“Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” “OK Google, set an alarm for 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.” “Hey, Siri, who was the 16th President?”
Many of us find ourselves starting queries like these on a daily basis — sometimes multiple times throughout the day. For some, it can be hard to imagine life without these personal assistants in our homes, ready to provide answers to practically any question imaginable and complete tasks on-demand. It is estimated that over 60 million U.S. households actively use smart home devices.
In addition to popular virtual speaker devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the extensive family of Apple products, smart home devices appear in many forms today. In recent years, various everyday appliances, ranging from thermostats and doorbells to ovens and toasters, have received the “smart” treatment. They can be controlled from anywhere at any time and are built on state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) platforms strategically designed to make our lives easier. These gadgets collect data and, over time, get to know their users on an individual level. Eventually, the devices can cater to their owners’ personal needs.
Smart home devices that save time and energy
- Smart doorbells allow homeowners to watch and speak to visitors via high-definition cameras and microphones.
- Smart locks let people enter their home or provide others with access without a traditional key. Smartphone apps, smart watches and key fobs wirelessly verify and mechanically unlock doors.
- Smart detectors sense the presence of excess moisture, smoke or carbon dioxide and alert the homeowner, even when they’re away. An alert is sent to the user’s smartphone so they can immediately call the fire department if necessary.
- Smart refrigerators allow users to see what’s in their fridge in real time, detect expiration dates of products, and even discover new recipes based on its current contents.
- Smart ovens, dishwashers, microwaves, toasters, and pressure cookers can be monitored, started, and turned off from anywhere in the home.
Around the home
- Smart TVs come with internet capabilities including the ability to stream videos and music, browse the web, and more.
- Smart thermostats automatically adjust heating and cooling settings in the home. They allow for better energy efficiencies and therefore lower bills.
- Smart vacuums navigate themselves throughout rooms in the home via obstacle and cliff sensors.
- Smart lighting systems allow users to modify the brightness and dimness of the lights, set automatic timers, and change colors.
- Smart cribs and bassinets perform a variety of tasks including playing soothing music when the baby cries, rocking the baby, and learning the baby’s sleep patterns.
This list only scratches the surface of the number of smart devices on the market. Others include smart toothbrushes, smart mattresses, smart eyeglasses, smart mirrors, and smart coffee makers.
Despite smart devices’ powerful ability to accomplish tasks with voice commands or a couple screen taps, there are still ways in which these tools can be manipulated by hackers. For this reason, it’s important to protect your devices by installing app updates and updating their security settings, including passwords and PINs, on a regular basis.
Protecting your home and belongings matters to us. The ultimate goal of smart home devices is to make life more convenient and ideally create a low-stress environment, but having the right home insurance is still crucial. To learn more about finding the best home insurance coverage, reach out to your local Rural Mutual agent.