INNOVATIVE TECH FOR EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE
BY DAVID AVERBACH
Smart Homes Aren’t Cheap:
I struggled to find budget-friendly
items for this roundup. For example,
a smart lightbulb costs roughly ten times
that of a standard lightbulb. Some devices
in this category, such as smart thermostats,
can save you money in the long run; but for
most smart home devices, you’re paying a
premium for convenience.
Make HomeKit Compatibility a
Priority: HomeKit makes smart
home accessories much easier to
use. Rather than having to use a separate
app for each accessory, you can control all
of them from the Home app. You can also
create automation that involves multiple de-
vices. Most importantly, you can use Siri to
control your devices so that you don’t need
to constantly be on your phone.
Smart Accessories Are Better
Together: Smart home accessories
create a synergy—the more you
own, the more useful they become. With a
house full of smart lights, you can tell Siri
to turn off all the lights at once. If you add
in multiple types of devices, you can create
even more synergy. I have my smart home
set up so that when I say goodnight to Siri,
it turns off all the lights, locks the front door,
and adjusts my thermostat.
These Are Early Days: While smart
home accessories have come a long
way, they’re still far from perfect.
Even the products on this list can be
complicated to install and will malfunction
on occasion. At times, it can feel like whatever convenience is achieved is countered
by the hassle of troubleshooting them.
Between the high price and the finicky
nature of these devices, most smart home
accessories are still best suited for early
adopters who enjoy having the latest technology rather than everyday consumers who
don’t want to deal with setting up and
learning how to use new tech.
HomePod Smart Speaker ($349)
I’ve owned Apple’s smart speaker since its release in February of 2018. For most
of that time, I’ve primarily used the HomePod in the same way I would any other
wireless speaker. While it has excellent sound quality, it has a limited feature set
compared to the Amazon Echo ($99.99), and I hadn’t found it useful in my day-to-day life. Once I set up my smart home though, that completely changed. The
HomePod is now the command center for controlling every HomeKit-compatible
device in my house. I also own an Amazon Echo, and I was surprised to find HomeKit to be much easier to set up and use than Amazon’s smart home integrations.
The Echo was difficult to set up and fails to execute my smart home commands at
least half of the time.