use voice commands like “Alexa, wash my hands” helping you wash your hands without spreading germs to the hardware. You can also use your voice to dispense a certain amount of water, so you can fill a pot without waiting at the sink as well as control the temperature.
With a smart thermostat, you can set a daily schedule with just a few taps. Some models can even learn your habits and adjust themselves when you’re out of the house. We at Bloomfield Construction use wireless smart thermostats in our homes. If you’re picky about your thermostat schedule, a smart model is absolutely worth it.
WiFi Connected Toilet
Many WiFi connected toilets have smart features like warming functions, automatic lids, self-flushing, and bidets. Once you’ve used a high-end bidet, you’ll likely never want to go without one or have a need for hoarding toilet paper. Bloomfield Construction homes come with smart toilet bidet combinations in both the his and her master bathrooms, with options available for other baths.
The bottom line is: You should ask your builder to “wire your home right”. Currently, there are two ethernet cable options available; Cat5e or Cat6. Cat6 cabling will get you faster speeds long into the future.
Gadgets are only as good as your WIFI signal. The more smart devices you have, the more robust your WIFI signal needs to be. Keep your router out in the open, away from any obstructions.
If you would like to know more in-depth information on any of these smart home options check out the article by “Whitson Gordon” that can be found in the July issue of RealSimple.com Click here to see the full article
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