It’s that time of year again: vacation season. But before you go rushing out the door and onwards to paradise, you may first want to think about matters closer to home. After all, the summer months are a notorious peak season for burglars. What’s more, the bill from that heating you forgot to switch off is not the sort of welcome home surprise any of us dream of. So, whether you have a two-week tropical getaway lined up, or plans for a modest weekend camping trip, you’re going to want to make sure your home is in good hands while you’re away. Here’s NONAGON.style’s guide for how to do just that, with a little help from smart technology.
In another life, a thermostat as that ugly beige box on the wall – a blight on an otherwise sound interior aesthetic. Not anymore it seems. Enter the Ecobee3 Lite: the better-looking, more intelligent upgrade. Granted, this is not the latest of Ecobee’s offerings (the Ecobee4 comes with a built in Amazon Alexa), but for a more budget friendly option we prefer its predecessor. The vacation feature on this beauty allows you to schedule in the dates you will be away so that the temperature settings will automatically adjust when you leave, helping you to conserve energy (and dollars). As an added bonus, the Ecobee3 will revert back to its regular scheduling at the end of your holiday, ensuring your home is at a comfortable temperature upon your return. If something does happen while you’re away, the Ecobee3 will notify both you and your contractor so you can have the situation taken care of immediately. All in all, not a bad little investment to make for that extra peace of mind.
Codes Not Keys
With the smart lock market expected to grow by a whopping 80% between now and 2021, ditch the keys for good. This new generation of smart locks allow for keyless entry via a code or even your smartphone. On vacation, grant your friends, family and neighbors easy access to your home by sending a virtual key to their smartphones. Alternatively, generate a unique code for guests to use during set hours of the day; once those hours are over, the code will automatically void – much smarter than simply leaving your keys under the doormat, eh? For a smart lock that boasts easy installation and a user-friendly app, we suggest opting for the August Smart Lock Homekit. For the more aesthetically minded however, we implore you to hold out for Kwikset’s new Obsidian smart lock. With a sleek exterior touchscreen and contemporary metal interior, this is arguably the Rolls Royce of smart locks – well worth the wait in our opinion.
How about caller ID for your front door? Part of a new wave of smart home technology that allows homeowners to secure and control their home remotely, the Vivint Doorbell Camera allows you to not only see who is at your door but also have a two-way conversation with them, even when you’re away. Being able to answer the door and appear home is an excellent extra layer of protection to add to your security when you can’t physically be there. We particularly love the sleek minimalist design of Vivint’s model, allowing the doorbell to blend seamlessly into your home’s exterior.
Let There Be Light
Truth be told, we’d recommend looking into installing a smart lighting system even if you don’t have any upcoming vacation plans. In addition to being perhaps the simplest way to dip your toe into the smart home trend, connected lighting also helps you to save energy and enhances convenience. In terms of security, use smart lighting to deter any potential burglars by setting an automatic schedule for your lighting in advance of your vacation. Although there are a lot of smart lighting options available on the market today, one of our favorites is the Philips Hue system because of its simple setup and compatibility with a wide range of smart home ecosystems, including Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit. Another option to consider is BeOn’s Security Lighting, which mimics your regular lighting schedule to make your home look like its being lived in as usual when you’re away.
Who wants to return home to a brown, brittle lawn? Not us, that’s for sure, which is why we’re huge fans of Skydrop’s Smart Sprinkler Controller. Dubbed the “most intelligent sprinkler controller on the market”, the Skydrop allows you to set up automatic watering schedules. We’re particularly impressed by the product’s smart-watering technology, which monitors local weather news using your home’s WiFi and automatically turns off sprinklers if rain is forecast. For more smart gardening devices check out our round up of tech-led planters.
Smart tech doesn’t have to only be used for home security. For other ways to incorporate smart tech into your home have a look at our rundown of 7 innovative home tech items hitting the market in 2017.