Easy Smart Home Introduction | 2021 Gadget Gift Guide

Our 2021 Easy Holiday Gadget Gift Guide that everyone can benefit from

Smart home integration doesn’t need to be complicated

The pandemic has changed life for everyone, and most of us are still finding ourselves spending far more time at home than ever before. Those that are leaving home may find themselves a little more anxious about being away. 

 

What better time to improve your day to day by integrating home automation and smart home technology? 

 

Smart home integration really doesn’t need to be complicated. There are a growing list of products making it easier than ever to connect to your home at all times.

 

(No smart home experience required)

bluebot

Universal Smart Water Meter

At the top of our list is our very own bluebot smart water meter.


Universally compatible, installs in minutes, no pipe cutting, water shutoff’s, plumbers or electricians required. Sub-metering supported, totalize and dollarize™ your flow, live and historic water usage data with no subscription required. iOS 14 required for installation.

Aside from the jaw-dropping water damage statistics across the US, and the constant reduction in the global availability of freshwater supply, monitoring your water provides peace of mind from everyday events that quickly turn into surprise water bills.

Whether you want to reduce your overall water usage footprint to help the environment, or simply keep a close eye on the usage throughout the month to avoid an unexpected water bill, bluebot gives you the data you need to achieve your water monitoring goals. 

 

During R&D of the bluebot hardware (before bluebot had its name), our engineering team lovingly referred to it as ‘the grandma meter’ — making this device so simple that anyone could use it. 

Photo: bluebot

We are proud to say that we have customers from all over the world, spanning multiple generations and skill levels that have successfully installed and are actively using bluebot to improve their relationship with our planet’s most precious resource. 

 

The bluebot hardware offers an industry-leading list of compatible pipe sizes and types – ¾” to 2” PEX, PE, Copper L & M, PVC SCH 40 & 80, Galvanized. While other meters pricing goes up as pipe size increases, bluebot is one size, one price. Simply clamp it on: no plumbers, professional installation, electricians, pipe cutting or water shut-off needed. 

 

The bluebot software offers an industry-leading level of data resolution, delivering over a million data points every month. Not to mention the 4 custom alerting functions, convenient sharing, live data (2s delay or less) and historic data (up to 1 year), all with no subscription fees. 

Ring

Stick Up Cam with Solar

Next up on our list for the gadget-lover in your life is the Ring Stick Up Cam (with solar). If you’re anything like us, we prefer low-maintenance gadgets — replacing batteries, waiting on and paying for professional installation to hardwire something in is not our cup of tea.


Installs in minutes, no battery maintenance needed, no hard-wiring needed. Easy sharing. Subscription recommended.

The Ring security camera has solved this (from our personal experience in California) with their Stick Up Cam and Solar panel solution. The camera is easy to connect to Wi-Fi through in-app guided setup, and the solar panel comes with a very generous cable length of 12’, allowing for nearly endless placement opportunities.

 

We installed two Stick Up Cams, connected them to the solar panels, and routed the cables nicely and the entire process took about 30 minutes. We’ve been using these cameras for over 6 months now, and the solar panels keep our batteries at 100%, even on the stormiest of days. We do pay for the “Plus” plan for our 3 Ring devices, which has proven to be very beneficial for our needs, but certainly isn’t necessary to the function of the device. 

 

We share all 3 devices across two accounts, and doing so was very easy. Having the Ring Stick Up Cams has been a tremendous peace of mind for when we hear a strange noise at night, or especially when we’re out of town. It allows us to confirm that our dog sitter is coming and going when they say they are, and for us to see all the wildlife that passes through our yard in the middle of the night.

Nest

Smart Thermostat

One of our favorite home additions is our Nest Smart Thermostat. I expected installation to be much more difficult than it was.

 

Prior to purchase, we performed their compatibility walkthrough and found the device that was compatible with our older home. We followed the guided instructions, and we had everything up and running within about 25 minutes

Our favorite feature is being able to adjust the heater from anywhere in the house – this is especially useful in multi-story homes like ours. We set a schedule and pay close attention to the green leaf for added energy savings (and our electricity bill has been much better this year as a result). 

From a product design standpoint, the hardware added to the look of our home, replacing our outdated HVAC control unit with a clean, modern smart home device.

Nest 3 Smart Thermostat. Photo: Google

While using the app interface is user friendly, I personally prefer using the actual hardware itself. The haptic feedback when you adjust the temperature or navigate through the settings is very pleasant. 

Hue

Smart Lighting

We’ve been using the Hue lighting for about 4 years now, and have upgraded to their next gen as well as their new light sync system.


Installation was straightforward, but depending on your accessories can be rather time consuming. For the standard bulb integration, it only took about 15 minutes.

The smart sync took significantly longer, and does experience some issues recognizing our devices at times (recent app/firmware updates have improved this), but when it does work, it’s honestly incredible – Mind blowing to say the least. 

The hue sync box goes in between your TV and your system (cable box, game system, etc.) via HDMI. The visual output is mimicked through the lighting, delivering an incredibly immersive experience for movies, gaming, and listening to music. 

Photo: Phillips Hue

Updating various systems through your home to smart devices can be intimidating, but these products have done a great job at making it approachable for just about anyone. 

 

App-guided installation paired with simple hardware functionality and pleasant app user experience delivers convenient smart home control without the fuss. 

 

 

What are your favorite smart home products?

Giving the gift of a more connected home has never been easier!

We’d love to hear from you about your personal experience with smart home technology! Are you an avid user with a fully integrated home, or have you just started considering your first smart home device? 

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