GIFTS FOR THE HOME: THE COOLEST HOME AUTOMATION GADGETS AND TECHNOLOGY
With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a good time to reflect on the year that’s passed and plan gifts for the friends, family, and co-workers in our lives for whom we are thankful. It can be difficult to find something meaningful, useful and that has wow factor – not the quintessential rock-hard fruit cake or tie that will sit in their closest for years unworn.
Giving the gift of a smart home is more affordable than you might think. In fact, a number of companies make cost effective smart home gadgets that provide a more efficient living space. There are a lot of cool gadgets available for everyone on your list, from the technology savvy brother-in-law to your tech-averse grandma.
VIRTUAL (VOICE) ASSISTANT:
More than just the phantom voice that responds to your verbal requests to play a song, check the weather, or find recipes, these devices are the point of communication between you and all your connected devices. In short, they streamline your relationship with technology.
Assistants are typically cloud-based programs that require internet-connected devices and/or applications to work; Siri on Apple devices, Cortana on Microsoft Devices and Google Assistant on Android devices.
Mini speakers start as low as $40-$50 and assistants with a built-in display screen can range between $120-$300, making them the ideal gift for anyone on your list.
SMARTEN “DUMB” DEVICES:
Smart plugs are nifty gizmos that connect your regular old lamp, fan, coffee maker, or nearly any other appliance to your smart home for automation and voice control.
Starting at just $20, there are models for every voice assistant and some even work with all three: Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.
LIGHTS ON, LIGHTS OFF:
Never forget to turn your lights off again. Smart light switches are hard wired and work with your existing home lighting, allowing you to remotely control lights connected to the switch with your smartphone. Some smart switches let you dim the lights, reducing your energy use even when the lights are on. Smart light bulbs are also great for automating a single lamp or light fixture. They also assist with home security as you can turn them on and off at will, with a simple app on your mobile device.
A smart bulb starter kit is priced around $89 and will provide energy bill savings all year round making it the gift that will keep on giving.
Long gone are the days of cable reigning king, streamed media is all the rage these days. Starting around $50, streaming sticks effectively turn any HDMI TV into a smart TV. Plus, since it’s only about the size of a typical flash drive and contains some gigabytes of memory for storage, you can take your favorite movies and shows wherever you may go.
Video doorbells are the extra set of eyes and ears needed to protect your home. You’ll always know who and what is at your door, even when you’re away. Some of the higher end models will actually let you talk directly to the person at the door, even when you’re on vacation.
Today’s high-tech features have made the video doorbell a ‘must have’ for a safe and secure home. Starting around $125, these will also offer peace of mind and safety, something money can’t buy.
An Instant Pot replaces up to seven common kitchen appliances, and speeds the cooking process so you can simmer, braise, slow cook, steam and warm faster. You’ll save time and energy, retain food’s vitamins and nutrients, preserve food’s appearance and taste, and eliminate harmful microorganisms. This is one gift that is truly for everyone!
Prices vary depending on size and brand, but you can find a quality pot for around $80 (maybe less if you catch a sale).
So, whether you’re searching for a gift for friends, family, co-workers, secret Santa, white elephant, or just something to inspire your own list to the Jolly Old Elf, technological gifts for the home are all the rage and sure to be a crowd pleaser!