Technology is fast becoming the beating heart of the modern home. The smart home has finally become accessible and friendly enough for anyone to install and operate. Many of these home tech products make home life easier, safer, and more fun.
Hottest Trends and Products in Home Tech for 2020
First, Meet the New Wi-Fi
Now that more of us are spending a lot more time at home, our Wi-Fi networks have been stretched to the gills. In April, the FCC opened up a new frequency band for Wi-Fi that will ease the traffic and increase speeds for home tech. Look for products using the new 6GHz “lane” by this summer.
When most people think of smart speakers, they think of voice controllers like Alexa. Sonos thinks of smart speakers as Hi-Fi. Their latest-generation wireless models can tune their response to the room they’re installed in and stream both master-quality high-resolution music and Dolby Atmos for movies.
In 2013, Ring disrupted the home security business with a DIY-friendly video doorbell and cheap monthly monitoring fees. Now the next disruption has come from Eufy, which does away with the monitoring fees altogether, making home video security and ongoing video storage a one-time purchase.
Biometrics Come Home
For a while, facial detection was assumed to be the next hot technology for smart locks, but for residential settings, biometric access control has become state-of-the-art. Products like Kwikset’s new Halo Touch use a thumbprint scanner instead of a keypad or smartphone for entry. It remembers 100 fingerprints and can define 50 user profiles.
Most technologies for home tech water systems focus on flood prevention. Kohler is taking the concept of “smart water” one step further with the Aquifer Refine. It’s a Wi-Fi-connected water purification system that fits under the sink that can also detect leaks, monitor household water consumption, and let you know when it’s time to change filters.
Lighting was one of the earliest smart home tech applications, and now it’s the most mature. There are plentiful choices between both smart bulbs and smart light controllers that use conventional bulbs. Philips has been the most active company in the former category with its Hue line, which has now expanded into smart outdoor lighting that’s completely plug and play.
Kitchens are being inundated with everything “smart,” so it’s hardly a surprise that counters are running out of room to hold a recipe. Using a tablet or smartphone to cook along with is a messy affair, but one that’s neatly solved by the GE Kitchen Hub. It’s a combination touchscreen and exhaust system that mounts above the stove. You can access 5,000 recipes at eye level and also upload your own favorites. You can even carry on a video chat while you cook.
LG is moving the concept of smart appliances to the next level by using artificial intelligence for its ThinQ line. It knows what items you have in your fridge and shows recipes using those ingredients. It recognizes your clothing and adjusts washer and dryer settings for those fabrics. ThinQ gets even smarter over time through machine learning.
Wearables and driverless cars may get all the headlines, but home is where the home tech is and is likely to be for the foreseeable future!