4 New Smart Home Product Categories to Watch

Let’s face it: for years, smart home tech has been more about the potential than what it’s actually achieving at the moment. The learning curve has been steep (just ask the German computer science professor whose smart house was shut down by a single faulty light bulb more than a year ago). But now we’re finally entering the promised land: the time when smart home products are living up to their promised potential.

That potential is about far more than perfecting the art of the smart home thermostat, it’s about bringing smart technology to areas of the home we couldn’t have imagined. When we watched The Jetsons as kids, part of the charm of the home of the future was its unexpected conveniences.

Here, we’re looking at four examples of smart home technology that solve an unexpected problem and generally push the boundaries of what smart homes can do. The future is bright and unpredictable.

Smart Vents

Chances are, you first saw the term “smart vents” and had to pause for a moment to consider what on earth that meant. Here’s what they are in a nutshell: you replace at least a third of the vents in your home with automated smart vents, which you can control with an app.

What does that mean? Basically, it allows you to control the temperature of your home with even greater precision than just a smart home thermostat (like a Nest) does – though the system works with or without a smart thermostat. For example, when you’re trying to cool one room in particular, other vents in your home can partially close to direct more air in that direction.

Right now, this is still emerging smart home tech, with just two companies, Keen and Ecovent, making them. But improvements are coming rapidly. For example, after a disappointing first attempt, Keen’s system is already making huge strides. That progress makes smart vents a real product category to watch.

Smart Water Leak Detection

Smart Water Leak Detection

If you’ve never thought about how smart home technology could fight home water damage, chances are you’ve never had a serious water leak. A major leak can lead to thousands of dollars of damage. Small leaks can still waste 90 gallons or more a day without being easily detected.

There are two basic types of products here: those that stop at leak detection and those that can then shut off the water source to prevent major water damage. Full systems like Leaksmart can shut off your main water in five seconds, preventing a catastrophic leak. Both types of systems have mobile applications that allow you to monitor – or with the latter option, control – your home water system remotely.

The key here is using smart home tech to make issues like water leaks a thing of the past. Increased home heating efficiency or remote control of lights are exciting ways to improve your house, but eliminating a problem entirely really shows you what good smart home tech can do.

Smart Doorbells

Smart doorbells haven’t been around in the world of smart home tech for very long either, but they’re already beginning to impress reviewers with their latest generation. Why would you consider this particular piece of tech? It offers security and convenience: Being able to remotely answer your door, as well as monitor who comes and goes, can mean a lot for a busy family.

Integration with Amazon’s Alexa and Nest thermostats also means that you can give it hands-free commands if, say you’re cooking dinner. Integrating this system with a smart home lock could also allow you to answer your door and let someone in from anywhere with an internet connection. That means fewer hassles when you have houseguests or kids who love to lose their keys. All in all, this is a promising addition to the world of smart home technology.

Smart Blinds

Smart blinds

Discovering just how expensive good blings are is one of those things every homeowner has to confront at some point. But, if they’re lucky, they’ll also learn just how amazing great blings are. Smart blinds fit right into that idea. They’re pricey, no doubt, but they can also do a lot.

For example, geofencing can allow the blinds to adjust to pre-set settings when you leave or return. Integration with Alexa, Nest and Siri all allow for easy voice commands to control blinds throughout the house. What’s important to remember here is that good blinds don’t just mean adjusting the lighting in a room: they help with temperature control by deflecting or letting in warm sun when necessary. For example, Nest can automatically lower the blinds if it gets too hot in a room with a lot of direct sunlight.

Considering how much smart blinds have improved recently, this is certainly somewhere worth watching, or investing in, for your smart home.

The Future of Smart Home Tech

For any smart home enthusiast, these are exciting times. In terms of cost, features, integration and variety, the world of smart home technology is improving at breakneck speed. The question is what your next smart home investment will be. Which new product category are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.