Technology makes life more and more interesting and convenient. The Internet of Things has been a long time in the making and is finally beginning to make the kind of difference to our lives that we would expect from smart technology. Our only complaint? There isn’t enough of it!

Here’s a list of smart devices that we love, because they are so brilliantly designed, convenient to use, and make an actual difference in our lives for the better.

Phillips Hue

Among the most innovative companies in the world, Phillips has been credited with pushing the envelope in the field of lighting.

Their Hue lighting system finally takes smart lighting out of Hollywood sets and high-society novels and brings it into our lives. With the Hue system, users get to control and personalize the lights in their house in many interesting ways.

Control the brightness of the bulbs, create lighting scenes based on photos of your choice, and select a hue from a range of shades to suit your mood or just to get ready for shuteye with ambient lighting.

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Smart locks

A smart lock is another useful bit of smart technology that we would recommend to our readers.

If you use a smart lock in conjunction with a smart security system, there is a lot you can do with them in order to further enhance the safety of your house and ensure peace of mind.

A smart lock functions when given directions over an authorized device through a wireless protocol. Unlike traditional locks, smart locks do not have a physical key, but a configuration entered through a smartphone or a special key fob. Access can be granted or denied remotely via a mobile app.

Alarms go off during unauthorized access. Smart locks are not exactly cheap, but do provide you with a number of useful features for your money’s worth, depending on the model.

Smart luggage

With everything else going that way, it’s about time our luggage smartened up, too!

Smart luggage can be a lifesaver in many ways, especially for those frequent fliers among us who tend to overpack for trips abroad and end up paying costly extra baggage fees at international airports.

With Bluetooth connectivity, smart carry-ons and check-ins made by a company called Raden inform users via Bluetooth connectivity of the exact weight of their bag, as well as the fees they would have to pay in case they are over the baggage limit.

The cases come with built-in chargers and display location awareness. It’s a matter of pairing the case with their app in order to start leveraging its tech abilities.

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Bluesmart is another company that makes smart suitcases and has rave reviews on
Amazon. The cases come with two USB charging ports so that you do not spend any precious time at the airports looking for a charging point. It is enabled with GPS tracking facility to find the precise location of your luggage as well as with remote/auto-locking features.

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Nest Learning Thermostat

Summer’s here, but during the colder months, this one device can save you a ton of money. It helps the environment by cutting down on our energy consumption, which lightens our carbon footprint.

As the name suggests, this thermostat quickly learns your heating and cooling preferences, remembers them, and programs itself accordingly. It turns itself down if it senses there’s no one in the house, so you don’t have to feel guilty at work about having left heating or cooling running at home. Even better, you can remotely control it via a dedicated app. Also, it gives you insight to your own energy consumption patterns and so you can find out a way to use less.

This one device makes me wish every aspect of our home could be automated, and automated so well!

The obvious con is the price. At $250, the latest generation of Nest Learning thermostat is anything but cheap. But in the long run, well worth the money.

Belkin We-Mo Switch

Another smart device that can save you a lot of grief. With the Belkin We-Mo switch, you can remotely turn off any appliances you may have accidentally left on at the time of leaving the house. You can, of course, turn an appliance on, too. The best part is that this device works with any appliance – not just the lights or the AC—right down to your coffeemaker and ceiling fan. You can create personalized schedules for the appliances to go on or off, and control it all through your mobile device. It is easy to use (you simply plug it into a power outlet) and is reasonably priced for the features and the peace of mind it brings you.

Smart wine bottles

It might seem wacky to have notifications appear on your bottle of California Pine Ridge as you pour it into your date’s wine glass.

But one company thinks it’s an awesome idea and as far as exploring the possibilities of tech goes, it’s hard to disagree.

The smart wine bottle is a curious blend of the traditional, the modern, and the digital.

Kuvee is a refillable case of wine with an in-built touchscreen. The screen displays wine-related information, suggests food pairings, flashes notifications, and also allows you to place orders. The even more impressive bit is that the case prevents open wine from going off and keeps it fresh for up to 30 days. Wine connoisseurs might want to give this a try!

This is the only smart device on the list that does not fulfil an obvious need and may come across as rather gimmicky, but we love the way tech entrepreneurs are pushing the boundaries of innovation.

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Pete Peranzo

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