Smart Home Gizmos For Ordinary People

My home is getting smarter. I already have smart lights and Amazon Echo. Now, I am looking for smart lock, intelligent thermostat, smart window shades and Internet connected irrigation system for our backyard. My daughter thinks I am just lonely and enjoy talking to machines more than to other human beings.

But seriously, almost 50% of American adults, according to a recent study, are interested in buying home automation systems or devices. Among Millenials, this number is significantly higher. It sounds cool, except … it is REALLY expensive and makes even a simple task, like turning on your living room lights, as complicated as launching a shuttle to Mars.

For those of us who neither work for NASA nor have a PhD in computer science, there is a great place to look for new products. I am talking about crowdfunding websites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. You can find hundreds of exciting devices available for pre-order there. Most of them offer 20%-40% discount from the future retail price. So, if you don’t mind waiting for several months, you can add comfort, security and fun to your life without breaking a bank.

It also opens a lot of opportunities for real estate investors, landlords and contractors.


Just imagine how much easier would it be, if you could monitor and control your rental property any time from anywhere in the world by adding motion and flood sensors, smart lights and window shades, so nobody would know that the property is vacant, smart keyless lock and intelligent thermostat. You would save on energy bills and attract more renters by offering them a level of comfort available in luxury properties.

Smart systems increase the property’s value and add a “WOW element”, which will help you find a buyer.

Considering the millions of home automation devices and hubs being sold and the industry growth, there is a huge demand for specialists who can install them, from handymen and plumbers to construction companies.

Here is an example of a smart device currently available on Kickstarter.

The iBlinds kit will help you create comfort, enhance security and save on energy bills. It doesn’t require you to change your “dumb” window shades or to hire someone to install it. According to the creator, HAB Home Intelligence, it would take you 10 minutes to replace your old blind’s tilt mechanism with an intelligent motor and to connect to an app.

Now, you can enjoy time and money savings and remotely control and automate your window coverings from anywhere in the world. The kit, currently available on Kickstarter starting at $59, will let you set up a specific time to open and close your blinds or automatically adjust them based on the sun intensity and room temperature to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It is also very helpful for your elderly parents and people with a limited mobility.

If you already have other smart home devices (for example, the Wink system), you can connect iBlinds with them,  and  control multiple appliances with a touch of a button on a smart phone, tablet, or Z-Wave remote. No need to worry about security, when you are going on vacation or working late. Your system would make the house look occupied by turning on and off your lights and closing and opening the blinds.

Sounds like a dream come true, isn’t it? So, why not add some excitement to your life by supporting an innovative startup, while getting a great deal on a valuable device? Your kids would think you are the coolest dad. Your friends would feel jealous. And your wife may even thank you (your parents will do for sure). This is a great example of an adult toy that add real value to your daily life.