Summer is winding down and that means the return to the classroom just around the corner, however, the school supply list isn't the only way to prep for the upcoming academic year. Outfitting your residence with smart home gadgets can make the busy back-to-school-season easier for the whole family. Does your student walk home from school? A digital smart lock can be a lifesaver if your child ever loses his or her house keys. Don't want your child fiddling with the air conditioner after coming home from soccer practice?
Editors' note, October 4, 2016: This piece has been updated after Google's event showcasing new details of the Home. Google announced the Google Home in May. After its October 4th launch event, the company showed the always-listening virtual assistant in detail, complete with lots of highlights of how Google Home can best its primary competition -- the Amazon Echo. Just like with Echo, you can use your voice to tell Home to add an event to your calendar, set the temperature of your thermostat, or stream your favorite song. Google's three part strategy to take Alexa down a peg.
Amazon's Echo has long ruled the smart home market, but Google Home's recent updates make it a contender for the top slot. The smart home market is evolving faster than you can say "third-party device," and the competition between these heavyweight companies is good for your wallet. Understanding the pros and cons of each platform is essential, especially when integrating home security devices.
The smart home assistant battle has shifted. No longer is it about how well your speaker can understand what you're saying, it's about how many devices can understand what it's telling them to do. And Google Assistant just made a big leap in that department. Google has announced that Assistant can connect with more than 5,000 devices for your home, an increase of nearly 250 percent from January's 1,500 devices. That includes many of Google's own devices such as Chromecast, Nest thermostats and cameras, as well as popular smart home devices from a variety of manufacturers.
The home is becoming more and more connected, and there are a ton of devices out there aimed specifically at making it more convenient to control lighting and appliances. But connected devices can do more than simply make things a little more convenient -- they can also help keep you and your home safe and sound. There are a ton of smart security products out there, all aimed at tracking and recording your home, specifically at night and when you're not at the home. There are cameras, window and door monitors, alarms, and more -- and all can be used in conjunction with a smartphone app and sometimes with other smart home devices. If you're in the market for some smart home security products, there are a few things you should consider.