All sorts of items in your home are going to be “smart” within the next few years. For some appliances, this means that they can think on their own to streamline household chores. For other smart items, it means automating tasks entirely.
Any appliance that can do something as simple as starting at a specified time can be considered smart. But if that was all it could do it would be a waste of potential. Rather, a good smart appliance should be able to make your life easier or let you focus your attention on other tasks instead.
The washing machine is one of the biggest time sinks that a homeowner has to deal with, so any time saved here has huge ramifications to your day or week. Trends in washers and dryers include more customized modes and the ability to sense various aspects of the load such as size and weight for better efficiency. This can include anything from regulating water temperature for optimal cleaning to changing how the washing drum spins to simulate hand washing for delicate items.
Smart appliances can be even smarter by using the corresponding smartphone apps. For instance, LG’s SmartThinQ compatible products can download custom modes from the Internet, as well as give alerts when a load is finished. These are the sort of features that will show that smart technology isn’t a fad, but rather a movement based on innovation. This kind of innovation can also save you money by being more energy efficient, using cold water over warm to save on energy bills. But as with any big purchase it’s important to protect your investment with warranties and following the instructions.
The mattress is another area where we’ve been trained to think that it just is what it is, a soft place to sleep. But adding technology to this seemingly simple piece of furniture can help you feel rested and refreshed instead of tired and groggy.
Sleep Number offers smart mattresses that have sensors in them to analyze how well you are sleeping and make adjustments accordingly. Being able to adjust the setting without a hassle means you get to spend your time being relaxed and comfortable rather than fumbling with a remote to get there.
How well you sleep is just one piece of information that can help you adjust your habits to feel better overall. This information could be combined with other apps such as diet and fitness tracking to see if something you eat might be disrupting your sleep patterns.
With all of these smart devices starting to show up in the home, there has to be a way to control everything from one place. Because of the lightweight nature of many of the programs that smart devices have to run, going with a phone or tablet is often the best option. Many of these apps are available on both Android and iOS, meaning you could get a cheap tablet to work as a universal remote for nearly all the smart devices in your home. LG and Samsung have developed apps for their smart appliances that let you control the appliances from anywhere. Because of the popularity of smart thermostats like Nest, manufacturers have worked together to let these systems talk to one another. For instance, when Nest senses that you have left the house it can command the appliances to start their cycles, so they don’t disturb you while running.
If you prefer a hub-style option, devices like the Amazon Echo are great for centrally localized voice commands. The Echo’s little brother the Echo Dot has recently been released and brings the Echo to multiple rooms such as a bedroom or kitchen. With solutions like these you don’t have to be in the same room as an appliance to use it.