In the past, your home appliances served one function, such as chilling food and drinks or cooking food. Now, even your toaster oven or Crock-Pot can connect to WiFi. In my home, for instance, my doorbell, my thermostat, and, most recently, my vacuum, now connect to WiFi and allow me to maintain my home from afar.
My doorbell uses an app called SkyBell, and when someone pushes the doorbell button or steps close enough to set off the motion detection, I receive a doorbell chime on my phone. I am then able to open my app and connect to my doorbell camera and not only view who is there but also have a two-way conversation with them from the doorbell. This is helpful if someone comes by and I’m not expecting them; I can let them know I’m not there and direct them to either call me or come by another time. It could be useful as a theft deterrent since you can take screenshots from the video feed.
The Nest is a well-known WiFi-enabled thermostat, which learns your schedule over time based on when you adjust your AC/heat during the day. I personally use a Honeywell Smart WiFi thermostat, which allows me to not only set a weekly schedule with 4 times during the day to set a temperature, but I can also log in via an app and change the schedule or temperature. This has been very useful if I know I’m going to be away from home for a few days but have forgotten to adjust the schedule. I can go in the app and set an “away” function, and it will revert back to the previous schedule after the date specified.
My new favorite WiFi-operated home appliance, though, is the Roomba. I have pets, and they shed enough to make another pet sometimes. There are several models of Roomba, but I have the iRobot 890. It’s designed to be great with vacuuming pet hair, and, so far, my experience with it has been wonderful. I have mostly hardwood floors, and this seems to be where it functions best. The Roomba does vacuum over my rugs, but they are much better cleaned by a traditional vacuum than the Roomba. This particular model of Roomba can also be controlled via WiFi, and I can set up a schedule of days and times when I’d like it to run a cleaning session via the app. I typically do this when I’m not at home since it isn’t necessarily the quietest or the quickest. My Roomba app then gets an alert if the Roomba’s dirt bin is full, if it gets stuck, or if it completes a cleaning job with no issues. The iRobot brand also has a mopping robot, but I’ll hold off on trying that one for now.
To take home automation a step further, Alexa can also connect to many WiFi-enabled devices (for me, it’s the thermostat and the Roomba) that can then be voice-controlled by specific commands given to Alexa.
If I can ask a robot to make my house warmer by a few degrees and have cleaner floors when I arrive home, I’m excited to see what else we can automate in the future!