You don’t need to confine gadgets to your office or car. There are plenty of little high-tech helpers to use at home, finds Matthew Herbst
UP IN THE AIR
You come home to what has become a sauna and then blast your AC at its highest speed – which is the most inefficient and expensive way to cool your home. Instead, why not turn on the AC via an iOS or Android Wink app to gradually cool your home before you get there? You don’t even have to save your preferred temperature settings, as the Aros is able to automatically learn your habits and adjust itself accordingly. Now that is cool! amazon.com for RO95.8
Philips has made smart lighting accessible to every household with their Hue Lux range. These bulbs are LED lights that communicate over Wi-Fi to the Philips hub so you can control them with the accompanying app. On approaching your house you can turn your lights on and off and, while at home, adjust brightness. Create preset settings so that it also learns your behaviours. You can also set and control the lighting while you’re away on holiday so that your villa or apartment isn’t left in darkness. Available at amazon.co.uk for RO34.6
Cooking can be much easier and less time consuming with Belkin’s Crock-Pot, the first smartphone-controllable slow cooker. The WeMo iOS or Android app enables busy budding chefs to cook while they’re not actually in the kitchen (provided there’s food in the pot of course). Adjust the crock pot’s settings from anywhere, receive reminders, change the cooking time, adjust the cooking temperature, use the timer to calculate cooking times, or check the status of your dish so you can come home to a perfectly cooked meal. Now there really is no excuse for not cooking, even when you’re working late. Priced from RO49.6 at amazon.com
Instead of using fitness monitors to keep tabs on your sleeping patterns, how about having your actual bed do the work? The Sleep Number c2 Bed with Sleep IQ, monitors your breathing, heart rate and movement while you get your shut-eye. With that data, the smart bed is able to give you pointers on how to improve your sleep quality and enjoy longer snoozes. Your smart Sleep Number c2 Bed also comes with an adjustable mattress, allowing you and your partner to customise your individual sides of the bed for an even more comfortable night’s sleep. From RO384, check out sleepnumber.com for more information.
If you have an iPhone, then you’ll be familiar with Siri, your digital PA. Amazon has now introduced Echo into the smart automation market. A cylinder-shaped speaker, it can be placed anywhere in your home. This smart device can play music, tracks the news, tell you the weather, and even regale you with jokes when you’re having a bad day. Don’t be surprised if Amazon eventually uses a voice-command that enables items to be purchased directly from its site. Who knows, one day you may be able to control everything in your house just by speaking commands. Get the Echo at amazon.com for RO76
NEW: Kwikset 925 Kevo Single Cylinder Bluetooth Enabled Deadbolt
Most of us have done it at some point: lost our keys. Not only is it a task just getting in, but the thought of having to change locks can also be daunting. Thankfully, Kwikset’s bluetooth enabled deadbolt signals the end of such worries. With a mere touch of your finger you can lock and unlock what looks like an ordinary front door. Monitor comings and goings at your home remotely and receive activity alerts via the Kevo app. For those who still like the traditional way of unlocking a door, the lock can still be opened with a regular key. With virtual keys, though, you’ll never have to worry about being locked out again. Find out more from kwikset.com and get peace of mind starting from RO76
EDITOR’S PICK: MAKE SENSE
This is a super-cute way to keep track of your home and life. Based on a Russian doll, Sense Mother is a hub that collects information from motion cookies you place anywhere around the house or even on your body. The Hub works through an app, allowing the user to assign actions to the different cookies and begin tracking their data. Be a little different and put a cookie in your pocket for a makeshift pedometer, or place one on your door to receive notifications when someone enters or leaves your home. To get an overview of the data, there’s a Senseboard that allows users to check all of the activity from their cookies at once. read more at sen.se/store/mother Priced from RO115
APP OF THE WEEK: IN CONTROL
SmartThings isn’t just an app, but a kit to make your entire property a smart home in one easy step. Simply get going with a starter kit, which has all the necessary bits and pieces for ease, such as switches and plugs. Then download the SmartThings app to control everything you need to around the house, from switching on lights to locking doors. As your needs change, you can simply customise SmartThings or add more devices to create an even smarter home that reacts to your unique patterns. Last, but not least, the app doesn’t require any monthly fees or contracts, just an easy DIY set-up completed in as little as 15 minutes. Shop at smartthings.com for your preferred kit and app at a budget that suits you.