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Today, technology is improving in leaps and bounds. What it means at home is impressive. Here’s how you can harness Bluetooth for at-home comfort.

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Convenience is always highly sought-after by tired, huddled masses. When it comes to life at home, the definition of “convenience” is changing all the time.

Today’s home offers us the ability to use devices powered by Bluetooth and internet connections. I’m less a fan of the latter, due to security and privacy reasons, but Bluetooth-controlled devices are allowing homeowners to control their environment to a finer degree than ever before.

Here are some ways you can smarten your house up with some Bluetooth.

Energy control

There are tons of pros to systems like the NEST thermostat. My friends who have one absolutely love it. With its digital brain, the NEST can “learn” how you like your place. It monitors actual temperature versus the temperature you select and can effectively predict what you want. It can learn a pattern of use too.

But if that’s not enough, it has an app so you can control it from wherever you are in the world. You’re enjoying a winter retreat in Barbados but just learned of a massive cold-snap due to hit where you live? Open the app and turn up the heat so your pipes don’t free over. Super!

Beyond that, you can monitor your usage more accurately, allowing you to change behaviors that might have your bills getting too pricy.

Entry systems

Remote entry changed cars forever, and it’s doing the same for homes too. There are many companies offering them now. It’s easy to scoff at the idea of remote entry for the home, but if you’re carrying in a ton of stuff, not having to fuss for your keys and the door would be great. Just open the app in the car, open your door, grab your stuff, and away you go.

But it could also be a real game-changer for people who have limited mobility. I can’t imagine how much easier life would’ve been when I blew my back or knee if I could’ve just opened up a phone app, pressed a button, and delivery drivers could come in and put my groceries in the kitchen, or whatever. There are so many elderly and injured folks who could really benefit from these systems.

Everything else

Here’s a neat new product to emerge in the last year — the Zuli plug. It plugs into your outlet, then you plug your appliance into it, and you can program behaviors into device via a phone app.

When you’ve got your phone on you, the app and the plug can track your movement in the home, modifying energy use accordingly. Say you’re watching TV while you’re cooking a great meal all night, resulting in frequent walks from the living room to the kitchen — you could set the TV volume to rise when you wander into the kitchen and have the volume fall when you return to the living room.

For lighting, you can skip other elaborate setups and even when the product has no dimmer, you can dim it through power regulating in the actual Zuli outlet, through your app, and lights can even brighten or dim according to your proximity. Phenomenal, again, for elderly or injured folks.

Turn to your tea kettle on remotely, adjust your heaters or fans — it’s all doable if it’s plugged into a Zuli outlet.

A similar concept is the Oort system. I’m not sure it’s as responsive for your movement through the home, but it also controls much of what you own, if you want it to.

A caveat

A lot of “smart” stuff, like TVs and fridges, now connect to the web. Some of them are voice-activated and there have been instances of private conversations being recorded. It’s important to know what you’re buying. Ask the company itself about privacy concerns. Do your research before you wire your home up.  To help, I wrote this article a while back that might give you some insight.

 

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.