2017 was the year that brought smart home tech to the masses. Now, more than ever, you can get your hands on some awesome sci-fi technology with a click of a button or a trip to the shops.
From robot vacuum cleaners, new-wave security guards and (very) smart speakers, if you get the right mix, you can be surrounded by some truly impressive gadgets. We trawled through the plethora of options to find the best (and most useful) technology from 2017.
The Nest Cam IQ is perfect for security conscious smartphone users as it allows you to keep an eye on your home when you’re not there. It has also been particularly popular among families wanting to keep an eye on elderly or vulnerable relatives in their home. Gone are the days when big money was splashed on professional security camera installation. Now all you need is an app and this camera – that looks a bit like Stephen Spielberg’s ET – sitting nicely on your shelf in order to surveil your sanctuary from anywhere in the world.
Essentially, this is keyless entry for your home, but August lets you leave your existing lock in place. August released its third generation earlier this year, and it’s cheaper, smaller and has a new feature called DoorSense; a sensor that can be installed next to your lock that tells you if your door is open or closed. These are great for making you feel safe, as you can simply check the app to see if the door is locked from anywhere.
The trail-blazing gadget is back in 2017 and is sleeker, smarter and cheaper than ever before. Not only can you listen to music, make calls, check the weather, get news updates and set alarms, when connected to the right add-ons, this device can be used to control pretty much every aspect of a smart home. With a simple voice command, you can control compatible smart lights, switches, TVs, thermostats and more.
Launched by Ikea in April, these are slightly cheaper and very similar to the long-standing leader in this market, the Philips Hue lightbulbs. In summary, they are LED bulbs that connect effortlessly to a wireless bridge, a remote and smartphone app access, but Ikea’s offering is noticeably simpler.
This future-facing thermostat allows you to control the temperature of your home from wherever you are. The device links to your boiler and, using the dedicated app, you can raise or lower the temperature on the go. Getting home and immediately bundling on a jumper to watch TV is a thing of the past! You can also set schedules and request energy summaries each month if you want. If you want a total hands-off approach, the device monitor your usage over the first few days and will note when you turn the heating up and down and will make a schedule automatically!
Say goodbye to those awkward moments where you find yourself peaking out from behind the curtains or hiding behind the sofa. This Wi-Fi enabled doorbell allows users to see, hear and speak to anyone who arrives at their pad via phone, tablet or desktop. There’s HD video, night vision and two way audio.
Ever heard of interactive cleaning maps and greater third-party integration? Neither had we until this robot whizzed into the vacuum cleaner market at the start of the year. The Botvac D7 is stronger and smarter than it’s predecessor and, even better, it integrates with Amazon Echo. It uses laser navigation to scan multiple rooms and plan the quickest way to clean up (even in the dark) so no crumb is safe. The FloorPlanner map system is accessible through an app, allows owners to designate “no go” areas, without having to use physical objects, such as a baby gate.
Although a smart plug doesn’t sound like the most exciting smart home gadget, it’s actually pretty cool and can save you some money (if you use it right). This gizmo slots into your regular wall plug and acts as buffer between the plug and your electrical’s plug. Now, you can connect to your smart home and turn devices on and off with just your voice. Pretty cool, right? In addition, you the gadget also monitors electricity consumption so you can keep an eye on how much electricity you are using and make a call on if you’re using too much.
One pretty exclusively for the pet owners, here. Furbo is the answer to the question ‘what does my dog do when I’m not there?’ It’s not quite as essential as the rest of the items on this list, but for any dog owner, this is probably the one they’d go for first. The Furbo is a smart dog camera which lets you watch, listen and speak to you pet when they are in front of the camera. Not content with putting a smile on your face, you can also tell Furbo to give your dog a treat, right from the app! Genius!
All prices are correct at time of publishing.