How to Maximize Your Smart Home Gadgets 1

How to Maximize Your Smart Home Gadgets

How to Maximize Your Smart Home Gadgets 2
Source: Thomas Kolnowski via Unsplash

Running your home via voice command used to be the stuff of sci-fi movies. Today, just about anyone can do it. Starting with smartphone voice assistants, you can now know the weather or play your favorite song with a simple voice command. 

With the exquisite advancement of voice command technology and the Internet of Things, the names Alexa, Siri, and Google are now like trusted friends called on in time of need. But that’s not all there is to smart home gadgets. More than asking about the weather and playing your favorite songs, your smart devices can work together to give you an automated home you can control at the tip of your fingers.

What can you do with your Smart Home Gadgets?

Because of the prevalence of smart speakers in the voice command scene, people tend to think that smart home devices are only good for playing music and doing hands-free online searches. However, with the right system and connectivity, you can do all these with your smart home gadgets:

  • Ask for information: weather, translations, prices, recipes, etc.
  • Schedule things: wake-up alarms, event reminders, to-dos, and shopping lists
  • Play music, switch channels, send messages, and call people
  • Control lights, thermostat, and other appliances
  • Cook and clean via smart ovens or grills, robot vacuum cleaners, the likes
  • Secure and monitor your home via smart locks, CCTV cameras, motion sensors, etc.

Top Smart Home Systems in 2020

You don’t need amazing tech expertise to turn your house into a smart home. Nor do you need to shell out a fortune to do so. The first thing you need to do is choose a smart home system. This is sort of your “command center” where 

Amazon Alexa

Arguably the top-of-mind choice when it comes to voice command systems, Alexa by Amazon has gone a long way from a glorified music player. It comes built into the Fire TV (also from Amazon) and works with over 7,000 non-Amazon devices. This means you can find a gadget for every part of your home and seamlessly integrate it into your Alexa ecosystem easily! Here is a list of all those devices.

Google Assistant

Right up there is Google Assistant. With a simple “Hey, Google” or even “Hey, Boo Boo,” you can activate and interact with an AI that’s backed with the whole power of the Google search engine. 

As such, this system has proven to be better at understanding the nuance of human commands. Studies show that it provides more accurate answers to questions. It can also do real-time translating, which other systems cannot do. Compatibility with 3rd party products isn’t a problem either –  check out the devices compatible with Google Assistant here.

Apple HomeKit or AirPlay

Of course, the company that made AI voice assistants mainstream will not be left behind. You can partner with Siri in taking care of your home with the Apple HomeKit. While this system works fantastically with other Apple products, just like a Mac or an iPhone, it doesn’t have the vast expanse of 3rd-party device compatibility like the other systems do. Here are the full list of accessories compatible with iOS/Airplay or HomeKit.

Samsung SmartThings

The second most popular smartphone maker also went into the smart home game. Though lesser known to the masses, Samsung’s SmartThings is making strides in this area. This company already produces almost every home appliance, so making a Samsung Smart Home would be easy. But on top of that, this system extends its reach to even more non-Samsung devices.

Top Smart Home Gadgets in 2020

Sometimes, you get a smart gadget before you even realize your system preference. Nonetheless, here are some smart devices that would make a good addition to your smart home ecosystem. With Bluetooth or WiFi, you can control any part of your home through your voice, phone, or tablet with the help of these gadgets.

Smart Home Speakers

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen

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Image link Source: Amazon

Now on its 3rd generation, the Amazon Echo Dot packs a lot of power in its tiny body. The latest model comes with a variation that shows a digital LED clock on its side. Since it’s powered by Alexa, it is compatible with thousands of other devices. It has an audio jack so you can connect wired earbuds, headphones, or extend the sound to other speakers.

Google Nest Mini

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Image link Source: TechCrunch

Even in a noisy room, your Echo Dot is designed to hear your commands because of its powerful microphones and noise-canceling technology. It also comes with a chip for machine learning, which will learn your most common commands and do them even when offline. It is also wall-mountable. If space isn’t an issue for you, you can go for the Google Home or Google Home Max.

Apple HomePod

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Image link Source: Apple

The Apple HomePod is compatible with all the devices that work with AirPlay or HomeKit. It brings beautiful sound to your home and integrates seamlessly with other Apple products. Design-wise, it’s as sleek and minimalist as what is known for the brand. With six microphones, Siri will easily hear your commands. You can also adjust it to let friends and family share their music through this speaker.

Sonos One

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Image link Source: Sonos

For non-system-specific speakers, Sonos One is the experts’ choice. It has both Alexa and Google Assistant built-in for easy integration into your existing IoT. What makes Sonos One special is its Trueplay™ technology – it adapts to whatever space you’re in to deliver the best quality sound. Even when outdoors, the Sonos One can give you immersive theater-quality sound.

Other Smart Home Devices

Philips Hue

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Image link Source: Philips MeetHue

The Philips Hue smart lightbulb is compatible with virtually every major smart home system in the market. You can set timers and remotely control the lights in your home even when you’re away. Change light colors for wake-up or wind-down, automatically turn outdoor lights on and off, dim room lights when reading – these functions are just the tip of the efficiency iceberg.

Arlo Q Plus

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Image link Source: NetGear Arlo

Whether it’s your home, office, or shop, you can trust the Arlo Q Plus to keep you updated on the goings-on of whatever place you want to monitor. It records high-definition 1080p videos and keeps crisp captures in total darkness with night vision. It also has 2-way audio. 

You automatically get free Arlo Basic service that lets you store 7 days’ worth or motion-sensor-triggered recordings in the cloud. You can also opt for a 24-hour recording. It backs up via local storage (microSD). Arlo Q Plus is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

Yale Assure Lock (ZigBee)

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Source: DigitalTrends

If you’re always worried about leaving your door unlocked when you go out, this is a must-buy. The Yale Assure Lock with ZigBee is compatible with all four systems we mentioned above. You can secure your home using your phone wherever you are. 

Samsung Smart TV

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Source: Samsung

Enjoy your favorite shows in amazing details. Samsung Smart TVs are bring you vivid colors and high-quality picture for an immersive viewing experience. These come pre-installed with streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube. On top of that, and besides working well with SmartThings, Samsung Smart TVs also work with Alexa and Google Assistant! Very versatile, great for whatever system you have in place. Get yours here.