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How smart is your home?

Posted by Kelly Kniffin on December 11, 2017
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My family and friends consider me a “techy”. I use Apple products, and I love my connections through my iPhone, Mac Book, iPad, Apple Watch! As a busy Realtor representing buyers and sellers, my clients expect me to be available and responsive so I have a valid need to stay connected. Okay…I may not need to be able to answer my phone with my watch. However, I grew up watching Get Smart on TV, are you kidding? I can’t pass that up!  All joking aside, my family refers to me as “the gadget queen.”  

With this title, I have been feeling way behind on incorporating smart home technology into our home. I have to admit I was a little intimidated with what it would entail and unsure I had the time to invest. When I took the leap, I will admit I became a bit consumed for a couple weeks as the UPS man left Amazon package after package. All I can say is “W-o-w!” How did I live without these modern conveniences? 

You can connect so much more than just computers and smart phones to the Internet. We can connect everything: clocks, speakers, lights, door bells, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils – you name it. These are my new (and beloved) smart home devises: 

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I started with the Nest Learning Thermostat. My husband and I are not very mechanical around the house. We managed to remove our 20+ year old thermostat and connected Nest quite quickly! Needless to say, we felt very accomplished. Now on our smart phones, we can control the temperature of our home. The auto-schedule feature learned our daily heating and cooling temperatures and times during the first week of use. Now, our thermostat runs on a schedule based on our preferences. What better perk could I need? I didn’t even need to program my new thermostat.

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Next, I set up the Echo Plus with built-in Hub. I was hesitant at first after reading the crazy stories of targeted advertising from information these devices gather. However, this was too convenient to pass up. I chose the newest Echo Plus for the Hub feature (connects smart devises through the wifi). Therefore, it won’t require the purchase of another device. This has proven to be successful, and I have added smart lighting wirelessly through the Echo Plus. I connected strategically placed Philips Hue Light Bulbs in lamps, such as our bedsides and family room. Now, I can direct Alexa to turn off, on, or dim each light by voice control. I love that I can quickly check the weather, play specific music, and (one of my favorite conveniences while cooking) ask for a timer to be set that I don’t need to set on my appliances manually. 

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Finally, my home holds a wired stereo speaker system on the main level of our house but not in upper level master bedroom. To play music there, I had been using my iPhone music apps along with a small external JBL speaker, which needed to be charged. This process set music as a low priority in my morning routine. However, I discovered a light bulb that is also a speaker system! The Sengled Pulse JBL Bluetooth Speaker works through a canned light in my bathroom and another in my bedroom to create a stereo system with as little effort as choosing my music app and flipping on the light switch! 

If you have been on the fence like me with adding smart homes features to your routine, I hope my experience will open you to new ideas. Smart home conveniences will continue to grow and could add future value and efficiency to your home! 

Please note that none of these product reviews are sponsored, affiliated with the manufacture, or otherwise associated with an outside organization. This article is based on my personal experience of incorporating technology in my home. All photos were taken of my personal devices!

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