T4L: Christmas Home Automation

Have you considered giving your home a tech gift this Christmas?  Yes, that's right, relatives are not the only ones that would appreciate a gadget this holiday season.  Arguably your largest investment and likely the space in which you spend the most time relaxing would love to the added to your shopping list this season and more you give, the better it will be for you!

Door Locks
Start at the beginning.  Consider swapping out the traditional dead bolt lock on your front door with a wireless replacement like the Kwikset lock.   The form factor is remarkably similar to the traditional lock, it can be installed without special tools and it can work the a traditional key.

Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth Door Lock
But, wireless locks also work with 'digital keys' via a Bluetooth FOB or enabled mobile device.  As you approach the locked door, the lock and your device have a chat and the door is unlocked seamlessly, no physical intervention required.

Issue 'keys' to visiting relatives or service men that are coded to a limited window of time or unlock your door remotely when they appear at the front door.  If that is not cool enough, think of the piece of mind knowing that if you forget to lock your door while on vacay, the door is smart enough to lock itself!

Connected Bulbs
Speaking of smart, Phillips Hue has a line of remarkable bulbs which operate using WiFi.  Even competing brands let you install these special bulbs and configure them with an app to turn on, off or down on demand.  Convenience and security collide when connected bulbs provide ease of use and illumination to thwart potential criminals.  

The Hue has the additional feature of being able to be programmed to change colour and the range is practically speaking, limitless.

IP Camera
Similarly, IP or Internet cameras expand your viewable limits.  Watch the nanny, watch the kids, watch the valuables, watch whatever suits you with any Internet enabled device from across the road or across the world.

Adcnaed cameras like Logitech DropCam offer infrared for night viewing and motion sensors to double as a security camera.  Coupled with cloud storage, you can watch from afar and watch when you wish without missing any of the action.

eStore DET
Too much action not your thing?  No problem.  Invest in a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and set it to record all your favourite programmes as they air and then watch the content as you feel.  Local cable conglomerate, Flow, offers a range of DVRs, some of which can record multiple programmes airing simultaneously, record, store and playback hours of content, capture and play the content in HD and be programmed remotely to ensure you never miss a show.

Home automation can entertain and fascinate.  But to save money with automation, consider the Digital Engery Timer (DET) from JPS.  Set, forget and count on the savings when the DET is connected to the refrigerator and other large energy consumption device.  Really, it would be the best $3,500 you can spend for your home this Christmas.

RJR's Tech4Life airs every Wednesday morning at 8:15 AM.

T4L: 9 Tech Tips for Christmas

Tech4Life: Y330 vs DL750