From smart locks and voice assistants to air-quality monitors and smart fans, the smart home market is growing at a rapid rate. If you're interested in learning about how smart home technology works, the folks at CRT Labs have created a Smart Home Simplified glossary with easy-to-digest explanations of different smart home applications. And if you're curious about how smart home technology can improve the health and efficiency of your home, take a look at 11 popular smart home devices on the market right now.
Google Home is a voice-activated speaker that uses Google Assistant to allow users to activate everything from music and lights to the weather via voice command. It's compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems—and users praise both its ease of use and integrative ability, as the system can be set up to control and monitor multiple rooms and compatible smart devices.
Amazon Echo is the popular voice-activated home assistant that's also referred to as "Alexa," as users ask her to activate any number of tasks—from streaming music (via Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, Amazon Music, etc.), to controlling lights, fans, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, and security systems—to receiving updates on news, weather, and sports. You can also listen to audio books and activate a call-and-messaging system, which allows Alexa to call or message anyone with a compatible device or the Alexa App.
Amazon Echo Dot (2nd generation) is the relatively inexpensive ($49.99) voice-activated smart device that allows users to employ Alexa to do a host of tasks, such as play music, make calls, get news and weather, and activate compatible smart home devices (lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, and more).
Netatmo Weather Station offers real-time notifications (and graphs for data history) regarding your home's CO2 levels, as well as temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. The device is able to connect to multiple smartphones, and also allows different stations to connect to your phone. Data is accessible from anywhere. The device is compatible with Amazon Alexa and works with iOS, Android, and Windows.
The Dyson Pure Cool Link Air Filter and Fan works far beyond a simple cooling device, as the 360-degree Glass HEPA filter captures ultra-fine particles, including pollen, bacteria, and pet dander, removing 99.97 percent of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. The device also features an automatic monitor that reacts to environmental changes and reports real-time data to your Dyson Link app so that you can remotely control air quality.
Haiku Home L Series Smart Ceiling Fan is an Energy Star-certified ceiling fan (it exceeds efficiency requirements by 450 percent, or four times a traditional ceiling fan) that can be controlled by switch, remote, a free mobile app, or by voice command via the Amazon Echo (Alexa). The fan includes an integrated LED and 16 brightness settings to adjust light output, and 10 control settings that allow users to adjust fan speed, a timer, sleep mode, and "whoosh" mode, which activates natural-feeling breezes.
Ecobee3 Thermostat With Sensor, Wi-Fi (2nd generation) is the highly intuitive smart thermostat that uses combined data from your home's unique energy profile, external weather factors, and thousands of data points to precisely control your home's heating and cooling for optimal comfort, health, and energy efficiency (an average of 23 percent annual energy savings). The latest generation works with Alexa (sold separately) for voice control and also offers Homekit, the world's first home kit-enabled smart thermostat.
August Smart Lock (2nd generation) is a keyless locking system that allows users to control their home security using their smartphone (compatible with iOS, Android, Google Assistant) and now Alexa. The August lock works with your home's existing deadbolts and can be set to automatically lock when you leave and auto-unlock when you approach. Users can grant and prohibit access remotely via their phones. Innovative features allow users to track anyone leaving and entering the home via a 24/7 smartphone activity log.
Canary All-in-One Home Security Device is a multifaceted smart security system that includes a 90-plus dB siren, motion-activated video recording, auto-arm/disarm, and instant access to local authorities—in addition to real-time video alert updates delivered via your smartphone. Canary is not battery-operated, so it cannot be disengaged by an intruder. In the event that an intruder unplugs a Canary, the company will send an immediate notification. It also works as a home health monitor, tracking your home's air quality, temperature, and humidity.
Philips Hue Bulbs With Hue Bridge Hub is a "connected light ecosystem" of LED bulbs that can be operated—even when away from home—using a smartphone, tablet, and now Alexa voice activation. Each Hue bulb uses only 9.5 watts of energy to produce a 60-watt equivalent and has a lifespan of 20-plus years, which results in an energy savings of 80 percent. Bulbs can be brightened and dimmed for customized home lighting and can be used for alternative functionalities, such as timers, alarms, geo-fencing, and security purposes.
Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (2nd generation) alerts homeowners in real time (via smartphone) if the smoke or CO alarm has gone off and provides information on the exact location of the detected problem. It also provides a "heads up" feature to signal if an in-use stovetop, toaster, or other household device will set off the smoke alarm. The device includes the extra benefits of a Split-Spectrum Sensor, which uses two wavelengths of light to look for both fast- and slow-burning fires, and a 10-year carbon monoxide sensor.