Affordable Tech To Switch For A Smarter Home
There was a time when affordable tech meant upgrading the size and type of our TV. Not so long ago, LCD, and Plasma were the “It” words when we talk about having the latest technology in our homes. Today, the TV is still advancing, but along with it, are other tech tools that are worth looking at because they can affect our security, our conveniences, and even assist with being lazy, if that’s what we feel like being.
Unfortunately, there is one issue with tech that we all can agree on, and that’s the cost. We can’t all afford the latest and greatest in technology. Just like updating our phones, we need to keep in mind the pros and cons, the benefits and features, right along with the cost.
Why Affordable Tech Are So Appealing
The tech in our homes has a few things in common. Because they are easy to adapt to our lives by anticipating our needs and adjusting to our personal lifestyles. Also, when they interrelate with each other, that is where convenience comes to play.
Today, it’s safe to say home tech is at unparalleled levels. We can say that now because the idea of controlling certain features in our homes with a smartphone was unheard of a few decades ago. However, the other thing we can also say about tech is that it advances faster than we can say abracadabra. What’s unrivaled today will probably be obsolete tomorrow.
For Some Homes, New Tech May Seem Out Of Reach
Of course we do! When we saw the video door bell (one of the tech mention below) some of us immediately think “Nice, but can’t afford that.” Unfortunately, technology overall carries that stigma. We can all relate to the friend or neighbor who has a cell phone that’s more than a few years old. When we ask why don’t you update your phone? The response is usually, “I’m used to this one.” The reality: They think upgrading means another expense. While there is an expense involved with moving from old to something new, these days, the cost can be minimal.
Is Home Tech A Smart Choice?
If the idea of convenience is not important enough, here are other reasons to consider the options below. In a study by The Hartford and MIT AgeLab, they found that 51 percent of homeowners 50 or older either have smart home technology or are interested in acquiring it. Their top three reasons: safety, security and energy savings. In yet another study, 63 percent said family safety was their ultimate concern. There are good reasons to consider putting tech in our homes. It doesn’t matter if we live in a house or our home is an apartment complex. Affordable home tech is available to everyone for convenience or otherwise.
With affordable tech, the lightbulb is a natural option. First, customize lighting is the ultimate experience. Then there is the advancing technology factor. We all know the history of lighting and the role Thomas Edison played in its discovery. That time was well beyond not just this generation, but going back quite a few. Since the 1920s, incandescent bulbs were the force that changed how we light our homes. However, technology moving as fast as it does brings us to today and what we can do with a lightbulb is beyond extraordinary.
It allows customized lighting that we can schedule and control remotely through smart mobile phone and applications
There is also the long-term saving factor. The first and utmost reason to switch is the savings. While the upfront cost is considerably more, in the long run the savings will surpass the cost because of the life span of smart bulbs. A smart bulb can last between 25,000 to 50,000 hours of output. A traditional bulb last 1000 hours.
Ambience & Sound
With their many options, you can change the mood of a room with the swipe of a finger or the use of voice. Smart lightbulbs allow simple voice command preferences thanks to assistive technologies, such as Apple’s Assistant Siri and their HomeKit, and Google Assistant Alexa along with Amazon Echo.
Connect smart bulbs to a network and a smart device such as a phone, and control them anywhere you are in the world. Also, certain smart lightbulbs can communicate with the music in a room, and be a signal extender, amplifying the Wi-Fi in a home.
What’s the cost?
$99 for a pack of six
Smart Entertainment Devices
Do you remember when the only remote control that existed in a home was the remote control of a TV? The era of smart devices has arrived, and with it, comes automations that give full control over media devices in a home. Unless technologically adverse and the TV is still a product of the 80s, chances are a smart TV already exists in a home.
Since most of us already own a smart TV, we also have internet, via a home network. Bring other tools into the equation such as bluetooth, Amazon Echo, Apple Home Pod, just to name a few, and you have the bare minimum of smart entertainment devices.
Home entertainment devices have a goal. Convenience and enhancing the user experience with how to spend leisure time. Whether that’s watching a movie, listening to music, playing video games, or entertaining family or friends.
Related: Siri, Our Own Personal Assistant Can Make Life Simpler
The best way to share the benefits is to use an example. Imagine having the basics of a smart home. As mentioned previously, that would be the internet, which comes with a home network. Bluetooth, which is a part of most devices purchase within the past decade.
Now let’s put a smart device into the mix other than a smart TV. Let’s use Apple HomePod as the smart device. With the HomePod and possibly Apple’s HomeKit, you can connect it to the home network.
Once connected, a user can direct the HomePod to do many things. Stream music, place a call, set timers, appointment, the temperature in a home. The list not only goes on, but these examples are the simplest ones. There can be configurations that far exceed the examples above.
If interested in the Apple’s HomePod automation, visit this link on the apple website for an extensive list of possibilities.
What’s the cost?
Depending on the size of a home and the plan? A HomePod mini is $99. For full automation, having one in each room is ideal.
With appliances, two things are apparent. They are expensive to replace, and we ignore them as long as they are functioning within our expectation. This post is about Affordable Tech, so we won’t mention large appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, or washing machine and dryers. Now, you may ask, what else is there with these four out of the equation?
Thanks to advancing technology, there is a lot more to mention. Smaller appliances can connect to a home network to control them remotely. Because of tech, these appliances have changed the way we interact within our kitchen, the way we prepare foods and even how we store our foods.
The best reason any of us would want to change how we use appliances is the time we save with routines that we perform each day. Also consider other benefits such as the energy we save, if environmentally conscious and the convenience.
Let’s use the coffeemaker as the example. This is an appliance we depend on for making our coffee in the morning. The feature of brewing our coffee automatically has been available for most coffeemaker for well over a decade. How has the coffeemaker change since then? Today, we can control them with a smartphone connected via bluetooth or a network. We can customize our drink and take control of brewing times, all without being physically in front of the coffeemaker.
What’s the cost?
Depending on the brand and features, a smart coffeemaker can cost $99.00 to well over $500.
One of the best affordable tech available today is the smart doorbell. These days, we only have to turn on the news to discover why owning one of these devices is smart. The security it offers is unrivaled and is such an affordable way to ensure it. It’s not that long ago that doorbells best feature was that when we push a button, we would hear custom sounds. Now, pushing a button means seeing who is at the door, even if not home. It means recorded surveillance of who comes and goes. A valuable tool if someone tries to not just endanger the homeowner security, but that of neighbors within distance of a smart doorbell. It’s not surprising that security companies install these doorbells in more homes than most smart devices.
As mentioned above, it’s the convenience of answering the door, regardless of where you are. Not to mention the added security of surveillance. However, there are other convenience associated with having one.
Saves on insurance
Because of its surveillance feature, insurance companies will offer a discount on homeowners and apartment policies because they consider a smart doorbell a level of security.
Of course, what comes to mind is someone trying to rob a home and the doorbell capturing the incident. This is certainly true, but so are the minor things, such as notification and proof that a package is on the doorstep. These days, ordering online is as common as paying a utility bill. A doorbell that alerts you when a delivery truck is at the door is worth having. This is especially true if packages being delivered are for a business, or are just as important.
Knowing who is behind a door
Consider the times when a homeowner just want to be alone, or avoiding friends or relatives. There are many reasons knowing who is at the door is important. Gone are the days of peaking through the blinds or curtains. You can actually be home and no one will be the wiser.
There was a time when the security companies putting their sign in a yard would be enough to dissuade a burglar. To some extent, it still is, but burglars are getting more bold with their attempts at gaining unlawful entry into homes. The smart doorbells have given them pause. Not just because it’s in a home they target. Now they must consider if the home across from their target has it. People who want to steal from homes are getting caught because of advancements in door bells.
What’s the cost?
Depending on the brand, and if gained through a security company, the cost could be between $199 – $500
The list of affordable tech that’s available today is extensive. Every day, it becomes easier and easier to integrate smart technology into our lives. Because of its rapid growth, it can also be a reasonable expense to take advantage of without digging too deep into our pockets. With smart technology, we don’t have to have an all-or-nothing approach. We can add various components or features as we need them. The idea of having the convenience and, sometimes, the security of smart home tech is appealing, even to a Luddite.