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LEE ANN BAUMER, ABR, SRS, CSA, Green, SRES

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Spend 2018 Integrating 'Smart' Technology Into Your Home

January 8, 2018 1:20 am

You don't have to have a brand new 'smart home' to enjoy the convenience, safety, and peace of mind that smart technology can deliver. The new year will present an exciting time for homeowners hoping to integrate the latest smart home tech in the form of gadgets and apps.

For example, one of 55gadgets.com's "Top 20 High Tech Best Must-Have Gadgets for 2018" is the smart video doorbell from dbell ($139) that enables you to check who is at the door from your smartphone.

You can monitor it from your tablet, PC or TV, and every time a visitor presses the doorbell, the wireless and WiFi connected dbell lets you answer the door from wherever you are.

Lauren Smith at Housebeautiful.com says the No. 1 item in her "Smart Home Tech Solutions For 2018" is the August Smart Lock ($139), which offers keyless access to your home with iOS and Android smartphones. And since it's battery-powered, it's always on.

Mike Prospero at tomsguide.com says his choices for "Best Smart Home Gadgets of 2018" include a simple and inexpensive way to make any device "smart." Control the power going to the TP-Link HS105 plug from your smartphone, wherever you are, for around $30.

Prospero likes that the TP-Link's Kasa app also lets you create a schedule to turn the plug on and off, and has an "Away" mode that will turn your devices on to make it look like you're home. It can also be linked to other smart home devices, such as Alexa and Google Home.

Eric Griffith and Alex Colon at PC Magazine weighed in, as well, reporting that for 2018, the new Ecobee4 has added built-in Amazon Alexa voice service capabilities to its temperature, humidity, motion, and proximity sensors ($250). That means the 'smart' thermostat can do everything the Amazon Echo and its siblings can, such as control smart devices, shop, play music, and hear the latest news and weather, all using Alexa voice commands.

And if you have a home with lots of windows, window vacuums that are all the rage overseas are starting to catch on in the U.S. Reviewed.com points to the Karcher line (starting around $50) as a point of reference.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.