New technologies are changing — and invigorating — the global economy faster than we think. As solar panel prices crater, a carbon-free economy now seems within reach. Entirely new classes of medicines harness the body’s natural defenses, bringing once-formidable cancers and chronic conditions to heel. Private enterprise drives a new era of space exploration that’s setting humanity’s sights on distant worlds.
Advancements that are closer to home have transformational potential, too. From outdoor cameras to indoor lights, connected devices give us more control than ever over our homes. Here’s a look at five exciting smart home tech tools that will eventually pay for themselves — and make life a whole lot more convenient in the meantime.
1. Video Doorbells
WiFi-connected video doorbells let you see and speak with doorstep supplicants without first opening your front door. When you’ve got a kid in the bath (or a game on TV), that’s the definition of convenience. More video doorbells have smartphone apps with real-time streaming capabilities, so you can see who’s sneaking out your front yard when you’re not home too.
2. Outdoor Security Cameras
Worried about creeps sneaking around your backyard? Curious what your outdoor pets are up to when you’re at work? Just want to spend a quiet minute watching the songbirds at your garden feeder?
Whatever you’re trying to get out of your backyard or back door, an outdoor WiFi camera can help. Make sure you set yours strategically to capture unauthorized ingress and egress. Keep doors and windows in view, too. Look for models with motion or person alerts. It’s always nice to be able to call the cops when the burglary is in progress, rather than hours or days after the fact.
3. Motion-Sensing Lights
Some outdoor security cameras have infrared or night-vision features, but there’s nothing like motion-sensing lights to warn bad guys (and ladies) off. Hook up your lights near your camera, or buy a package deal with an alert- and stream-capable smartphone app.
4. Smart Thermostats
You probably have a programmable thermostat with settings for at least four phases of the day: night, morning, workday, evening. Why not go one step further and spring for a thermostat that learns your preferences for each phase of the day, rather than waiting for you to tell it what to do?
Smart thermostats are cheaper than ever. Most have versatile mobile apps that provide near-total control over their capabilities. And most work with older homes’ wiring. It’s just a shame most don’t have a “days since you last touched your thermostat” feature — that would be a gas.
5. Smart Indoor Lights
When was the last time you fumbled for the light switch on your way into a pitch-black room? With smart indoor lights, wall-groping is a thing of the past. Smart lights double as a low-key security feature, too — using the smartphone app, you can turn lights on or off at will to make it look like you’re at home, no matter how far away you happen to be.
It’s A Bull Market For Home Tech
These five smart home technologies offer a tantalizing glimpse of the transformative potential of connected devices. Even taken together, though, they’re just a tiny sampling of what’s possible. In the years to come, new applications will likely make these seem pedestrian by comparison. And, soon enough, they’ll be affordable for the average homeowner. Can’t wait, can you?
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