Looking for a futuristic way to turn off your bedroom lights and be lulled to sleep? Considering a home security system that you can monitor from anywhere for yourself and your loved ones? These and more tools and devices are part of a new, affordable and easy entry into the smart home world.
But with so many gadgets now on the market, how do you know where to start?
We met with Blair Delorme, a Calgary Home Automation Specialist with LinkCasa, a technology expert to get the scoop on simple, budget-friendly smart home projects.
Founded in 2013, LinkCasa got its start providing location analytic solutions for realtors and show homes. After seeing growth in the home technologies industry, the local company saw an opportunity to provide homeowners with a holistic and educated approach to home tech. Today, they are creating personalized smart living experiences for any home – no matter the size or budget, new construction or decades old!
Smart home automation is more than a nifty way to keep up with the latest technology. It doesn’t have to mean completely new and crazy gadgets or robots – though it can if you want. Often, it means replacing appliances and accessories with high-tech automated versions to make life easier and more enjoyable, giving homeowners peace of mind while reducing their energy use. It’s a world full of possibilities!
Let’s dive in for some expert tips and to learn how smart tech can adjust to your ideal lifestyle and help you better take care of your home!
Did you ever leave for work without turning down the heat on a blustery Calgary winter day? Or venture out for a summer day trip to the mountains without dialing down the air conditioning for your furry friend? When it comes to high-tech home products, smart thermostats are at the top of the list!
Unlike toilets you can talk to and mirror-mounted smart floss dispensers (yes, they do exist!), smart thermostats provide a sensible and energy efficient solution for homeowners that can be controlled wherever you are. While many modern heating systems come with a level of control built in, there is simply no substitute for a fully automated experience!
Suggested Device: The Nest 3rd Generation Thermostat is sharp and smart. Set your own schedules for heating and cooling, by voice or from your phone via their app. Nest will save you money and curb your energy use – automatically setting itself to away or eco mode when the house is empty. You could say Nest is the perfect roommate!
Knock, knock? Who’s there? With a smart video doorbell, you would already know! From live video streaming and two-way communication to Wi-Fi-enabled apps and home automation capability. Smart doorbells let you see everything at your doorstep, so you never miss a thing.
Whether you’re in the backyard pruning trees, taking a leisurely stroll with Fido at the nearby North Ponds Park in University District or halfway around the world escaping Calgary’s cooler months. Monitor your home with ease right from your phone for added security and comfort. Add as many bells and whistles as you want including cameras and even smart lock doors for those times you or the kids accidentally lock the keys inside the house.
Suggested Device: Greet visitors right from your phone or tablet, talk to delivery drivers and watch over packages while at home or away with the Nest Hello Video Doorbell. For tech-savvy apartment renters or condo owners, consider the battery-powered Ring Door View Cam. Simply mount it overtop your door’s peephole and you’ll always know who’s come knocking!
When it comes to starting a smart home, lighting is one of the simplest ways to get going. Cloud-connected switches are catching on and are an easy and efficient way to contribute to a well-lit, well-connected home.
Through season and time changes, smart switches will make sure you’re never caught out in the dark. When at home, easily change the mood from “Game Day” brightness to “Movie Night” twilight with the touch of a button. Smart switches make it possible for you to take full control of your home lighting, while reducing your energy use, thwarting would-be burglars and putting an end to the all too familiar old light switches that you fumble for in the dark. Turn yourself on to a new way to light your home!
Suggested Device: Lutron Lighting Control smart switches are some of the best in the home automation industry. Control your lights remotely, set schedules and even automate them with a video doorbell to turn on certain lights when motion is detected. Best part? They are easy to install and use, seamlessly integrate with other smart home products, and come in a wide variety of colours to match your interior design scheme — white to grey to gold!
Leak sensor smart devices are thirsty for action! No more worrying about appliances leaking. Sensor technology will alert you if your home springs a leak, appliance malfunctions, toilet clogs or a sump pump seizes so you can take action quickly.
Easily monitor any water-related appliance or fixture by simply adding remote sensor probes. Place it under a sink, by a toilet, or even in your basement and receive alerts on your smartphone. Intelligent security puts peace of mind at your fingertips so you can travel with ease, enjoy Sunday brunch at Milestones, or soak in the sun by lazing down the Bow River!
Suggested Device: Keep pumps and pipes in check with the Samsung SmartThings Leak Sensor. Reliable and simple to install, these wireless sensors can prevent costly water damage by catching leaks right away. With SmartThings Leak Sensor, you’ll receive alerts on your phone and can even set connected devices to turn on or off when moisture is detected.
If you’re creating your ultimate smart home, chances are you’ll need a home automation hub. It’s a one-stop solution where you can control all your smart gadgets from one simple place. You could say it’s the brain of your smart home!
Imagine a home where lights brighten when the sun is setting, the garage door opens as your smartphone approaches your home or the kitchen lights dim, the fireplace turns on and radio tunes to a classical music station for date night. It’s all possible with a smart home hub! Know that the lights are off, doors are a lock and the temperature is set to your preference, all without having to get up. It’s convenience and comfort in a clever package!
Suggested Device: Pick a smart hub that fits your needs. If you’re seeking something simple, get a wink smart hub. However, if you want something more advanced,consider the Samsung SmartThings Hub. This home automation gadget works with a wide range of devices and lets you connect all your smart products to one place, giving you total control through the SmartThings app.
Photo Credit: Brookfield Residential Calgary
Blair knows a thing or two about smart home devices. He has you covered with these helpful tips to help you stay connected while at home or on the go.
Once you have an idea of what home automation tools fit best with your budget and lifestyle, do your research. Read customer reviews, warranty structures, tech reports, buyer guides, and independent reviews before purchasing a smart device. This will save you time and money in the long run!
When designing your smart home, start small! Choose one or two devices – smart thermostats, smart speakers or lighting control are a great place to start as they can be the easiest and most functional to integrate – and then consider additions.
Don’t choose devices by price and brand
Whether you’re an early adopter or a seasoned pro, do your research! Before you get started, learn about the products in-market and what devices work well together. Many times people purchase devices based on price and brand only to fall prey to a system that doesn’t play nice together. Remember expensive isn’t always better and if the price is too good to be true, it likely is!
There you have it! Whether it’s a smart thermostat, doorbell, lighting system, leak detection solution or smart appliance, automated homes give you the convenience and peace of mind that only comes with being connected.
Looking for a smart home device? Shop for a wide selection of products at your nearby home hardware or electronic store including Best Buy, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot or Amazon. For those seeking an extra dose of tech or need help with the process, LinkCasa’s qualified technicians are always on hand, ready to help you get connected!
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