(BPT) - There was a time when setting up a smart home was a labor-intensive endeavor. You had to know which devices worked together, spend tedious days getting everything to work just right, then master complicated software to control the whole experience.
Things have changed. Nowadays, smart homes are more sophisticated than ever. You can set up your entire home right from your smartphone, and everything can be controlled by your voice.
That's right, you don't need to know any codes or remember any complex steps to reap the benefits of a smart home. Do you want to dim the lights for movie night, listen to your favorite album while cooking dinner or turn on the lawn sprinklers without leaving the couch? All you have to do is ask.
At the center of a smart home is a voice service like Amazon Alexa on the Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show, which allows you to control more than 1,000 devices using just your voice. You can connect to as many or as few smart devices as you want. Services like Alexa also let you access the latest news and weather, set reminders and even order dinner for the night.
For a sample of what's possible with a smart home, here are five devices that can lead you to a whole new home experience!
Wemo Mini Smart Plug. This Wi-Fi-enabled plug can transform almost every appliance in your home into a voice-enabled device. Plug your coffee maker, lamp or fan into it, then simply pair it with your voice service. With just a simple command like 'Alexa, start the coffee,' you'll soon smell the heavenly aromas of fresh-brewed java.
TP-Link Multicolor LED Bulb. There are light bulbs, and then there are smart bulbs. This LED bulb contains multiple colors, from warm reds to cool blues, plus hundreds of other shades and tints that allow you to light your space according to the mood or occasion, all through a simple voice command.
Neato Botvac. Not too many people like cleaning, so when they hear there's a Wi-Fi-enabled robot vacuum that automatically cleans floors for you, their ears perk up. Connect the Neato Botvac to your Amazon Alexa and voila, cleaning the floors is as easy as, 'Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning.'
Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat. Smart thermostats are wildly popular for the simple reason that they save homeowners money. If you forget to turn down the heat when you step out, you can do so from your smartphone. With sensors that manage hot and cold spots, easy programming features and more, this smart thermostat can save you an average of 23 percent on heating and cooling costs each year.
Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show. A smart home is not just about smart devices, it's also about making your life easier. For instance, if you're throwing a dinner party and want music to set the mood, just ask "Alexa, play jazz music." The same is true if you want to check the weather, order food for a night in or see what's on your calendar for the day. If you find you're out of laundry detergent or cooking oil, you can easily order by asking Alexa to have it delivered to your home. All you have to do is ask.
The beauty of a smart home is that you can pick and choose the features you want. Whether you want to clean, adjust the lighting or listen to your favorite song, with a voice service like Amazon Alexa and Amazon Echo, you'll experience convenience and the fruits of technology in a whole new way.