Top 10 Smart Home Technologies for 2016

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies for 2016

More and more homes are being connected to the Internet with fibre. This means much faster data transmission and reliability than ever before. Now these homes have the ability to become smart and take advantage of new technologies.

With fibre-optic Internet expansion scheduled across much of Canada in 2016, many of us will benefit from improved home office connectivity, the latest high definition entertainment streaming and a more secure home.

Smart door locks

Having control over door locks not only lets you make sure the house is secure when you are away – it allows you to grant others entry. No longer will you need to arrange to be home to let in cleaners or accept deliveries. An example is the August Smart Lock that simply fits over your existing deadbolt instead of replacing it. It’s controlled from the August Connect device that plugs into a power outlet. The Kwikset Kevo lock is a normal looking lock that can also be opened with regular keys in the case of dead batteries or a connection problem.

Smart thermostats

Controlling the climate in your home is becoming a familiar smart home feature. The Nest and ecobee thermostats not only allow remote control of heating and cooling; they can learn your scheduling preferences. This can lead to cost savings over time. The ecobee3 also has the option of remote sensors that allow monitoring individual rooms rather than just where the thermostat is installed.


Smart lighting

Being able to turn lights on or off remotely lets you make a dark home seem occupied while you’re away. The Phillips Hue system also allows you to change the colour and brightness of your lighting along with your mood. A less expensive option is the Cree Connected LED bulb that requires a Wink Hub to work.      


Video surveillance

Nest also produces the Nest Cam, a high definition wireless camera that can be set up anywhere. It can stream video to your phone and even send alerts about activity. There is the option of storing the video history in the cloud at an additional cost.



Smart TVs

One of the greatest demands on your Internet connection is high definition video. The latest smart TVs are 4K or Ultra HDTV. This format has four times the resolution of HDTV at 3840x2160 pixels and about the only source is streaming from the Internet. The smart technology in these TVs allows users to surf the web and stream video from services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Smart monitors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential but water monitors are also a great idea to protect a home. Nest makes the Nest Protect that is a connected monitor that will alert your phone in the case of an alarm. The WallyHome has multiple sensors that can be put beneath sinks and in crawlspaces. It not only warns of leaks but also reports humidity and temperature in each location.


Home automation

The WeMo system from Belkin is a whole family of smart products that make domestic tasks like cooking easier. The WeMo Switch simply plugs into an existing outlet and allows you to control whatever is plugged in. Other products include the Mr. Coffee smart coffee maker and a Crock-Pot that can be adjusted from anywhere.


Digital assistant

The Amazon Echo is a Bluetooth speaker that also acts like Siri on an iPhone. It is voice controlled and can be instructed to play music, search the web, report the weather and control other smart devices.

Smart music

The Sonos Play:1 is a part of the Sonos WiFi sound system that has high quality audio and does not need a computer to work.  It is preloaded with thousands of free Internet radio stations and streams music from the major music services like Spotify, Sirius XM, Google Play Music and Amazon Music.


Smart home network

A network attached storage system or NAS is a great way to keep all your data, movies, music, videos, photos and documents in a secure, central location. You can then make all that data available to any of your connected devices. You can stream movies to your TVs and tablets or access documents from your phone or laptop or any other combination.

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