Get smart: Six nifty gadgets for a connected home
Upgrade your home right now with these cool and practical gadgets.
There is so much cool technology for the home hitting the market lately that it’s easy to miss the latest and greatest gadgets as they become available.
Make your home smarter than ever with this technology that is available to buy right now.
The new Apple TV
Apple TV isn’t a television, but a small black device that you connect to your set. The original Apple TV was a game changer and the latest version, which is referred to as ‘the new Apple TV,’ upped the ante again in late 2015.
Apple TV allows for streaming of iTunes music, movies and TV shows, letting you ‘mirror’ what’s on your device using Airplay.
The new Apple TV. Photo: Apple press centre
The new Apple TV comes with a swipeable, voice activated remote control and features its own range of apps including games, weather and even educational programs that are specifically designed to be used on your television.
The new Apple TV starts at $268 for the 32GB version. The 64GB version will set you back $348.
Chromecast is similar to Apple TV, but suited for Android users.
This thumb sized gadget plugs into the HDMI port on your television and with a little help, connects itself to the internet. From there, on devices that are running Android 4.4.2 or higher, you can broadcast what’s on your phone or computer to your TV, using the Chromecast app as a remote control.
Chromecast will set you back around $49 and is available in most electronics stores.
Sonos speakers. Photo: Sonos Press Kit
This one is for all you music lovers out there. Sonos speakers connect wirelessly to an app on your phone, allowing you to play your favourite music all over the house.
Buy a speaker for each room and keep listening to songs as you move around the house or program different tracks to play.
Sonos can be set up for surround sound and even played through your television. The technology also provides options for connecting to your existing speakers.
Speakers start at $299. Buy Sonos from their website or from your local electronics store.
The days of fiddling around with security tape are long gone. Wireless security cameras allow you to watch everything that happens in and around your home via an app on your phone.
Look for a camera that is weather resistant and easy to set up. The best ones film in high definition, offer wide angle lenses with zoom capabilities and have built in microphones to capture sound. The technology exists to send you alerts or email notifications so that any disturbances can be immediately checked out and responded to.
Talk to your local home security expert to get the best recommendations on cameras for your home. Prices start as low as $250.
Smart energy trackers
These nifty devices show you in real time just how much energy you’re sucking from the grid. Gadgets like Power Tracker connect to an app and allow you to check your energy usage anytime and anywhere.
They’ll give you daily, weekly, monthly or annual information and in some cases let you control your devices when you’re out and about.
It’s not a complicated process to connect your home… and it can potentially save you hundreds on your electricity bill.
Remote control light switches
Tell the kids it's time to go to bed by dimming the lights in their rooms - without leaving the couch.
You will need a professional electrician to install your automatic light switch but once it is up and running, it will connect to your home and let you control your lights from your phone.
This can be beneficial to people who have security concerns who want to give the impression that they are around after hours.
These devices are just a preview of what’s to come for our homes. Coffee machines are on their way to becoming internet connected, as are fridges, microwaves and even toothbrushes.
With access to fast broadband over the nbn™ network, the possibilities for a connected home are endless. Check your address to see if you can connect to the nbn™ network.