The thing about any type of technology is that if there isn’t a better app or product available for something you want or need right now, there will be. I guess that’s the promise and the tyranny of technology…and of “smart.” The quest for learning, faster and better is constant…the quest is never over.
So, for right now, here’s what’s happening in smart home technology.
The Hay for Sonos limited collection of colorful sound speakers represents a collaboration of the best in both sound and design quality. Ted Toulis, vice president of design at Sonos, said, “We found a partner with whom to explore the enduring role of sound as an architectural element in the home.” Mette Hay, Hay’s co-founder, said, “These speakers deserve to be treated like furniture; strong, independent objects that can blend in or stand out as functional accessories for any room to fit different needs and different spaces.
The Hay for Sonos collection released three different versions of speakers in different colors…the existing black and white, and Hay’s iconic forest green, pale yellow and orangey red.
Additionally, Sonos recently announced its collaboration with Ikea for its first prototype speakers. Named Symfonisk, these speakers will be available in late 2019. These prototypes will work with all existing Wi-Fi speakers from Sonos as well as with Ikea’s TradFris smart lighting series and sound focused products.
Ikea’s Home Smart Initiative began with its furniture line that features built-in wireless charging stations on lamps, desks, bedside tables. All you need to do to charge your phone without plugging it in is simply put your phone on top of the little plus sign on the furniture product.
Philips Hue smart light bulbs are moving to the outdoors. Just like its indoor mood makers, Philips introduced this new line this summer. These outdoor products include
Lily – spotlight designed to nestle into the garden
Calla – waterproof – a round path light that sits atop a bollar
Set of 3 wall mounted luminarios
Like the indoor lights, all the outdoor bulbs connect to the Philips Hue Bridge so you can control the bulbs via your smartphone, etc. There are 16M color choices for you to generate your mood preferences. And, just like the indoor lights, you can program the bulbs to turn on at a certain hour, to use a location awareness feature so the bulbs know when you come home and greet you with your glow of choice, and to moderate your preferred brightness.
Tesla’s solar panels are now available to consumers after relentless home and office testing by Tesla staffers as well as Musk himself. The panels are meant to be more aesthetically pleasing than typical photovoltaic panels. And they’re meant to be and are more efficient. The panels can be customized to the site and roof pitch to better determine the number of active energy generating tiles needed. There are no more one-size fits all Tesla solar panels.
On the other hand, if you’d like “regular” solar panels, you can get them through SolarCity. Musk acquired that outfit in 2017.
Kohler Konnect products are voice-enabled products for tubs, showers, toilets, mirrors and faucets in bathrooms and kitchens. All you have to do is speak to measure specific water amounts, monitor overall usage and control hot/cold temperatures.
Of course, there are video cameras on doorbells, motion sensors on windows, automatic shade/drapery controls, water sensors in bathrooms, smart lighting and thermostats and door locks and sprinklers and speakers and on and on, all controlled by smartphones, wall panels and increasingly by Alexa which is currently being embedded in more and more products.
You might have to play around between your iPhone, Harmony remote, Philip Hue switches, and Echo to control everything. You might have to play around with IFITT scripting systems to make sure all of you sensors and detectors communicate with your irrigation system in case there’s a fire at/in your house.
Or you might want to hire OneButton that does all of this for you so you don’t have to spend hours tinkering with all of this or throw a fit when something you thought you’d connected doesn’t work exactly as you’d have wanted it to.
So, enjoy researching everything, tinkering with everything, and, in the end, freeing up your mind, energy and time for other things. Just remember that tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, something better or faster or smarter will be available.