man checking smart home features on apple watch

With the Internet being ubiquitous and the fact that everyone now carries a smart phone around makes some amazing, even “Star Trek” type of things possible. 

Imagine being on vacation and turning on your lights in the kitchen to make it seem you’re still at home?  How about turning up the temperature on your thermostat on your way home so it’s at the temperature you want by the time you arrive?  Forget to lock the front door before you left?  Lock it from your vacation resort! 

All of these things are now possible with a few simple, affordable devices and the Internet.

These types of devices centralize several home functions.  Locking and unlocking your doors remotely?  Use the Hub with something like the Kwikset Smartcode 916 Electronic Deadbolt.  This is a deadbolt that has has a keypad that allows for two extra numbers to be punched in before the real code in case someone you don’t want is looking or to avoid having fingerprint smudges give away the real keys.  It also allows for use of a regular key as well. 

There are thermostats (like the Ecobee3) you can install that can connect to the Internet and have an app that you install on your smartphone.  Many functions are possible from the app including temperature programming (setting a complete daily or weekly plan or simply changing the temperature at that moment), room temperature balancing or just on and off features.  Some are standalone and have their own apps and some connect and are used through smart home hubs.

Smart Hubs are also able to control lighting in any room or anywhere inside or outside, connected appliances (such as the Belkin Wemo Smart Slow Cooker), Garage Doors, Smoke Detectors and more.  They can provide alarms when things aren’t the way you want or give you control to change any settings you like.  You can connect to cameras so you can see who’s knocking at your door while you’re at the store or work or see what mischief the pets are into.

Much of this can be set up for less than you think.  Read more and see reviews of the best Smart Home Products of 2016 at CNET: