With the fallen leaves bagged and on the curb and that cool bite in the early morning air, November is upon us. It’s the month that hibernation starts to sound more and more appealing. The smart home represents an attempt to make the long hibernation not only bearable, but even delightful. Here are a few of our favourite items to smarten up your abode.
Sense by Hello
This attractive bedside device is designed to help you first understand both your sleep cycle and the environment in which you sleep and make the necessary adjustments to ensure that you’re getting the best rest possible. The device monitors how many times you move during the night as well as ambient noise, light, and even particulates in the air – all of which might be keeping you from getting the deep uninterrupted sleep you need. Each morning, the device sends a unique sleep score to your device and allows you to see what was happening in the room each time your sleep was disturbed. The Sense is scheduled to begin shipping in December.
Expected Retail Price: £79
GE Micro Kitchen
GE has come up with a novel way to fit all the refinements of a luxury kitchen suite into a single monoblock. Open the cabinets beneath the sink and you’ll find a dishwasher. Next to that, you’ll find fridge and freezer drawers. The final column contains an oven and an Advantium microwave, both of which dramatically reduce conventional cooking times. The six-foot long module also features an induction cooktop that heats almost instantaneously whatever is placed on it, freeing the user from the four-burner convention that has been with us for so long. The hefty price tag means this isn’t for everybody, but if space-saving in your kitchen is a must, this is as good as it gets.
Expected Retail Price: £9,300
Merely place the simple-to-use and highly intuitive Canary on any surface in the centre of your home, plug it in, and sync it with your mobile – the device does the rest. It monitors your home when you can’t be there, or (if the user reviews are any indication) it can be used as a nursery monitor. The sleek device contains a bevy of sensors ranging from an HD camera equipped with night vision to motion detectors and ultra-sensitive microphones. The Canary learns the rhythms of your home and sends alerts to your mobile device any time it registers anything out of the ordinary. The device proved so attractive that it sold out almost immediately upon its release. Don’t worry. The manufacturers have promised a second round for hungry consumers very soon.
Retail Price: £159
August Smart Lock
If you’re still hiding a spare key under the planter or the welcome mat, it might be time to look at a more intelligent solution. The August Smart Lock syncs your deadbolt with however many mobile devices you wish. If you can’t be there to let in a tradesman or an out-of-town visitor, you can grant them permission (removable at any time) to enter your apartment. The mobile app alerts you when they arrive and when they leave. Adding or removing new keys is a cinch, and you’ll never be stuck trying to get a key back from an acquaintance or roommate who is no longer welcome. Best of all, no fumbling with keys in the dark; the device senses your approach and unlocks your door automatically.
Expected Retail Price: £159 (November release)
Samsung M3 Wireless Multi-Room Speakers
Multi-room audio has been a feature in plenty of top-shelf smart homes, but wiring every room in the house for sound (especially when that sound emerges from a single source) has required a fair amount of spadework for consumers – most of whom hire an electrician to run wires behind walls or as inconspicuously as possible. Samsung has introduced a line of high-quality wireless speakers that remove this burdensome requirement. You can stream music from your device, from internet radio stations or streaming services, or, best of all, you can run it from your hi-fi system, which means that even vinyl lovers can enjoy their favourite records in whatever room they happen to be in.
Retail Price: £159
Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
Sous vide cooking is rapidly becoming the cooking method of choice for those with exacting palates. The process is relatively simple: seal the food in a durable and airtight plastic bag and immerse the bag in boiling water. The flavourful juices that are normally lost during the cooking process are sealed in, and the end product is succulent and evenly cooked. Anova’s Immersion Circulator makes this technology easy to use, even for inexperienced chefs. A word to the wise: sous vide cooking is not convenience based; it is a slow process, but the results are definitely worthwhile.
Retail Price: £129