Homeowners have long been able to improve their properties by adding sophisticated electronic components to their residences. Apartment dwellers, on the other hand, were stuck with limited options because it wasn’t worthwhile to purchase expensive equipment, get permission to install it, only to face difficulties transferring their gear when they moved to a new place.
The times are changing, though, because the devices available for purchase today are mostly small and relatively inexpensive – and they can be easily installed, uninstalled, reconfigured, repurposed and moved with ease! Smart devices are capable of automating a number of different elements around your apartment including thermostats, security systems, lights, and locks, and most of them offer remote functionality and control. Let’s examine the features of some of the most useful home automation devices on the market now or coming soon.
- Smart home products make daily living easier for ordinary human beings, but there are some devices designed to cater to the non-human members of your household as well. Use the Petmate Portion Right Programmable Food Dispenser to make mealtimes a breeze for your animal companion. It will automatically dispense preset quantities of food on a set schedule so that your pet neither starves nor becomes obese. Now you won’t have to worry about who’ll feed Rover if you think you’ll arrive at home a bit late one day. You can purchase this peace of mind for around $80.
- The iSmartAlarm is a customizable configuration of hubs, cameras, motion sensors, contact sensors, smart electrical outlets and other hardware that all works together to keep you safe. Packages start at $199, which is probably the best one for a small apartment, and increase in price as you add more components. The various parts of the system gather information about activities in the apartment and alert the CubeOne hub, which is capable of sounding an 110-decibel siren.
- Make your lighting setup smarter and more responsive with the Philips Hue Connected Bulb. For about $199, you’ll get three bulbs and a hub called the Hue Bridge. The lights use LED technology to cut back on energy consumption, and they can change color. You’ll be able to set up preset lighting configurations and switch between them instantly. Philips has opened up Hue Bulbs to independent app development, so maybe someone will create software that will make it a must-have home accessory.
- The Smarter Coffee machine allows you to brew up a pot of delicious, aromatic, caffeinated awesomeness whenever you choose. You can have it automatically deliver up to 12 cups worth of coffee at a time on a preprogrammed schedule, but it will also learn your personal routines and suggest times when you might need a little pick-me-up. The Smarter Coffee machine, including a Smarter Carafe, will run you $199.95 and will come on the market in March.
- For $249, you can tailor the temperatures in your home with the Ecobee3 smart thermostat. It uses up to 32 sensors located around your apartment to determine conditions in every part of your living quarters. It knows when you’re at home or away and will act to conserve energy when rooms are not being used. It’s compatible with the overwhelming majority of residential HVAC systems.
- Even if your existing appliances are old-school, “dumb” products, you can make them act intelligently through the installation of Ankuoo NEO smart plugs. They’ll plug into your regular electrical outlets to put your devices on a schedule and enable remote control. There are even anti-theft safeguards incorporated into these plugs. More advanced models from Ankuoo can monitor your power usage and allow you to view relevant statistics. The NEO costs $37 each.
- Samsung’s SmartThings Hub doesn’t do much on its own, but it can connect with hundreds of devices from such diverse manufacturers as Honeywell, First Alert, Bose and others along with products made by Samsung itself. Costing just $99, the Hub is able to tie together a broad spectrum of interconnecting parts, which can include door locks, lights, sensors and more. You can thus use it for almost any application you can think of, including alerting you to the location of your children, finding your missing keys and informing you when there’s an intruder.
Almost all of these solutions come with apps for Apple iOS devices as well as Android systems. You can access them from afar with your smartphone or tablet, making your apartment a high-tech, connected space. While the wealthy can spend tens of thousands of dollars sampling what’s out there, even renters of humbler means can focus on one or two key smart home gadgets to make their lifestyles more convenient!
If history is any guide, we’ll all probably be able to afford quite a bit of home automation devices in coming years as prices drop. Looking for more smart home products perfect for an apartment? Check out the Simply Camden blog post, Is Your Home Smarter than a 5th Grader? 10 Products that can turn your Apartment Home into a Smart Home.