Home Automation Products are Worth Looking Into to Help Around the House

For the past several years home automation has been catching on.  Up to this point though, it has been too expensive and complex.  But we are reaching the time where it is becoming easier to implement and more affordable.

If you haven’t heard of many of the home automation products, it is worth looking into.  They make life easier in a lot of aspects.

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Nest

For instance, one of the most popular products recently is the thermostat called Nest.  Nest connects to the internet, allowing users to adjust temperature settings from their phone and computer, while also receiving monthly reports and updates.  But what is really interesting about Nest is that it reads your patterns, and adjusts the temperature accordingly.  It will learn when you go to sleep, and conserve energy at night, while bringing the temperature to a comfortable level before you wake up.  You just have to set your temperature normally for several weeks, and it will start taking the rest from there.

They also recently came out with a product called Nest Protect.  This is a smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector.  It will alert you when the battery is going low, so you don’t have to get the dreaded beeping alarm in the middle of the night.  It will send you alerts if it senses problems, and you can silence it with a wave if it goes off falsely.

 Smart Locks

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Another interesting set of products is smart locks.  There are several of them out there, with August Smart Lock, and Goji Smart Lock being two of the big ones.  They basically allow you to unlock/lock your doors from your phone.  But the interesting thing is that they can sense your presence when you come near, and automatically unlock your door, saving you from having to find your keys or put items down if your hands are full.

One cool feature that Goji implements is the ability to take pictures of people that come to the door and send it to your phone.  This helps for security, but it also allows you to unlock the door for friends and family when you aren’t nearby.

While most of the options are pretty expensive at the time being, they should become more affordable as more competition enters the market, and people become aware of them.

Other Cool Options

belkin-wemo-xlThere are a lot of other good options for home automation.  The Belkin WeMo line of products has automation for lights and outlets.  You can set up sensors for lights to turn on when you walk into the room.  And, you can control items that are plugged in on the outlets to be controlled by a timer, phone, or schedule.

Other things you can do around the house are…..

– Set your coffee or tea maker to have a fresh brew ready when you wake up in the morning.
– Open your blinds during the day when it is hot, and close them at night.
– Feed your pets on a schedule for a predetermined amount.
– Control your garage door from your phone.
– Water your yard or garden automatically on a schedule.

If you look around at the products that are available, you will see that you can get as complex as you would like.  I think we are entering an interesting time with some great products coming out.

Google’s Products Continue to Impress

There are very few companies that continue to impress me like Google has.  They are constantly innovating and improving their products day after day, month after month, and year after year.  It is no wonder that they continue to dominate the search engine market with 65% of all searches conducted.

If you haven’t checked out their product line, click here to browse through their services.

Their products are simple, easy to use, and powerful.  Majority of them are free, and the beauty is that most of them can sync together with one another.

Here are a couple of products that I use on a daily basis:

Gmail

I doubt there is another free e-mail service that can top google’s gmail.

Google Voice

My main phone number is now my google voice number.  I have all of my contacts stored online (and in Gmail) in case I ever lose my phone.  I can transfer calls to any phone I want, so I am not always tied to my cell phone.  Each voicemail is transcribed and written in text for me. Every conversation, text, and voicemail is stored online and I can search through them with Google’s powerful search.  On top of that, I can have personalized voicemails for each person and I can text people through my computer (even take calls on my computer) instead of my phone.

Google Calender

Great calendar that sends notifications to my phone and lets me collaborate events with others.

Google Drive

This is one of the latest products of Google, and I imagine I am going to use it a LOT.  It is Google’s version of a hard drive, but yet your files are stored online so that you can access them from any computer/phone you want.

Recently my mom’s computer broke down and she nearly lost all of her files that she had accumulated over years.  Many of these were hundreds of pages of documents that she had crafted, and it was one of the most desperate feelings to see all that work disappear.  Nowadays we store everything on Google Drive just in case something like that happens again.  Many people are eery of online backups, but I would trust Google’s servers anyday over our own computers.

Google +

Google + is similar to Facebook and Twitter, but it is far more than just a social networking platform.  It is a way to combine many of your google products into one.  I love my google + profile, and actually have all of my Facebook and Twitter feeds going through Google +.  It is a nice place to do searches and chat with others around the country that are talking about the same subjects as me.

Many More

Other great products that are used on a consistent basis are Google Maps, Google Reader, Picasa Web Albums, and more.  They are truly coming out with products all the time that are moving technology forward.

Photo Credit: “Google” by Carlos Luna on Flickr.  CC Licensed.