Innovation

The top 5 home IoT essentials

Looking to make your home smarter? Here are five things you should know about.

The IoT is everywhere these days. If you're looking to bring it into your home, here are four devices to know about, and one way to get them to talk to each other:

1. IFTT. Stands for If This Then That. You'll hear a lot about platforms in this space but IFTT is a way to plug them all in. Whether you use its website or app, IFTT can let your GE Stove talk to your text messages and your August door lock. And all with easy to create recipes that anyone can make.

2. The Amazon Echo. This voice activated speaker can do more than play music and read you the weather. You can have it turn on your lights, adjust the thermostat, and more. It can even work with IFTT!

SEE: Amazon Alexa will now talk to GE's connected appliances in smart home push

3. The Nest thermostat. Eccobee is giving it a good run for its money, but I still find Nest to be the easiest smart thermostat. It learns your patterns, suggests adjustments to save on your utility bill, and works with the Echo and IFTT. You can have it do things like turn on the heater when your car gets close to home.

4. Philips Hue light bulbs. Again, LIFX bulbs are close, but Philips seems to be the leader in talking to all the platforms you need to for the lights to go on and off automatically or when you trigger something. They can even change colors for mood lighting.

5. The Ring video doorbell. It lets you see who's at the door and talk to them even if you're not home. And it can work with IFTT to flash the lights or mute your music when the doorbell rings. But it can't mute my dog's barking. Yet.

Also see:
CNET Smart Apartment (CNET)
How to create a smart, connected home without spending a fortune (ZDNet)
Apple's HomeKit, coming to a neighborhood near you: Housebuilders preparing for the rise of the smart home (ZDNet)
How your connected home or office is a gift for hackers, criminals, and cyber spies (ZDNet)

About Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox