Even in stressful years – and the last couple certainly have been – most of us can find something, if not quite a lot, to be thankful for. If you’ve managed to keep your job, if you and your loved ones have stayed safe and healthy, and if you have a comfortable home in which to live and work, then you will likely have no trouble coming up with blessings to reflect upon during this Thanksgiving season.
With recent economic recovery, many people are even seeing better job opportunities, extra cash in their pocket, and a general trend of hopeful positivity. You’ve been resilient, you’ve weathered the storm, and now you’re starting to think about how to build an even brighter future for yourself and your family. Your new normal may involve more time at home or, conversely, you might be taking advantage of things opening up to spend more time having family adventures you weren’t able to enjoy in 2020. In either case, if you’re thinking about upgrading your life for a fulfilling 2022, we also recommend upgrading your home to keep up with you.
Smart Homes Are Integral to “The New Normal”
Many people, when they think of smart home animation, picture some futuristic sci-fi setup akin to Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Iron Man franchise. While we have to admit that having a personalized AI and superhero grade armor would be pretty cool, we’re not in the MCU. Most smart home systems are much simpler and user-friendly, but no less useful for the average person (and, thankfully, don’t require Stark’s billionaire status to fund). They’re also scalable – you can start small with just one or two modules to automate your thermostat, front door, etc. and slowly add to it over time. The best system is the one that grows with you!
Read on for four key smart home solutions that will add efficiency and peace of mind to your modern, “new normal” routine!
Smart Home Solution #1: Smart Locks
Smart locks have become quite popular for folks looking to automate their homes. They eliminate the worry of losing or forgetting keys. Generally, they can be unlocked using a keypad (although many have a traditional key slot for the old school members of your family).
In addition to the convenience of not having to carry keys, smart locks have a critical feature that makes them desirable to even the most skeptical: temporary guest passes. You can grant guests a code separate from the one that you use to enter your home – and better yet, one that expires at a predetermined time. This gives you ultimate control over who is entering your house and when, all without having to give others copies of your keys or your code. The use of separate codes also means you can log into your connected app and know who is entering your home and when. You can even connect these locks to indoor cameras to virtually be “present” when the door opens – particularly helpful for deliveries and dog walkers.
Of course, indoor cameras aren’t the only option…
Smart Home Solution #2: Video Doorbells
There are so many reasons to have a video doorbell. If safety is your biggest concern, it allows you to see who’s at the door before answering, without that awkward process of sneaking up to the door to check through the peephole. (It’s 2021. You can do it on your phone.) If you’re more interested in just being aware of what’s happening throughout the day while you’re at work, it’s nice to get a notification when someone rings your doorbell and be able to virtually “answer” – tell the deliveryman to just leave the package on the steps, say hi to your kid when they come home from school, etc. And yes, in case you didn’t know – you can talk to people through the doorbell’s speaker!
Since we are quickly approaching the holiday season, that means package deliveries (and thefts) are on the rise. However, having a video doorbell that activates when it senses motion on your porch will deter thieves (who will be more than a little unsettled to realize they’re on camera). These hyper-intelligent devices can differentiate between humans and animals, so you’ll get the notification about the person standing on your porch at 2pm, but not the raccoon skittering across your lawn at 2am.
Smart Home Solution #3: Garage Controller
What’s wrong with those old school garage door openers, you may ask? Well, nothing in particular…unless you lose them, or they break, or they get stolen, or someone hacks the code. And while we recommend always locking your cars and the door connecting your garage and home, many people leave them unsecured, which means a burglar who is able to get into the garage has access to pretty much everything.
That’s where a smart garage controller comes in. Like a smart lock, it can be operated by keypad but it also connects to an app, which means you can control it with your phone/tablet/watch/etc. You can grant access to other members of your household or trusted friends and relatives, and of course, you can grant temporary access. One situation where this comes in handy is when you want to secure your deliveries against porch pirates. If your controller comes with a camera, you can watch while you give the delivery worker temporary access to place your package(s) in the garage and ensure everything is locked up after they leave. Now that is what we call peace of mind!
Smart Home Solution #4: Lamp Module
Okay, this is where things get really fancy. No clapping required. Hook up a smart lamp module to your lights and you can turn on and off the lights using an app on your phone! Since automation is the name of the game, set schedules based on your usual activity so that the lights can automatically turn on for loved ones coming home late at night, and then turn off not long after their arrival. If you are one of the many people who find it easier to fall asleep with a light on, but you also want to save electricity, program the smart light in your bedroom to dim over time.
Other uses include having the lights switch on when you enter your home to avoid the usual awkward stumble in the dark hallway or turning your living room into a relaxing decompression zone with relaxing, colorful lights that change along with the chill music you set on your smart speaker. (Another cool feature we’ll save for a different day…)
In this fast-paced world where we’re working full time at home one minute and shuttling kids to their respective after-school activities the next, we need our homes to be smart enough to keep up with us and adapt to our needs as they constantly change. Achieving home automation can be simple and more than doable with the right products and professionals monitoring them. To learn more about how to upgrade your home to be secure AND efficient, give us a call at 615-422-5276!