Smart Tech for Your Home

Picture this:

  • After a long, gray day at work, you pull up to your house. You can’t help but smile and congratulate yourself for the fact that while every other house on the block has their sprinklers going, yours is off…because you were able to set a rain delay on your system via the web (Rachio Smart Sprinkler Control).
  • As you park the car, you tap an app on your phone and enter your home to see that the lights in the kitchen and living room are now lit (WeMo WiFi-Enabled Light Switch).
  • You pull the marinated steaks from the fridge and get them going on the grill. Taking a seat on your sofa, you note with pleasure that your hardwood floors are free of dog hair and dust (Neato Botvac Connected).

Science fiction, you say? Nope. Just a small sample of the smart technology products already on the market and available for your home. I am hoping to install the Rachio sprinkler control panel in our house this year. I’ve heard it’s great for Colorado homes due to our crazy weather and drought patterns that we experience here in the Mile High city. I’d also love to get the Nest thermostat – has anyone tried either of these? I’d love to hear your experiences with any smart tech for homes!

Scroll for full details on all products listed above; images and product names are clickable links. (Please note: pricing can be dynamic, so may vary slightly from what is listed here.)


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RACHIO SMART SPRINKLER CONTROL
$249.99 (controls 16 zones; rebates may be available from your utility company) from Rachio.com

This is not your granddaddy’s sprinkler timer! Rachio integrates data from national weather stations and can be linked to your own home weather station if you have one. This alone can help you water more efficiently. When you add in details specific to your yard and sprinkler zones – sun exposure, slope, vegetation, soil characteristics, and nozzle types – it becomes easy to enjoy a healthy yard while saving water. Web and smartphone interfaces allow you to set a schedule, control on the fly, or give access to your lawn care professional. Finally, Rachio’s real-time reporting tracks water use over time and lets you see how much you’ve saved.

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WEMO WIFI-ENABLED LIGHT SWITCH
$47.24 plus free shipping from Amazon.com

Easy to install and use, this sleek, modern-looking switch allows you to turn lights on or off from anywhere via the free WeMo app. It’s designed to work with your smartphone (Apple iOS 8 or higher; Android 4.1 or higher) and even interfaces with Amazon’s new hands-free voice-control Echo device. Set sunrise/sunset rules for true “set it and forget it” convenience.

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CROCK POT WIFI-ENABLED SLOW COOKER
$122.72 plus free shipping from Amazon.com

This is about as close to the food replicator device in Star Trek as we’ve ever come. Put in your ingredients, place the lid on top, and head out the door to work. Wait! You didn’t turn it on? No problem! You can start it, adjust cooking time or temperature, shift to warm, or turn off using the free WeMo app from your smart device. (Of course, it still has controls right on the slow cooker itself, if you’re into that kind of thing.) Features include the ability to receive reminders, use the timer to calculate cook times and process, or check on the status of your meal. 6-quart capacity, 3 heat settings, cool-touch handles and built-in cord storage. Dishwasher-safe stoneware and glass lid.

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NEATO BOTVAC CONNECTED
$699.99 plus free shipping from Amazon.com

Picture Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies. Got that image in your head? Now, say it along with me: “It’s a vacuum…with laser beams.” Seriously, though, it has laser beams to scan and map your rooms. This mapping and navigation includes real-time object detection, so it methodically cleans instead of just bumping around randomly. The D-shape design and CornerClever technology allow it to clean close to walls and into corners. Eco mode gives a longer, quieter, energy-saving clean, while Turbo mode provides super-powered cleaning with maximum hair pickup (great for those of us whose dogs shed enough hair to make another dog). The lithium-ion battery gives long-lasting power. Because Neato is wifi-connected, you can use the Neato app from anywhere to set cleaning routines or activate the vacuum and “drive” as needed. Neato will even send you notifications to let you know it’s done.

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IDEVICES IGRILL2 BLUETOOTH THERMOMETER
$78.53 plus free shipping from Amazon.com

Rare. Medium. Well done. “Cook until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.” How’s a cook to know? With the iGrill2 Bluetooth Thermometer, there’s no more guessing. Four probe capability to easily track more than one temperature at once including two pro-level meat probes to resist higher heat and steam. The device offers preset temperature alarms, or you can custom-set them in a range from -22° F (-30°C) to 572° F (300°C). Receive notifications on your smartphone anywhere in your home with its 150’ Bluetooth range. Magnetic mounting lets you place the monitor on the side of your grill, and the illuminated display means you can easily view temperature progression even when grilling after dark. Compatible with iOS devices (iPhone 4S+, iPad mini, iPad 3+ and iPod touch 5+) and most Bluetooth Smart Ready Android devices running 4.3+.

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