Who else remembers the old Disney Channel original movie "Smart House," where a family of three wins a high-tech computerized smart home? Katey Sagal, now Gemma Teller Morrow in "Sons of Anarchy," plays the homes' overzealous computer personality who goes too far to protect her family. Sound familiar?
Skip forward 14 years, and the 1990s plot line doesn't seem that outlandish. In fact, Jack Thomasson, a professional house planner and HGTV design expert, already created the first-ever HGTV Smart Home in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. Like the kids' movie, any lucky family can enter to win the technologically fortified house at hgtv.com/smart-home during the sweepstakes period from April 11 to May 31.
But, if you aren't the winner of the smart home—which has the latest wireless technology and energy-saving features—Thomasson shares his top five tips to go "smart" with your home technology.
1. Find a system that speaks your language. Advanced tech isn't made for everyone, so don't feel pressured to buy something you don't understand. If it's too intimidating, or it can't be explained within your comfort zone, don't do it. It's so frustrating to invest in something that you won't use or can't even show off to potential buyers. Be patient, the right system will come your way. Once you find a system that speaks to you, go for it.
2. Maximize security options. Take full advantage of opportunities and enhanced features that will make your life easier, more secure and give you some peace of mind. For instance, a front door that can be locked and unlocked from a smart phone helps you control access to your home. Don't worry about giving precious house keys away that can be easily duplicated. Plus, discreet security cameras can alert you when someone is approaching the house whether you're at home or at the office.
3. Enjoy the luxury of remote function. That same technology that brings you security can bring you luxury. The luxury to not worry if you're running late, because you can control your home remotely. The luxury to not worry if you get distracted while you're filling the bathtub, because it will shut off automatically once it reaches your pre-designated fill level. The luxury to relax a bit on the small stuff.
4. Embrace "smart" technology. The right tech choices help make you more efficient, including energy efficiency and just using your time more effectively. Don't run through the house turning off lights, you can adjust them with an app that controls them in or outside the home. Set the temperature in your home with a smart thermostat while driving home, and it'll be perfect when you get there.
5. Have fun. Technology is supposed to be fun. Most likely, you already enjoy the ever-increasing features of your smart phone and apps that can educate and entertain. Now, the same device that goes wherever you go can be a traveling remote control for your home. As you incorporate technology into your home life, you may marvel at freedoms you didn't realize you were missing. Thanks to advancements in wireless, smart technology is more available, more affordable and more user friendly than ever. Don't let a bad past experience—or intimidation to try something new — prevent you from keeping up with the future.
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