Five Easy Ways To Add A Bit of Smart to Your Home

by Aeryn Lynne

The great thing about adding smart to your home, is that you don’t have to commit to huge changes. Subscribing to the ultimate in home security, that lets you watch your dog raid your garbage on a tablet while you’re at work is an awesome feature, but it’s not the be-all in smart-home technology. There are less intrusive, easily affordable ways to upgrade your home so that your home becomes more compatible with everyday tech that you use.

Time to Level Up Your Smart Home

It used to be that we’d just have to make sure the household’s lonely desktop computer was virus free; that the kids hadn’t busted up the inside of the VCR too much with their Hot Wheels; and finding Ethernet cables long enough to staple along the stair floorboards so that we’d have internet access all over the house.

Now, depending on your household, you could easily have more than 20 different pieces of tech that have WiFi capabilities, and that’s not even including your home’s internet modem with built-in WiFi router.

Giving Your Smart Home a Boost to its IQ

Here are five easy and affordable ways to level up on your smart home.

  1. Doing a bit of home renovation?
    Are you always looking for a quick charge for your phone or tablet? Upgrade your home by adding some outlets that include USB ports to get rid of those bulky, and easy to lose USB/AC conversion plugs. The list of tech that supports USB charging is ever growing, so having a few of these outlets around the house could even get rid of a power bar or two. Not all USB ports power at the same speed either, (ever notice a warning on your phone that the USB charger is too slow?)Having these dedicated USB charging ports will ensure you’re charging your tech’s battery with the right amount of power for your device.

    Dual USB Charger
    $25 Amazon.ca
  2. Boost the power of your WIFI for household coverage.
    I love my D-Link WIFI extender kit. We have something, possibly concrete, that blocks WIFI and even cell phone bars from reaching much of our basement. Our entertainment room, along with our gaming system, is in the basement, so imagine how frustrating it’s been trying to stream Netflix off the TV, or have any sort of internet connection on the WiFi-less Xbox 360 (particularly to stream shomi or Xbox video,) without running an Ethernet cable from the second floor router. Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen, no matter how much we’d want to use Xbox’s video apps. So we found D-Link’s extender kits, and installed a couple in our basement.The extenders run through your home’s electrical outlets, through use of Ethernet cords (short ones, that connect from your modem to it’s closest electrical outlet) instead of trying to pick up a WIFI signal. This means we now have a separate but strong WIFI signal that we can use in the basement for any of our WIFI enabled tech. The other extender has an Ethernet port, so that we could hook up the WIFI-less Xbox 360 to our modem, even when there are two floors separating these pieces of tech!

    D-Link – PowerLine AV 500 Wireless N Extender Kit
    $89 Amazon.ca
  3. Old Dog, New Tricks
    It’s possible that your current (sorta old) computer can’t do new tricks, which could be detrimental to prepping your house for a smart home. We’ve recently upgraded to a 5GHz WIFI modem through Rogers which is supposed to give us the fastest of internet speeds all over the house, but instead of racing through the interwebs, my desktop was cutting the WiFi connection off every few minutes. ANNOYING.Turns out, my desktop didn’t have the right adapter installed to read the 5GHz WIFI band, which just nearly made my desktop obsolete. I can’t exactly work online, if I can’t connect to the online world right? Luckily, I wound up picking up a USB WIFI adapter that could.

    Belkin AC867 Dual-Band USB Adapter (2.4 + 5.0 GHz)
    $30 Amazon.ca
  4. Go BIG, Go Home
    Have your smart home turn into the house for entertainment on your block.  So this Smart Home Theatre by JmGO might be on the tipping point of affordable for some, but as far as projectors go, this is an incredibly cost-effective bit of entertainment technology. How cool would it be to have a large screen as big as a living room wall or having the capability to do movie nights outdoors with your neighbours?
    JmGO Smart Home Theatre Projector Capabilities
    JMGO 1080p HD Projector Smart Home Theatre System
    $799 Amazon.ca
  5. One Remote To Rule Them All
    Ever dreamed of having one remote that handled absolutely everything? TV, DVDs, lights (yes, lights), your thermostat, gaming systems, blinds, and even locks. Activate and affect multiple items at once with a single preset, such as turning on a movie while dimming the lights with one simple button. The Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Control system is the epitome of sophisticated laziness.

    Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Control
    $479 Amazon.ca

 

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Got Qs or some awesome ideas? Give me a shout in the comments below!

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Aeryn Lynne

The Geek at Geek Life
Living in Superman's Metropolis (aka Toronto, Canada), Aeryn Lynne found a way to entirely over-share everything she loves, and make a career out of it! Ultimately a geek, she waxes poetically over technology, fights for fashion-equality, squees over comic art, and literally sparkles, thanks to her makeup addiction.
Aeryn Lynne

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8 Comments

  1. Ladena May 20, 2015
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