Increasing Your Smart Home’s IQ
The race is on to get homes looking smarter and sleeker. This was evidenced by the countless smart home solutions on display at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Not only did CES 2019 flaunt the latest and greatest smart home ideas, but this year’s show also featured the growing trend of uniting form and function. It’s becoming easier to integrate smart home solutions into the context of your home, creating a high-tech and high-style environment.
While security systems are nothing new, companies are starting to offer seamless designs that are less bulky and visually distracting. Wire-free options are now available such as the Ring Door View Cam, TP-Link’s video doorbell, and SimpliSafe security systems. These tools also offer easy control through your smartphone. The Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Enabled Deadbolt is another innovative smart home solution that requires no central hub technology. Rather, it can be managed through your smartphone, alongside Ring security systems through their app.
Companies like Ring and SmartThings can further provide security systems with sensors and lighting to ensure your home’s safety. Some of these companies have taken one step further in offering smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, as well as outdoor security lights that blend well into your home.
Internet security and safety is also a concern for many homeowners. The new Gryphon WiFi router protects homes from hackers and protects children from inappropriate content. An added benefit to this router is its design that easily trumps other routers. It can be integrated into your home without serving as an eyesore.
Smart Lighting in a Whole New Light
This past September we featured a post about the latest LED lighting technology has to offer, and CES 2019 proved that smart lighting is here to stay. Nanoleaf announced they will be releasing hexagon-shaped light panels in addition to the existing collection of square- and triangle-shaped panels. They can be customized for use throughout the home; they respond to touch, change colors, and are all controlled via Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. These light panels can add customizable ambiance and sophistication to any space in your home, including game rooms, offices, and home theaters.
Want a more nuanced and hidden lighting effect? Sengled, Eve, and TP-Link Kasa are companies that provide light strips, another lighting technology that continues to evolve. Users can control color, brightness, and intensity over individual sections or the strip as a whole. Sengled’s Smart LED Multicolor Lightstrip boasts more than 16 million color combinations, leaving endless options for home customization that may be more understated yet just as impressive as their light panel counterparts.
New Screens on the Scene
More smart home ideas include screens of all kinds, particularly in the form of televisions and tablets. 4K TV’s are currently considered the best money can buy. That is soon changing, though, as Samsung and Sony announced they will be offering 98-inch, 8K TVs later this year. These TVs will bring image quality and viewers’ experiences to a whole new level. Some may be more drawn to Samsung’s “The Wall” TV, which is now available in 75 and 219 inches, along with its previously released 146-inch edition. These televisions make perfect upgrades or additions to living rooms and home theaters.
The KitchenAid Smart Display was yet another smart home idea featured at CES that is sure to impress those wanting to add greater functionality into their homes. KitchenAid’s Smart Display functions like a tablet but meets the rigorous needs of a kitchen-safe device. Not only is it water resistant (IPX5-level so you can rinse it off in your sink), but it offers voice-activated controls through Google Assistant. Set timers, watch videos on the LED screen, and connect to the Yummly app to access their recipe database. It can also control other smart home devices in your home, such as sound and lighting. Though not available yet, this smart home solution should be available the second half of this year.
One last screen that truly sets the stage with regard to blending into your home is the Mui Smart Display. It’s unique in that it appears to be a simple piece of wood, but it’s actually a smart home hub. This is a piece that minimalists everywhere can utilize and display with pride. The Mui comes equipped with Google Assistant, so you can use your voice or the touch-sensitive display to control other smart home devices, play Spotify playlists, and display the time, weather, text messages, or temperature.
Photos: Jay Greene Photography
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
When creating a “smarter” home, some may be interested in integrating smart home solutions that blend into their surroundings. Today’s homeowners are having more opportunities to get creative through the use of hidden technology. You can have a coffee machine set up on a platform that remains hidden until activated for ready access. TVs can also be easily hidden in kitchen or bathroom counters, or even on dressers and shelving.
We featured the Samsung Frame TV in a previous post that fits the bill of subtlety in a different way – concealing the television screen in a sleek metallic frame, it shows whatever images or art you want to display when not in use. LG has taken hidden TVs in a different direction with their Signature OLED TV R. This 65-inch 4K HDR screen actually rolls up and down from an inconspicuous cabinet with three different levels of display depending on whether you want a full, line, or zero view. This TV offers another option for those who may not want their TV to be a focal point of the room but also prefer easy access when needed.
Other subtle smart home ideas provide quick changes with the press of a button. Retractable screens offer visibility for a view of the outdoors in porches, lanais, and patios while providing shade, fresh air, and the ability to control temperatures more easily. They remain out of sight while not in use and provide opportunities to blend outdoor and indoor spaces more seamlessly. Though not necessarily a newer technology, solutions like remote-controlled frosted windows also contribute to the personalization in a smart home. These windows can instantly add privacy in bathrooms without having to compromise access to natural light when you want it.
Whether you’re upgrading your home or building new construction, WPL Interior Design can help you take the next step in customizing your home with the latest smart home solutions. Contact us today and let us know how smart you want your home to be.