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On Smart Homes: Fact Is, We're All Getting Smarter

Editor Scott Omelianuk on smart home technology

<p>Hats off! Smart gizmos are making homelife easier.</p>

Hats off! Smart gizmos are making homelife easier.

Photo by Michael Lewis

November/December 2014

I once was dumb. A dunce, really. Which you can plainly see in the little photo on the iPad I'm holding over there. Look close, I even have the hat on.

Actually, I should be a little bit clearer about this. I wasn't broadly dumb, the opinions of most of my family aside, but dumb about smart. Smart stuff, that is, chatty electronics, the hardware and software combination some collectively call the Internet of Things but that I better know as, uh, gizmos.

Having spent some time fiddling with a few of the party-friendly gadgets for the special Smart Home section, I'm now wiser, brilliant even—at least when it comes to using the Perfect Drink smart-scale cocktail machine. Now, the sober-minded among you might wonder if such a gadget is necessary when a recipe book and a 99-cent shot glass accomplish the same thing. Well, all I can say is, there was a time when we never used to need the microwave, but just try to find a remodel in TOH that doesn't feature one. Not that you'll need the microwave once you get your hands on a Wi-Fi–ready GE Profile Convection Oven that you can control via your smartphone. That's in there too, along with other clever pieces of equipment.

Perhaps just slightly less gee-whiz but no less interesting or useful is our annual list of what we consider to be the year's best new home products, the TOH Top 100. Our staff examined thousands of entries to come up with this list. We think it's a good one, stocked with money-savers and splurges, problem-solvers and products that beautify. Everything a home improver could possibly need (except the Perfect Drink smart-scale cocktail machine). In either case, we're making it all available to you. We're testing a new shopping service in this issue. If you have the Blippar app on your smartphone or tablet, you can scan any one of the Smart Home or Top 100 pages and, with a couple of screen taps, buy any of the products you see via our partner ShopAdvisor. If you don't have the app, it's free and easy enough to download, so give it a shot. E-mail me to let me know if you find it useful. If you do, we'll offer the opportunity on more pages in future issues, and there'll be no more having to hunt down a product you see between these covers; just blipp and have it delivered to your door. Nothing duncy about that.