Smart home automation can make it much easier to operate many types of gizmos likely to be found around your house like lightbulbs, heating and cooling systems, kitchen appliances or camera systems. Some smart home products can even do a better job than their old-fashioned, non-techy equivalents. Take robotic vacuum cleaners and mops, for example. Many smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices can be operated by voice commands or remotely through smartphone apps. Plus, smart home devices are just plain fun.

Here’s the latest in what’s happening in three of the many different categories in this space.

Lighting systems

Smart lighting can be a delightful and simple starting point for automating your home. You can use smart home lighting to set the mood or ambiance of each room in the house, and to specify a certain time of day to turn the lights either off or on. Most smart lighting systems are expensive, but the Eufy Lumos White and Color stands out as an exception. Eufy supports voice commands through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and offers more than 16 million colors to choose from.

Products in the Philips Hue lineup will cost you more, but they’ll also give you a lot more features, too. Philips supports voice commands not just through Alexa and Google Assistant, but Apple’s Siri, too. You can blink the lights, automatically turn on the lights at sunset or match your lighting colors to your Instagrams or to NASA Astronomy’s Color of the Day. Begin a party with a light show. The list goes on. Whenever Philips Hue publishes a new applet, trigger or action, you’ll get an email.

Wire-free camera systems

Wire-free camera systems can provide your property with great security both indoors and out. You can also use them to check what your kids or pets are doing in various rooms. These high-res cameras offer advanced motion detection and infrared night vision, giving you some of biggest advances in wire-free camera systems today. And because these camera systems are wire-free, they’re easy for you to set up. Wire-free systems include a recorder that is easily connected to your mobile device. This allows you to view live video, play back an incident, and backup recorded footage to your device. Motion triggered push notifications will also keep you in the know of events happening on your property.

Ovens and other kitchen appliances

It seems like just about every kitchen appliance today is available in smart editions. That means cooking and baking devices, dishwashers and refrigerators, just for starters. Dacor’s Discovery IQ dual-fuel range, for instance, comes with an app that can be controlled through either a built-in wireless tablet or your own tablet or smartphone. When your food is ready, the app sends you a text. It also switches the oven over to warming mode. The app also sends you recipes, and it lets you preheat the range and wall oven remotely. For safety’s sake, though, you cannot start full cooking or operate the cleaning cycle through the app.

The AmazonBasics Microwave, on the other hand, does not provide app enablement, although it does support Amazon Alexa commands. So you can tell Alexa to start cooking the potatoes, for example. The AmazonBasics doesn’t cost any more than a regular manual microwave. With either the Discovery IQ or the AmazonBasics, of course, you’ll still need to prepare the food first and put it in the oven. While not every household task can be automated just yet, there are plenty of gadgets and gizmos out there to help our houses start running smarter.

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