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Homefinder’s 2015 Product Guide to Smart Homes –

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Smart products of the future inspire modern living within today’s home

 

In the previous issue or installment, we highlighted two superbly versatile digital lifestyle products used within smart homes of today. The aesthetic and practical Instant Pot Smart smart cooker is designed for an enhanced and enjoyable personal cooking experience with its elegant, premium and no-brainer design as one of the most advanced and best home pressure-cooking systems available that money can buy. The technological wonder that is Securifi Almond Router SmartHome hub-hybrid transforms a mundane and complicated process like setting an internet network for an entertaining, fun-filled and hassle-free web-browsing. This month, we feature yet another two smart products applicable within intelligent communities of today. These modern marvels continue to inspire us to build modern homes for today’s urban living and futuristic lifestyle.

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The Belkin WeMo ‘Switch + Motion’ (home automation)

Belkin’s WeMo home automation products offer the ability to control your home electronics from anywhere, and the WeMo Switch + Motion might be the most attractive package of the bunch. If it has a plug, you can plug it into the WeMo, whether it is a lamp, a coffeemaker, or even television. Once plugged in, you will be able to literally turn that device on and off from your phone without being there on-site or in person. The WeMo Switch and its optional motion detector accessory are designed around ‘plug-and-play’ simplicity, making them especially appealing to consumers who dislike breaking out their toolboxes. It only takes a few minutes out of the box to have your WeMo up and running, and once you do, automating devices around your home is as easy as tapping a button on your phone. You can even use IFTTT (If This, Then That) to find creative ways for devices to interact with social media and online services. The WeMo’s best feature of all might just be its low price. At just USD49 for the WeMo Switch, or USD79 for the added motion-detecting functionality of the WeMo Switch + Motion, this is certainly a “bargain” home automation system that will fit almost any financial budget. It is a great starter unit too, considering that you can add additional WeMo Switches, Light Switches, and motion detectors to your network if required or when necessary. In addition to the physical on/off switch, there is another button on the WeMo itself which is a small restore button stashed away on the topside of the device that you can hold down for a few seconds to initiate a manual reset. Apart from that, every control you ever need is located within the easy reach of WeMo’s intuitive and simple-to-use app.

 

With respect to the motion detector, it is relatively small and unobtrusive, illuminating with a pale  blue light whenever it detects movement. Aside from the Restore button on the top of the plug, there are no physical controls to fiddle with. You can customize the detector’s sensitivity from within the app. The WeMo’s secret weapon is the WeMo app, a free download for both Android and iOS devices. From the moment you plug the device in, the app will perform most of the laborious tasks, first guiding you through every step of the setup process. All you will ever need to do is connect your phone to the WeMo, the same way you would connect your phone to a WiFi network. Once linked, the app will ask for the password to your home network, and pretty soon you are ready to automate. The WeMo app lets you create rules to dictate when the switch should power on and off, or what should happen when something triggers the motion detector. For simple functions, like setting an appliance to power on at a certain time every day, or programming a lamp to turn on when the motion detector catches you walking into the room, these WeMo-specific rules will , and the app makes them easy and intuitive to set up. While the components are a tad pricey, the WeMo system is probably about the easiest home automation system to configure. Setting up takes mere minutes, then you can control appliances, from your smartphones wherever there is data service. Incorporating the IFTTT function allows users to mix & match mobile apps with IT services to work at their command.

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Design HMI/Green Lama’s NanoHeat (self-heating mug)

By the second law of thermodynamics, heat is often perceived as a dynamic or transitory thing, constantly flowing from a high-temperature object to one that is of low temperature. Current self-heating mugs in the market do keep hot beverages respectably warm, but they have their own limitations in terms of efficacy and efficiency. Then there is the NanoHeat self-heating mug. The term or jargon NanoHeat is derived from a patented heating technology that is supposedly superior to conventional induction heating. Developed by Design HMI and Green Lama, the Nano is a USB-charged wireless mug that can contain 16 oz. of coffee, tea and other beverages at an ideal drinkable temperature of between 155-160 Fahrenheit for as long as 45 minutes or more. What truly impresses is its support for a minimum of seven refills on a single power charge. If charging using a USB cable does not quite fancy your taste, the company also offers an optional wireless charging plate. The Nano heating mug will also be available in a handle-less, auto-friendly form factor as well. A unit of NanoHeat is expected to be retailed for around USD$30 once production or manufacturing kicks off. Although the Nano is not the first rechargeable wireless mug in the marketplace, it is definitely a much more evolved and unique concept of the trend-setting “self-heating mug”. – HFM