Full disclosure. I am a complete, total tech geek. My first big tech purchase was the hot “personal digital assistant” Palm VII way back when I was 19 years old.
Some of you reading this probably have no idea what that is, but imagine if a GameBoy had apps, really, really slow internet connection and managed your calendar. That’s pretty much what the Palm VII was.
Fast forward to the grown up tech junkie that I am. I have not one – but two – personal voice assistants in my house. I use Amazon Alexa for connecting to my smart home devices and playing music, and use Google Home upstairs to tell me the weather in the morning and settle arguments with my wife about what actor was in which movie.
Among the real estate crowd, I know I’m not alone. I meet more real estate techies than ever who are aficionados in smart home technology, virtual reality and big data.
Your clients are catching on, too. The number of smart home devices installed in the United States is expected to increase from 42 million in 2017 to 244 million in 2022, according to a recent Forrester Research report. That’s a 480 percent increase over five years!
Perhaps the greatest advancement of home technology in 2017 is that our homes are transitioning from “smart” to “thoughtful.” Products are communicating with each other to a degree that transcends the novelty gadget label.
Take the smart home company Nest for example. The firm, which made its name off its smart thermostat, now integrates with 119 products.
The increasing number of smart home products that connect to one another have motivated even more people to hop on the smart home bandwagon. You no longer need to be techie to love smart home gadgets. So, based on my geeked-out interest in smart home tech, I’ve come up with three gadgets that work great as closing gifts or client recommendations, no matter how techie your clients are. (Bonus: in the spirit of collaboration, these all integrate with Nest.)
Belkin WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug
This plug makes any small appliance “smart,” meaning that it connects outlets, and the appliances they connect to, to the web, which allows you to control devices from the cloud. At only $35, it’s an affordable upgrade and a great gift. One of its best features is that you can control the plug from your phone, without blocking adjacent outlets. WeMo also works with Alexa and Google through voice commands, but we’re still waiting for Siri to catch-up.
Automatic Labs’ Connected Car Adapter
Who says smart home tech has to stay in the home? For just $99.95, you can get an auto adapter that provides auto safety while linking to your home’s smart home products. This adapter not only diagnoses engine issues and helps you remember where you parked, it can also link to your Nest thermostat while you are on your way home and prompt it to turn on your heating or cooling system to cozy up your home for arrival.
Yonomi mobile app
Finally, who doesn’t love a good app? This one rocks, and it’s free. Yonomi allows you to control hundreds of smart home devices from one place. It’s like having a personal assistant who takes care of everything before you wake up or walk in the door.
For example, you can create “routines” such as “work day wake up.” On work days, maybe you want motivational music, for the heat to turn on and coffee to be made — the app can help make that happen! There’s an iOS and Android version and it also has skills for Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
I know we’ve only scratched the surface, and with the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show coming up Jan. 9 – 12, we’re about to learn about a whole lot more. Find out more about these brands and catch us at CES where we’ll scour the show floor and dig up the best new tech for work and play, and report back to you.