This story was originally published and last updated .
Our homes are increasingly filled with gadgets that connect to the internet in ways that rightly have us concerned for our privacy and security. But when discussing those concerns, it's important to keep a level head and consider just what kind of privacy and security concerns actually stem from using these products, and in what instances they might actually enhance both for you in real, tangible ways. And like surveillance cameras, we think smart locks fall into such a category: they can actually make your home safer and more secure than a traditional, "dumb" lock, and they do it all while bringing a tremendous amount of convenience.
Millions of homes now contain a smart assistant speaker of some variety and sales of IoT products continue to grow as the market matures and prices come down across the sector. With so many options available, it's hard to know what to buy, and that's where we come in — this is a selection of our favorite smart home gadgets. Whether you want to just dip your toes in the water with a cheap Google Nest Mini or dive into the deep end with smart lights, cameras, thermostats, doorbells, and so on — we’ve got you covered.
Some smart home gadgets seem like solutions in search of a problem, shoehorning IoT connectivity into something that was working just fine without it — unless you're that one guy who really needs to talk to Alexa while playing the keyboard. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, you've got the smart lock, an early leader into the world of the connected home that managed to reinvent a "dumb" product with some genuinely useful new functionality.
Home Depot may not be known as the biggest tech retailer, but if you're outfitting a smart home it is the place to go especially now, as their Black Friday sale brings many of the most popular smart home and security products down in price. We've compiled some of the best deals so you don't have to hunt through the catalog yourself. All the following deals will be available starting Thanksgiving morning at 6AM EST, though some others can be had now — availability is noted in both cases.
Back at CES, lock maker Schlage said it was on track to add support for Google Assistant to its popular Sense Smart Deadbolt. The company didn't have a firm timeline for the release but said it would be in the first quarter of the year. Well, that clearly didn't happen. It is happening today, though. Schlage says Google Assistant is now supported on the Sense Smart Deadbolt, but some functions are still limited to the app.
If you've been itching to unlock your Schlage or August door locks with Alexa, I have some good news for you. Both companies announced a new skill that allows you to do just that. Some of you might have security concerns about this, but both Schlage and August are quick to affirm that this system is, in fact, quite safe.
Support for the Google Assistant is ramping up from major and minor smart home device makers alike. It was only this January that we reported the Assistant had support for 1500 devices, but now that number has jumped, nay, soared to 5000 devices. Along with that happy threshold comes the news of many other upcoming integrations for our favorite smart home assistant.
Just ahead of CES proper, Schlage has announced that its immensely popular Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt (say that five times fast) will soon work with Google Assistant. A few months back, it added support for Amazon's Alexa, right after adding an Android app for remote control. And now, sometime in Q1 of this year, you'll be able to 'Hey Google' your way into locking or unlocking your Schlage-equipped front door.
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.