Smart Homes — The Technologies of a Modern Lifestyle
Smart homes are becoming mainstream as Bay Area citizens grow increasingly eager to reduce their carbon footprint, secure their homes, and generally make life easier. Driven by recent tech advances such as neural networks, it’s now easier and more enjoyable to create a sustainable, secure modern lifestyle in your home. Here are our picks for the best smart-home products of 2018.
BEST HOME BATTERY: TESLA POWERWALL
Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium ion battery that stores excess solar energy produced by your residential system on sunny days and makes it available on demand later on. The Powerwall can store 13.5 kWh of energy and provide 5 kWh of continuous power — up to 7 kWh at peak. Controlled by a user-friendly app, you can check your energy consumption and production. Powerwall is a smart tool that can detect outages, disconnect your home from the grid, and restore backup power.
READ MORE: tesla.com/powerwall
BEST SECURITY SYSTEM: RING
Home security is getting smarter with Ring, letting you keep an eye on your home from anywhere via your smartphone. This state-of-the-art security system has the same features you expect from a traditional security system: motion-activated lights, security cameras, and alarms. Using advanced technology to connect all of these components, and enable you to view and operate the system from anywhere, propels Ring’s home security into the future. You can customize the components to suit your home, with a connected system of strategically placed sensors and cameras that let you quick-view any suspicious activity in real time. For 2018, Ring is boasting spotlight cams that enable siren alarms and ultra-bright LEDs that are activated when your property is breached.
READ MORE: ring.com/2018
BEST HOME AUTOMATION: NEST
In the home automation category, Nest’s energy-saving thermostats aren’t just sustainable-minded; they’re beautiful. And unlike typical thermostats that require patience and intelligence to program, they rely on machine-learning technology to get to know your home and its needs, making adjustments as seasons shift. Nest claims that this smart tech saves homeowners an average of 10 to 12 percent on their heating bills a year, and 15 percent on cooling bills. Nest thermostats are easy to install, ENERGY STAR certified, and quite chic.
READ MORE: nest.com/thermostats
BEST VIRTUAL ASSISTANT: GOOGLE HOME
At CES, the highly respected annual technology show, Google Assistant was a big winner for 2018. Google’s assistant technology is embedded in many of the company’s products, including an impressive suite of Google Home devices. Use Google Home to lower your thermostat when you’re not there, send music to your speakers, or remind you of your next meeting — all with voice command. Perhaps best of all, it integrates with other Google services you might use, such as Google Calendar and Gmail. Google is planning some impressive new features for 2018 that should make the product even handier. One such feature, Routines, will let you program in a list of tasks that should occur with a single voice command. For instance, “I’m home” could command Home to turn on the lights, turn up the thermostat, fire up a playlist, and queue up a list of chores to complete. Stay tuned for more from Google.