If you’re interested in home comforts and cool gadgetry, it’s likely you’re well acquainted with some of the amazing new smart technologies which can make the inside of your home more comfortable, more fun and more secure.
But what about outside?
With Summer upon us, it’s a good time to take a look at some of the best smart outdoor upgrades to make those long Summer evenings even more delightful.
For those of us who are into music and the whole home theater experience, good quality indoor speakers are a must-have. It’s kind of weird then that many sound-nuts don’t give much thought to investing in good quality sound outdoors, especially considering the excellent now available.
Let’s start with poolside options. It’s easy to treat the pool as a no-man’s zone for electronics. All that splashing and chlorine – not good! Unless, of course, you’re equipped with wireless outdoor smart speakers.
Take the Omaker line of outdoor speakers. Not only are they shockproof, rustproof and (most importantly) waterproof, they’re also wireless. You can keep your precious smartphone far away from the water while getting great quality sound right where you need it. Adding to their perfect suitability for entertaining outdoors, these speakers are equipped with an outdoor music mode.
For outdoor entertaining away from the pool, Smart speaker pioneer Sonos has produced a line of speakers which focus on delivering premium quality sound that you can take virtually anywhere. Sonos have amped up the wireless possibilities by developing speakers which streams sound using WiFi. This means you can have the luxury of great sound anywhere you get a WiFi signal.
One particularly groovy added bonus of WiFI streaming speakers is that you can network them and control them all using an App. Fancy streaming the same awesome Summer soundtrack both indoors and outdoors? Sonos speakers can make that happen effortlessly. Oh, and we should also mention they’re fully Alexa voice-controlled, so you don’t even have to put your beer down to pump up the volume.
Setting the cool entertainment possibilities aside for a moment, it’s worth taking a look at smart outdoor upgrades which can protect your property and bring a significant dollop of peace of mind.
Old-school surveillance cameras were simply a camera attached to a storage device. If the cameras captured a significant event, you’d only find out after the fact when you manually looked through the footage.
Thanks to smart technologies, surveillance tech has come a long way. For example, take a look at the Nest range of smart outdoor cameras. These cameras are equipped with a battery of sensors, processors and communications technologies to keep you constantly in the know on what’s happening outside your house.
The Nest cameras will detect movement up to 50 feet away and then analyze the movement, determining if a human is present. It can even be configured to recognize certain people and ignore them.
If there’s something you should be aware of, the camera will take a picture and send it to your phone. They can also send you key snapshots of everything that happened around your house for the last three hours, record sound and capture footage in night vision!
No article about smart outdoor upgrades would be complete without taking a look at smart exterior lighting. While regular outdoor lighting options do the trick, they come with a few limitations.
First up, your typical old-school lighting will be white or slightly yellower white. Then there’s the issue of wiring. Most old-school outdoor lighting is a long length of low-voltage wiring with a switch on one end. Basically, they’re like outdoor Christmas lights. The sum total of your options are ‘on’ and … drumroll, please … ‘off’. Is it better than having your evening BBQ guests walk around with flashlights duct taped to their heads? Sure. But still, it’s kind of boring.
Smart lighting introduces some great options, some of them extremely practical and others just straight up cool.
For example, check out the Philips Hue line of outdoor lights, launched just this Summer. The Hue outdoor range includes wall-mounted fixtures, path-lighting, and some seriously beefy 2600 lumen floodlights. Needless to say, they’re all waterproof and designed for hard outdoor wear.
The smart difference is that they can all be activated independently or in unison with your smartphone thanks to Philips’ extremely nifty bridge technology. The Philips Hue outdoor line gives you the option to have as little or as much light as you like, from mood lighting through to security flood lighting, all a smartphone tap away.
Then there’s the fun stuff, like the Ilumi range of outdoor flood bulbs. These are smartphone controlled, dimmable and programmable to cycle through a range of colors.
They’re perfect for adding a bit of drama or eye-catching color to outdoor features. Your collection of ornate lawn flamingos will pop with a bit of pink uplighting!
Many of the above smart upgrades are at their best with a solid WiFi connection. If you have a small outdoor area and a drywall home, this is unlikely to be a problem. On the other hand, if you have a big backyard or if you’re dealing with solid brick or concrete walls, then you may get signal loss as you move away from your home’s router.
An outdoor Wi-Fi range extender can handily fix that annoying little problem for you.Netgear recently released a WiFi mesh system specifically designed for the outdoors. It’s weather-resistant and capable of blasting pure WiFi goodness to the far-flung corners of your backyard effortlessly – up to 2500 square feet!
Adding to the versatility of these devices, because they run on mesh technology, they can can detect one another and work together. This means you can push your WiFi signal even further simply by positioning them in range to one another.
Getting the technology up and running is as simple as plugging the device into an outlet. No additional wiring is required. So the great news is, distance from your router need no longer be a limiting factor for outdoor smart technology.
So there you have it! With just a few well chosen smart upgrades, you can transform your humble patio into a cranking outdoor party palace. Keen to learn more? Click here to read about how a smarter home isn’t just cool but can save you money.