My work generally keeps me out of the house during the day, so I am more and more frequently finding yellow notes stuck to my door, informing me that my parcel could not be delivered and that I should come pick it up from the nearest parcel shop.
In theory, I could open my door for a delivery remotely using my Nuki Smart Lock. But without contacting the deliverer, I can’t be sure that the person standing in front of my door is actually delivering a parcel. Ring Video Doorbell 2 now enables me to see who is at the door and even speak to the person if necessary. This means that I can tell the deliverer whether I will open the door remotely for them to slide the parcel through the gap or whether they can just leave the parcel on my doormat. Since Nuki can be integrated into the Ring app, I can even directly control my Nuki Smart Lock from the Ring app.
“Computer, activate the light on the bridge.” Captain Kirk must have used these or similar words on his first visit to the USS Enterprise. What was once considered a dream of the future has now turned into reality – thanks to Siri, Alexa, or the Google Assistant. But Amazon Alexa and the other language assistants are more than just voice-controlled light switches. For example, I created an entire multi-room music system using Amazon Echo components over the last year. Since Spotify is so convenient to use, I am finally listening to more music again, a real perk for me in everyday life.
I am especially excited by the possibility of integrating individual Smart Home gadgets into routines to automatically run smart functions. In the evening, I turn off the light in the living room through a voice command, my Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 locks the door, and the heating switches to night mode. On top of that, my window contacts and my indoor camera are activated.
The Hue Lightbar is one of the newest additions to the Philips Hue family. It enables dynamic, flexible indirect lighting and can be attached to the back of a TV, for example. This way, it turns every TV into an Ambilight system thanks to the Philips Hue Sync app. But due to its compact design, the Philips Lightbar is also easy to integrate into the room, where it can emit indirect light in the evening.
Nokia Sleep is a sleep tracker that you simply place under your mattress and won’t even notice when you’re sleeping. Based on your movements in your sleep, it recognises when you go to bed and at what time you are in a deep or light sleep phase. A simple index in the connected app gives you feedback on the duration and restfulness of your sleep.
Logging your sleep is not the Nokia Sleep’s only special feature – on top of that, it is also IFTTT-compatible. This means that you can connect your smart devices (sockets, lighting, Smart Lock, cameras, alarm system, and many more) to your sleep tracker and simply control them in your sleep.
Finally, I would like to mention a product that is not a Smart Home product in the proper sense but is still a lot of fun and also intended for interior use: the Propel Star Wars drone. To me, this “toy” is the equivalent of what a laser pointer is to a cat: the manifestation of the male instinct to play and hunt a single product. The formula behind this is easy to explain. You take a nearly indestructible mini drone, cloak it in a Star Wars design, and add a laser fighting system. You then stuff the whole thing into indescribable packaging that lights up and talks to you (at least in the collectors’ edition), and there you have it: a dream come true for every man’s inner child.
And let’s be honest. The themes of Star Wars, drones, and laser tag united in one product – what more could anyone (well, any man) want?
These are my five personal Smart Home or tech highlights. I hope I’ve managed to pique your interest in one or two of the products. Perhaps they’ll bring you everyday joy in the future too.
Nerd? Designer? Smart Home enthusiast? Probably a little bit of everything. I am fascinated by new technology, different ways of thinking, and cat videos. Trekkie? Warsie? I'd say about 30:70 – I don't like seeing things in black and white, although I'd make an exception for interior design.