If you find yourself wondering how you ever got along before your smartphone, laptop and GPS, you're not alone. Technology is so much a part of how we go about our days that we often take it for granted. However, in many cases, houses haven't caught up to the same technological standards as the gadgets people carry with them 24/7. But that's all about to change, as new ideas begin to revolutionize the way we view our homes.
Technology can do two things: First, it can make everyday tasks simpler and faster. Second, it can enable us to do things that weren't possible before. So when it comes to your home, having technology on your side can make a big difference - in terms of time, energy and money savings. If you want your home to join the world of high-tech living, consider these solutions:
•Entertaining made easier: Part of the fun of owning a home is inviting friends and family to come over. Because everyone has a busy schedule these days, planning and hosting a party needs to as easy as possible. With the help of some smart new audio systems, setting the mood with music is a snap. Bluetooth-streaming stereos like iLuv's MobiRock let you control the music from wherever you are, right from your smartphone - no more having to leave your conversation to go turn the music up or down, or switch to a new track. The Aud 5, also from iLuv, features a dock that accommodates Lightning, the next generation connection port on the latest iPhones and iPods. Since you can charge your device while using Bluetooth to control it, there's no worry about the music stopping in the middle of your party.
•Staying secure: Protecting belongings and family in the home has been a priority since time immemorial, but now there are far better ways to do it. While everyone wants protection, in the past state-of-the-art home security technology has been well out of many homeowners' budgets. But that was then - today, protecting your home is becoming much more affordable, and the average homeowner can install high-quality security cameras that make it easy to always keep an eye on your property. Polaroid's line of Wireless IP security cameras include both indoor and outdoor models, can be operated via computer or smartphone and even let you send snapshots via email. Whether you just want to check in while you're at the office or during a weekend getaway, security cameras make it easier to know that your home is safe.
•The automated home: It's inevitable - a few hours into what's supposed to be a relaxing vacation, you'll wonder, "Did I leave the lights on?" or "Were the window shades left open?" The stress of not knowing - and not being able to do anything about it - might soon be a thing of the past. Reasonably priced home automation systems that allow you to take care of those little household chores remotely are already available. TaHomA, from Somfy Systems, enables you to schedule and supervise window coverings, lighting and thermostats. Using an iPad, iPhone or computer, you can make adjustments from within or outside the home in just a few clicks.
Technology has changed virtually every facet of business and communication - it only makes sense that our homes will be the next frontier of innovation. As you consider all the ways to make your life simpler, keep in mind that a high-tech solution will be able to help, now and in the future.