Smart vacuum cleaning the living room floor.

Home Automation to Make Life Simpler

Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team

Dive into home automation with your own personal flair. These smart home ideas give you a different approach to creating a cool home of the future customized to your needs.

If you like thinking outside of the box — we’ve got some ideas for you. With the Internet of Things (IoT) on the cusp of being in every household, now is the time to be an early adopter of home automation products. Make your home even more connected, simplify your life, and maybe even impress your friends with these super-innovative home automation gadgets.

Smart Home Technology around the House

Sure, having smart home technology on your side can make your home safer with smoke detectors, water/flood detectors and security systems. They might even earn you a discount on your homeowners insurance. But being smart is about more than just detectors. Take things to the next level with these savvy gadgets.

Smart light bulbs. If you haven’t made the leap to smart light bulbs, now’s the time. Initially smart bulbs gave you control over brightness. Today there are versions that let you control the ambiance with color-changing options, have voice activated controls, a master hub, and, perhaps most importantly, help monitor your energy consumption so you have more control over your energy bills. Here’s more about how products like smart lights can help improve energy efficiency.

Smart outlets. These brainy little devices look a lot like an extension plug. You can pop one right into your outlet, follow a few instructions online and you’ve suddenly turned it into a smart outlet. Once installed, you can control any device plugged into it from your phone.

Robot vacuum. Not a fan of housework? Get a robot to do it. A smart vacuum can take care of the work while you’re sleeping, at work or enjoying some much-needed couch time. Most smart vacuums can be controlled from your smartphone and some even work with Alexa voice commands. Just start the vacuum up and cross that chore off the to-do list!

Automated blinds. Technology has even made blinds exciting — now you can control your blinds with the convenient touch of a button or sound of your voice! But why invest in automated blinds? Consider this: You can create the appearance of someone being at home even when you’re away, you can set a timer to close your blinds when you want to protect your privacy, and by being strategic, you can save money on AC costs by setting your blinds to close during hot days, therefore reducing the strain on your air conditioner. Plus, automated blinds are just cool and give your home that quintessential smart-home touch.

Home Automation in the Kitchen

Your kitchen is the hub of your house and the place where friends and family gather. With a few simple upgrades, you can turn your kitchen into one of the future. From coffee makers to crockpots, check out these smart home technology options.

Coffee makers. It can be hard to get out of a comfy bed in the morning, but a smart coffee pot makes your wake-up call a little easier. Coffee makers with WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities allow you to brew a fresh cup of Joe without stepping a foot out of bed. Just fill the grinds the night before, set the timer and wake up to the scent of motivation!

Smart refrigerators. Introducing the refrigerator that reminds you when you need milk! Smart fridges are becoming more and more popular for the convenience and efficiency they offer. Some have the capability to place food orders, remind you when products are running low, and thanks to advanced cameras, you can view its contents on your phone so, no matter where you are, you can track what you need at the grocery store. There are smart fridges that suggest recipe ideas, alert you when a product is expiring and you can create shopping lists right on the fridge that’ll send to your smartphone. With a smart fridge, it’s all about making the day to day that much easier.

Crockpot two ways. Once the smart home technology of its day, generations have used a crockpot to make cooking meals easier. Now, crockpots can have Wi-Fi connectivity letting you control the time, temperature, and turning it on and off — all from an app on your phone. Mixing control and convenience with your slow roasted tenderloin never tasted so good!

Smart fork. Okay, this might be more fun than function, but the smart fork is here. It tracks how many mouthfuls you take and how fast you take them, and it’ll alert you when it senses that you’re eating too quickly. The objective: The slower you eat, the faster you feel full and ultimately you’ll eat less. The smart fork connects with an app on your smartphone and includes tracking information and workout objectives. If you need a little boost in adopting better eating habits, why not let your fork help?

Smart laundry. Ok, so this isn’t exactly a kitchen appliance, but it’s smart nonetheless. A smart washer and dryer is not only attractive because you can download custom cycles and enjoy convenient remote monitoring of your devices, but you can save money with their energy-saving features. For instance, some dryers can detect when your clothes are dry and it’ll shut the dryer off, meaning your dryer isn’t running when it doesn’t need to be.

Get Comfortable with Home Automation

Of course, having smart technology is great when it helps out around the house, but wouldn’t it be nice if these conveniences also made life a little more comfortable? We’ve discovered a few home automation devices that can do just that.

Sleep machine. Who doesn’t need a better night’s sleep? An ambient noise sleep machine might be your solution to a more restful night. By adding Wi-Fi connectivity, you never have to get out of bed to make adjustments — just hit your screen and slip into sleep. Nighty, night!

Smart mattress. The idea of a great night’s sleep is just so tantalizing, what about adding a smart mattress to the mix? There are a variety of mattresses available that can do just about everything— customize your temperature, track your sleep patterns, even wake you up in the morning.

Sweet smart smells. Every home has its own unique smell — do you know what yours smells like? How about tropical packed with a coconut-y punch? Or maybe it depends on the season. With Moodo, all you have to do is tell it which of the pre-loaded scents to spray and your nose does the rest.

Smart shower. Get clean, relaxed and rejuvenated, all from the comfort of your own shower. With a smart shower, the temperature and pressure is always just right. You can get models that include mood lighting and music to amplify your enjoyment. And, to top it all off, you can save water too — now that’s smart!

Smart Home Technology for the Outside

Now that you know how to equip your home with some smart-tech love, let’s take a look at how the outside of your home can benefit as well. These genius smart home ideas are just a few ways to incorporate automation into your outdoor environment.

Gardening sensor. Knowing what’s happening in the soil can help you transform your backyard into a jaw-dropping garden wonderland. Using a garden sensor to learn when and how much to water, soil nutrition needs and weather concerns gives you that green-thumb edge you need.

Irrigation and lighting. Take it a step further and control your entire yard with a smart device. Watch and water your lawn from afar. Turn on your outdoor lighting to create a welcoming atmosphere for friends or a well-lit one that discourages thieves.

Robot lawnmower. Why sweat and strain pushing a lawnmower? Or spend your time being jostled around on a riding mower? Now you can let the mower do all the work for you. This is set-it-and-forget-it technology that keeps your lawn in tip-top shape.

With smart technology becoming ever more popular, there’s bound to be one way or another that home automation can help make your life just a little easier. No matter what technology you install, be sure to connect with your American Family agent (Opens in a new tab) to learn about protecting your smart home investment — and don’t forget to check if you qualify for a discount on your homeowners insurance.

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