For those of you who grew up in the 80s, (or had kids who grew up in the 80s) you probably spent some time watching The Jetsons as George flew to work in his personal aircraft, or wondered how cool it would be to have a robot like Rosie who would vacuum for you. Well, we aren’t flying around in our own aircraft just yet, but there are already robots to vacuum, as well as mow your yard for you.
The artificial intelligence that is already on the market, and even more exciting, the products that are in the pipeline, are changing the way that homeowners are looking at their home.
“Over the last couple of years, people have begun to ask more and more questions about the thermostats and sprinkler systems that are controlled by their smartphones, and the sound systems that can change over seamlessly between the TV and bluetooth music options,” said Southwest Homes owner, Jason LaFollette. “I think that we are only scratching the surface of where the ‘smart homes’ are headed, and Southwest Homes is being very proactive to make sure that we stay on top of it to make our clients’ homes as ‘smart’ as possible.”
However, LaFollette added that for those who want to stick with the “traditional” devices, Southwest Homes can do that as well.
Here are Southwest Homes’ top 5 “smart home” gadgets for 2017 (in no particular order):
1. Amazon Echo – If you haven’t tried this speaker out, you’re missing out on some great family fun. Tell “Alexa” whatever you want to hear, and she plays it. You can also ask her to tell you a joke (all of which are family friendly), score updates, weather forecasts, and even order items directly from Amazon. Not only that, but she can also operate compatible devices like your thermostat, television, sprinkler system and more, all with voice commands.
2. Roomba – these robot vacuum cleaners are a must have, especially if you’ve got some furry friends at home. Some of our clients have commented that they have to vacuum about 25% of the amount they used to after jumping on this trend. The price tags vary based on the model, but the entry level models start under $400. From what we’ve seen though, it’s typically worth the extra cash to get the higher end models for longer battery life and larger capacity.
3. The Ecobee4 – This new thermostat from Amazon (yes…they really are taking over the world) has a really nice touchscreen interface and a remote sensor that helps ensure all the rooms of your house are getting heated or cooled properly. The newest version also has Alexa built in, so you won’t need to purcahse an Echo or an Echo Dot to control your other smart home devices, ask for the weather, or do anything else you can do with Amazon’s voice assistant.
4. The Arlo Q – This home security camera system is loaded with features, including a 1080p camera with excellent quality video, both day and night, great motion detection, and a flexible scheduling feature. Not only that, but the purchase of the camera includes a rolling week’s worth of video storage for free. Great option for people who travel or work a lot.
5. Phillips Hue Lights – If you want complete wireless supremacy over the lights in your home, the Philips Hue is the cream of the crop, at least for now. You are able to control not only the brightness of each light, but also change the colors, which is great if you’re into hosting parties. Different colors can create different atmospheres, or color coordinated options for game watching parties. It can get pricey, to be sure, but the Hue ecosystem has been around long enough that it works with just about every other system out there, from Alexa, to IFTTT, to Siri. Phillips is also launching a similar option, but without the color changing feature for a lower price point.
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