When implemented properly, smart home technology can add a level of security, comfort and entertainment to a home. Here are a few ideas on how to use smart home tech today.

In this weekly column, hosts Brandon Doyle, Doyle Real Estate Team with RE/MAX Results, and Colton Pratt, project manager, walk through smart-home products and showcase their capabilities while reviewing pros and cons. 

Whenever I’m talking about smart home technology, someone will argue that it is pointless or gimmicky. But when implemented properly, smart home technology should add a level of security, comfort, energy savings, convenience and entertainment.

Here are some of the top ways I’m currently using smart home technology in our home. Make sure to watch this week’s video for even more ideas and picks.

1. Voice assistants

I’m sure you’ve heard of voice assistants by now, but what you might not know is that you can use your voice assistant (like Echo devices) to set up different routines.

For example, you could turn on the lights, lower the shades, turn the fan on and play some nice music. You could set it up so you have certain things happen every day. Like you could get up in the morning and hear the news as the lights slowly come on.

2. Motion sensors

Another common thing people do with home automation is motion sensors. Motion sensors have been around for a long time. However, the problem with most motion sensors is the light comes on with maximum brightness, and often, it turns off while you’re still in the room.

Using a smart home setup, you can make it so that the light only comes on at a certain time of day and to your adjusted level.

3. Home security system

We also have our home security system set up so that, at night, the door automatically locks, and if the garage door is open, it’ll close.

A smart home security system arms and disarms automatically based on our location and time of day. Abode is great do-it-yourself option, as well as myQ garage door opener app.

4. Water sensors

Leaks can be very expensive. Say the water in our fridge started leaking and pooling underneath. A water sensor will trigger the EcoNet to turn off our water main valve. You could put water sensors underneath your fridge, dishwasher, washing machine or any sink in your house.

5. Smart vacuum

Smart vacuums can be set on a schedule, but with automations only triggered when you’re away and at a preset frequency. That way, you’ll avoid it starting up when you’re home — or worse yet, when there is a risk of dog poop on the floor!

6. Video doorbell

Now, say your friend or family member shows up, and you see them on your video doorbell. With an integration with your smart home lock, you can just hit a button within the app and allow them in.

What’s more, with a video doorbell such as Google Nest Hello, you can set up facial recognition, and it’ll play a customized alert on your smart speakers to let you know.

7. Smart hub

Smart hub uses our location to set mode on our thermostat, which also adjusts by occupancy and time of day. It also shuts off air-conditioning when windows or doors are left open. For this, we recommend Ecobee.

Stay tuned as we’ll be comparing Amazon Echo devices, robot vacuums and light strips in future videos.

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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