In honor of Earth Week, we spent some time looking for cool tools and tech that is making a difference not only in our lives, but to the world as a whole – by saving energy and natural resources. The one thing that came to mind was home automation – the automatic electronic control of household features, activities and appliances. In recent years there have been incredible strides in the direction of “connected homes”. In 2013 there were 1.48 million US households with smart home systems and that number is expected to rise to 15.03 million connected homes by 2019. The connected home was given a lot of attention at both CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and SXSW this year, but there is one complication. As TechCrunch put it – if connected homes are to become more mainstream they have to “shift from nerds to normals.” One critical aspect of that shift is making connected home products more user friendly so even the not-so-technologically-inclined can install and control their connected home devices. The other is expanding the use of the connected home to the office. To that point, Staples recently took a huge step in the right direction by releasing the D-Link Staples Connect Hub. This hub allows you to hook up all your connected devices and control them all from one hub, via one app. I recently got my hands on one of the Connect devices so I could try it out in my home. Now, let me be clear. While I am a ‘technology evangelist’, the closest I’ve ever come to ‘home automation’ is using a video camera connected to an app. So, as you can imagine, I was pretty excited to see how much more I could do in my home, with a video camera, door / window sensor and other products. Check out a quick video of my thoughts on the Connect hub below: So, as you can see in the video, it’s pretty simple to get started with this device! I just opened the box, connected the Ethernet and power cables to the Staples Connect Hub and then downloaded the app and opened up one of the monitoring accessories, a door/window sensor. Setting up the app is a matter of configuring some settings – very similar to setting up your Bluetooth headset – and “pairing” the sensor with the hub. After a few resets of the device (taking the battery in and out) and configuring the app, I was up and running. When the sensor sensed that a door (or window) was opened, I was emailed a notification and sent a message via the Staples Connect app.
In three easy steps you can have all of your connected devices and you are ready to control them all with just one app, versus having a separate app for each. It also works with ALL the top brands of smart electronics, so it doesn’t matter if your security system is from First Alert and your temperature is controlled by a Honeywell thermostat and your home is lit with Philips automation lighting. The Staples Connect hub can connect to all of your various devices, then allow you to control them easily with the free app. The Staples Connect hub can control all types of connected electronics. For example, it can:
- Unlock doors
- Turn lights on, off, or dim the lights
- Raise and lower blinds
- Control the fireplace
- Control web cams and security cameras
- Adjust the thermostat
- And so much more
With all the connected devices that are emerging on the market right now, the possibilities are endless. Having touch-of-a-button control over your home or office can help improve safety, monitoring and environmental control. Speaking of environmental control, buy automating it, it can help you save money at your home or small business.