Top Smart Home Technology Gift Ideas
Wireless Home Theater & Music Devices
When homeowners are looking for that first, or next, smart home project for your home, most default to security, monitoring, automation, or environmental controls. Wireless music and wireless surround sound, however, is one of the easiest additions to your smart home configuration. With the right products, you can also enjoy the benefits of leveraging that product for automation or even interface with other smart home technologies that already exist in your home. Adding wireless music or surround sound component(s) to your device spectrum is one of the easiest additions to make, involve almost no effort to install, and is one of the lowest in regards to cost. In fact, with the right choice in product lines, you can buy each of the components over time, easily incorporating each new component into your home effortlessly, thus spreading your cost for these additions over time.
Music is an essential aspect for all smart homes. Music allows you to enjoy your environment, and to change your environment in accordance with your mood. Music also allows you to entertain your guests, whose tastes may also vary. However, does music need to be the only feature offered when you’re buying wireless music or surround sound components for your home? Many of these new components offer voice activated features, both for themselves and for other smart home devices in your home, and offer smart phone or tablet interface controls. Imagine the ability to turn on or off other smart home devices in your home with a single voice command!
Smart home feature planning is also important. You want to add devices which have features that integrate into your current configuration, or which offers integrations for future additions. You want a technology choice which offers you maximum utilization, ensuring that you are only buying features that you will use and enjoy, and that it’s easy for you to configure and customize for use. The last thing a smart home owner wants is a bunch of technology features that they paid for, but don’t or cannot use. You also want the ability to customize your smart home technology choices for each member of your household. Wireless surround sound and wireless music tech also make the best Christmas gift ideas or birthday gift ideas for anyone looking to expand their smart home features.
Top Smart Home Tech of 2018
Xbox One X & PS4 Gaming Consoles
One of the most unknown smart home technology components, whose values are truly beginning to be discovered in regards to smart features and versatility, are gaming consoles. That’s right, the gaming console is beginning to be one of the most common smart home features being added to people’s multimedia center configurations. This is because they are no longer just configured for playing video games. Today, you can use them as a Multimedia Center, storing and streaming music and movies in HD and 4K. The gaming consoles of today also respond to voice commands, and can be configured to turn on connected devices such as your stereo receiver and television whenever it powers on. It seems that each and every newer model of gaming console is adding more features and more capabilities for them to replace other multimedia components. You can already use them to log into your television service provider account to configure them with your channel line-up so you can watch TV via the gaming console without the use of a channel box. So, who knows what future capabilities they may choose to incorporate.
Imagine walking into a room, uttering one statement, and then having your TV, gaming console, and stereo receiver all turn on and open to your television service provider channel lineup. Or, instead of a television service provider, throw in your 4th Generation Apple TV 4K with the voice command remote control interface option, and you’ll barely touch a remote control at all. You’ll be able to use voice commands to start streaming from Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime, and will only have to user the Apple TV Remote to adjust volume to your stereo receiver, or you smart phone app to adjust volume to your wireless home theater surround sound system. Both the Sony PS4 and Xbox One X can see media that is stored on connected devices or computers with multimedia which reside on the same network. They are enhancing this feature, allowing these consoles to access and play media within your home, and you will only see this expand in future models.
For now, you can add on USB storage devices to gaming consoles, allowing you to expand their capable storage beyond what they come configured with their internal drives. This is great for gamers, as they can store their games digitally instead of having to insert a new disk every time they want to play a new game. It also makes playing network stored music and video files much easier, allowing you to manage your media libraries and access them more effectively from your gaming consoles in your home. They are adding more smart features and making them more smart home compatible, which is what matters most to us smart home technology driven homeowners.
Gift Idea #2: Xbox One X - 1TB Console (4K Enabled)
Improving upon a Smart Home, and its growing list of smart features and components, requires a strong communication network. All smart home components require a secure, fast, and reliable home network with high speed internet access. All smart home control applications and interfaces utilize network communications for device management and updates, and sometimes as well as inter-device communications. Whether its your Iris Hub, your Nest components, your Sonos stereo components, or your Gaming Console, you must have a network router than can handle the load you place upon it.
You must take into account that you will be adding a lot of smart home technology components onto your network, each transmitting data across the network, with you already having a significant amount internet devices connected to your network. More and more products are being sold, by default, which require being internet enabled. It's almost standard that Smart TV’s that are sold everywhere require an internet connection for their software updates. Throw in your laptop, desktop, cell phones, tablets, and other network enabled devices, and the importance of having a powerful networking device, with multiple channel types or subnets to better allow for device segregation, becomes extremely critical. You may even need more than one router in the home, depending upon its size or the number of network enabled devices in your home. Either way, you want to ensure that they are fast, safe, and secure.
Gift Idea #3: Linksys WRT32XB WiFi Gaming Router
Smart Home Tech News, Reviews, & Gift Ideas
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Smart Home Technology News & Reviews
Top Smart Home Features by Category
1. Home Security
Home security is one of the most popular categories in regards to smart home technology. Having the peace of mind that no one can enter your home without your permission, and that you and the police get notified if they do, eliminates a lot of grey hears from stress and worry. They can also act as a deterrent because you can get notified if someone is at your front door, have a camera view of the front door, and can even talk to the intruder while they're trying to break in. Almost 100% of the time, a verbal warning to a criminal that the police are on their way will result in them fleeing.
Their features are diverse, but each one offers significant value:
- Getting notification whenever your alarm is disabled, enabled, or alarming.
- Having remote control over locking and unlocking of your door locks.
- Knowing which doors or windows are opened.
- Knowing when a safe door is opened.
- Getting notification if someone moves one of your gun cases.
The possibilities are endless in regards to the level and scope of smart home technologies you can implement which offer home security features. They vary from external security of the home, internal security of the home, and notification of proper authorities depending upon the emergency.
2. Environmental Controls
Environmental controls are the next most popular category in regards to smart home technology. These features vary from temperature control, humidity control, aromatherapy control, lighting, and even music. Having smart home devices which know when people are home, even which particular person is home, and adjusting the environment of the house (even individual rooms) when people are home or away, is extremely important for homeowners who want to utilize smart home technologies.
The advantages for environmental controls are higher than most people realize:
- Ensuring climate is enjoyable when homeowner enters the home.
- Saving homeowners money on heating and cooling.
- Saving money on energy expenditure on electricity.
- They increase enjoyment of the home space.
- They save time on not having to adjust environmental controls.
Their economical values are measurable and are consistently providing that value, and their convenience are also highly notable from customer feedback. Being able to come home and having the home adjusting heating and cooling to what you like, while adjusting that temperature to consume less energy while you're gone, offers a convenience value that smart thermostat owners are continuously raving about.
3. Home Monitoring / Surveillance
Some people associate home monitoring and surveillance with home security. However, this is not true. Home monitoring and surveillance can be external to the home, and can be used to help the police AFTER a home invasion or criminal act takes place. However, they can also be used within the home. They offer the ability for you to track the activity of persons who are outside of the home, and of persons who are within your home that are there with your permission. It also involves monitoring things such as fire and flooding, giving you and the fire department proper notification if there is an alert.
Monitoring features are extremely valuable to homeowners:
- Monitor smoke levels within the home.
- Monitor carbon monoxide levels within the home.
- Monitor when household members come home and leave.
- Monitor video surveillance of external areas, doors, and traffic areas in the home.
- Monitor flooding or high levels of water moisture in the home.
Some of these monitoring features may simply offer you direct notification from your smart device or related service of specific activities. Others, such as smoke detectors, may offer the ability to notify the fire department. Combining services, such as placing cameras watching areas where you have moisture detectors, will help you to validate if there is a flooding problem in your home or not - or maybe a steam leak from your water heater. Having notification of when household members are home, with their personal key fobs, will help you to know who you need to contact should there ever be a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm - or if your alarm system is somehow triggered while they're home. A lot of smart home devices may sense when family members are in the vicinity whenever their cell phones are able to communicate with the device(s) as well. This also allows some home automation devices to configure themselves properly in accordance to who's home, which we'll cover momentarily. All in all, monitoring services offer significant value when you are assessing the overlapping of your smart home features.
4. Home Automation
Home automation smart home devices perform functions automatically that you would normally have to perform yourself. They allow for the automatic configuration of your home's environment whenever needed, and some of their programming can be altered or adjusted according to the season or which family member happens to be there. Home automation devices free up time from you having to make adjustments or changes to your environment, by allowing specific things to occur at specific times of the day or by where you are physically in relation to the home or a specific room. This can be anything, such as turning on lights in a room when you walk in, or adjusting the thermostat whenever you arrive home, turning outside lights on and off, turning holiday lights on and off, playing music whenever you walk into a room, etc.
Some of these automated features include:
- Motion sensors to turn on lights or music in a room.
- Lighting schedules for smart switches and plug adapters.
- Turning on of a space heater in a bathroom whenever you walk in.
- Remote control of lights in the home.
- Remote control of garage door
Each of these devices offer an automated feature that allows the home owner to know that they won't have to perform a specific activity and still achieve a desirable outcome. They equate to becoming time savers, and even energy savers, as they will automatically shut power off to items whenever there is no motion within the room, or will adjust the atmosphere to save power whenever no one is home. It also allows you to open your garage door from your smart phone, in case you forgot to close it or need to allow your sprinkler maintenance man in to do maintenance on your control unit. You can also have remote control of lights, allowing you to turn lights on and off in the home in case you forgot to shut them off or if you wish to make it look as if someone is home.
5. Home Entertainment
Home entertainment components with smart home features are the latest and greatest addition to the spectrum of smart home products homeowners can enjoy. You can use voice commands to play music, power on your television and home theater system, order items on Amazon, search the internet for information, and even control other smart home devices! All in all, this is the most fun group to buy smart home devices from, as it includes the Xbox One X and the PS4 within its product list.
- Play music on demand from your favorite online music streaming services.
- Use voice commands to turn on your television and stereo system.
- Use voice commands to turn on your gaming console.
- Use voice commands to turn on your music.
- Use voice commands to stream your favorite movies.
Nothing says "smart home" like walking into your home and using a voice command to turn on some entertainment for yourself and your guests. It shows that you are at the next level when it comes to managing technology within your home, and that you are highly adept at maintaining and optimizing your smart home for maximum utility. It is guaranteed that newcomers within your home will be asking you questions about these devices, allowing you to show off your accumulated knowledge and prowess upon the subject.
Top Smart Home Purchases
What Were Your Top Smart Home Device Purchases of 2018?
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