7 important features your smart home devices should have
Today, the word “smart” is a prefix to many home essentials. There is the smart lock, smart washing machine and even a smart egg tray. However, not everything that been labelled smart, is. Take the Bin Cam by Newcastle University, which proposes the idea of in-bin cameras that — in the name of waste management — record and review the contents of your bin. It will even upload the photos to Facebook. Is it “smarter” than a regular bin? Yes. Does it make practical sense? No.
However, it’s not all serious business. Some smart technology are designed to incorporate more fun with a usually simple object — and that’s okay, too. Our advice: Look past marketing ploys and opt for devices with functions that excite you and suit your lifestyle. When shopping, look for a smart device that checks this list.
Why mop after vacuuming, when you can do both at the same time? The Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 900 features the Ozmo Mopping Technology, which cleverly switches to mopping mode after it has vacuumed an area. Intuitive sensors determine the flow of water; an electronically controlled water pump draws enough water from a reservoir for a deep clean, without creating a slippery surface. The same sensors inform the robotic vacuum how much suction power is needed on different surfaces. Other technologies, including the Adaptive Floor Sensing, enable the robot to safely scan, map and plan an efficient cleaning path. Users can program the Deebot Ozmo 900 to clean within specific areas or prevent it from entering restricted areas with the Ecovacs App.
The Deebot Ozmo 900 retails for $699, and on Qoo10 and Lazada only.
The world’s first 100 per cent wire-free, weatherproof smart security camera — the Arlo Pro 2 — covers all bases. It offers 1080p HD quality so you don’t have to squint at suspects; you can highlight specific areas in your camera’s view to receive motion and sound alerts; the Smart Siren allows you to switch on a 100+ decibel siren remotely so you can scare off intruders; and it has night vision and two-way audio. Each pack comes with two cameras and a base station.
Find it at Harvey Norman outlets, where it is retailing for $899.
FUN & INTUITIVE
If your partner has the annoying habit of leaving the lights on, try the TP-Link LED bulb. Simply connect the bulb to your Wi-Fi, and control the light remotely with the Kasa app. The Multicolour bulb, in particular, allows you to choose from a wide range of colours (perfect for parties), from cool to warm whites, and opt for Circadian Mode. The mode changes the brightness and warmth of the light to match the time of day.
In the realm of smart home devices, Samsung has certainly been one step ahead. In the Samsung Smart Things suite of Things that automate and secure all areas of your home. This includes working with ADT Security Services to power smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, water leak detectors (pictured), as well as window and motion detectors. The Smart Things website also lists complementary brands and products, such as the Philips Hue bulbs, Google Home, and smart plugs. It’s the whole package, and the website makes it easy for you to understand it, too.
Smart technology should allow devices to perform better, as well as educate its users. The Dyson Pure Cool air purifying fan, along with the Dyson Link app, collects data on the type of pollutants that enter people’s homes. Tear a piece of paper or spray deodorant in the air and the Pure Cool will pick up the pollutants, while the app instantly reports the spike to you. Now you can compare the unhealthy effect many different household items have on indoor air, and cut down on those that are bad for you. You can also choose how air circulates in your room, save energy, and find out how to replace a filter from the Link app.
The Dyson Pure Cool air purifying fan retails from $699 and is available at all major department and electrical stores.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Edge looks nothing like a speaker and that is the point, according to designer Michael Anastassiades, who wanted to create a mysterious object. Sans buttons, the disc-like Beosound Edge lights up immediately as you approach it, showing you the touch panel to control the volume and tracks from. But here is something even better: you can roll the speaker back and forth (or push it up and down, when mounted on the wall) to increase and decrease the volume. An accelerometer measures the rocking, while a stopper keeps the speaker from falling over or rolling away. How mesmerising! The B&O Beosound Edge supports Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, and works from the Bang & Olufsen App.
It retails for $5,200 at all Bang & Olufen outlets.
The first of its kind, the Samsung Family Hub is a refrigerator with a calendar app, grocery list that updates live and can be synced with your family members, and a large screen that you can watch YouTube recipes from. Of course, this multi-functionality is not a need, but smart technology is also about pushing the boundaries of single-use products. We like that the Family Hub can be wired to other smart devices like the Samsung Powerbot, which means you can start on other chores without even leaving the kitchen.
Find it at Harvey Norman outlets, where it is retailing for $7,499.