When my husband and I began designing our new apartment about a year ago, one of the first things I wanted to account for was smart lights. I love well-lit environments and the idea of having lights turn on and off automatically in the different rooms was appealing. I thought it'd be easy to find a smart lighting solution for the entire house, but my search eventually hit so many walls I'm surprised I didn't completely give up after the 10th week of frantic Googling and pointless research.
There were so many things to account for: 220V electricity in Lebanon, different size of wall switch and box compared to US, 908.4 MHz Z-Wave on my smart hub (US frequency), compatibility with SmartThings and Google Home, I didn't want an additional hub hanging off my router, and best of all: super frequent electricity cuts and blackouts. Read More
One of the biggest trends in consumer technology over the last few years has been the rise of the smart home. The number of different device categories that now make up the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) has grown immensely, with connected appliances now found in many households across the US and beyond.
The smart home was once an expensive hobby for tech-fiends only but has now become an affordable aspiration for normal people. You can get started for less than $30 these days, with some lights or a smart switch that can connect to your Wi-Fi network and be controlled with your phone. Read More
Prime Day is underway at Amazon and there are great deals to be had on plenty of gadgets and accessories for the nerdiest of folks. We've already covered deals on phones/tablets/Chromebooks, but what if you're more interested in making your home a little smarter? Well, fret not, because I've scoured the discounts and used my search-fu skills to find the best deals for the smart home noobs and veterans alike, deals that are especially catered for you, the Android user.
But before I start with my list, let me remind you of the couple of deals we've already covered that are relevant in a smart home setting: the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot are at an all-time low of $90 and $35 ($90 and $15 off, respectively), and the NVIDIA Shield TV is $20 off (remember that it's still slated to get SmartThings Hub integration and the SPOT for a cheap add-on Google Home-like experience). Read More
A smart home hub, like the Google Home, is only useful if it can actually control your smart home stuff. The Google Home only shipped with a handful of supported devices and services, but over the past few months, that has expanded a great deal. In addition to the Wink devices we covered earlier, Google Assistant (and thus, the Google Home) now works with LIFX, TP-Link, Vivint, and Best Buy Insignia smart home products. Read More
LIFX is another one of those "smart bulbs," an LED light bulb with some basic electronics and a Wi-Fi connection built in, competing with platforms like HUE from Phillips. Today the manufacturer's official app gets a significant update to version 2.0, focusing on more connectivity options and integration with other software systems. Owners of the pricey bulbs can download the updated app now and connect individual bulbs to their LIFX account. Read More