Published February 07, 2014
Another year, another step closer to the promise of a smart home that can anticipate our needs and respond to our commands. Here are some of the best new smart home technologies on the market this year.
Skydrop Sprinkler Controller
A lush, green lawn is the result of steady and even watering all summer long. But sometimes the weather doesn’t co-operate, which can throw off your watering schedule and leave you with a parched or over-watered grass. The Skydrop Sprinkler Controller is a Wi-Fi enabled watering system that takes the day-to-day fluctuations in the weather into account. By pulling down local weather data from the company’s cloud service, the Skydrop can figure out how much moisture was lost below the surface by factoring in precipitation, temperature and sunshine. The device then builds an automated watering schedule that allows your lawn to get the perfect amount of water.
Caring for a pet can be a real joy, but if you have a busy schedule, you know it can also be a bit of a pain. The Petnet is an automated pet feeder that you can control from your smartphone, allowing you to deliver dinner to your dog or cat even when you have to work late. If you’re going to be away for a few days, you can also set up an automated feeding schedule, sparing you the expense of hiring someone to look after your pet. And if your pet has put on a few pounds in the last few years, the Petnet can give you feeding insights based on your pet’s breed and age that allow you to track caloric intake so you can adjust your animal’s feeding regimen.
A home security system is a great way to keep your home and family safe, but the installation and high cost of monthly fees are real drawbacks for many people. Canary looks to simplify the home security system with a device that requires no installation and no fees. Simply place the sensor in your home, connect it to your home Wi-Fi network and you’ll be able to start tracking home security on your phone. The device’s built-in camera, night vision and motion sensor can alert you if there is an intruder. For an added layer of protection, Canary also packs in environmental sensors which can track things like indoor air quality and humidity.
Smart home technology is cool, but it can also feel a little cold. Sense’s Mother is a smart home device that looks to bring a little warmth to the smart home industry. Featuring a suite of sensors, Sense’s Mother is your home’s base station, and the Motion Cookies are small wearable sensors that can track your activity and behaviors. You can train the devices to monitor a wide range of personal and household tasks like checking to see if you watered the plants, making sure you took your medication, monitoring if you’ve left the fridge door open, and reminding you if you haven’t had enough water today.
While many smart home technologies will add a layer of intelligence to everyday devices, Belkin’s WeMo looks to make the very sockets and switches in your home more intelligent. The WeMo family currently includes light switches, sensors and electrical outlets that allow you to control lights and plugged-in devices from your phone. With WeMo’s smartphone app, you can set up a schedule for devices, like a space heater or air conditioner, so they only come on when you come home. Or use the WeMo’s motion sensor to turn lights off when you leave the room. The WeMo Insight Switch also allows you to monitor electricity usage, so you can find out which devices are adding the most to your monthly bills.