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We’ve been hearing about smart homes for decades. With each new action-packed blockbuster, and savvy spy flick, our imaginations ran further and further into the future. Now, the smart home is finally here. However, what does the real, modern smart home look like, and how smart are they really?

Today’s smart home technology allows homeowners to enjoy a range of benefits. With a focus on hands-free operation and efficiency, connected smart home devices integrate into a variety of places around the home — helping you better monitor, control, and regulate yours.

Check out what some of the most popular smart home devices are fitting into the home, and how they work for you.

Smart home comfort and energy efficiency

New smart thermostats, LED bulbs, and other home efficiency are here, poised to help households save big, and use less. Several highly rated smart thermostats have come onto the market in recent years. These devices help control the heat and air in your home, ensuring none is wasted when you are away, and the temperature sits perfect the minute you walk through the door. As an added bonus, most smart thermostats can be controlled wirelessly.

These tools give homeowners increased power management, allowing smart home technology to strategically lower consumption and raise efficiency. In fact, according to the Fraunhofer Institute, smart house control devices can save homeowners up to 40% of heating costs.

Smart home security

Every family needs to feel safe and secure in their own home and smart home technology is your key to optimizing that sense of security at your front door. Smart doorbells like the Ring Video Doorbell or Skybell HD Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell arm smart homes of today with video footage that is accessible on your phone. Keyless convenience is not just for drivers, as smart locks allow residents and welcomed guests to come into your home with the installation of ultramodern products like the Amazon Key Smart Lock Kit.

Setting up recurring access for neighbors, dog walkers, and other trusted visitors provides a convenient alternative to making multiple copies of keys, or stressing over knowing that expensive packages are being left outside after delivery rather than remotely allowing temporary access, as needed. With convenience comes peace of mind as these smart locks are part of larger security systems that connect homeowners to instant access to video and other types of notifications when guests arrive or depart.

Smart home sound

Once inside, smart home technology can do everything from program the thermostat and adjust the lights to turn on music and lower the heat. In many smart homes of today, home automation hardware includes fully-integrated whole-home sound systems that feature speakers in every room. Sharing the experience of streaming music has never been so easy with products likes Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. Wi-Fi enabled systems like Chromecast Audio from Google and Bose SoundTouch system deliver impressive sounds for surprisingly low price tags. Listen to your favorite songs as you make your way from to room or program different listening preferences in different rooms.

Smart home shades and lighting

Connected window treatments like Lutron’s Serena Smart Shades create the perfect ambiance and contribute to ideal comfort levels, while also being powered by your phone to be opened or closed based on your preferences. They come in many different styles and fabrics to ensure automation does not mean compromising on style.

Smart lighting systems like the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus Dimmable LED Smart Light also offer next-level automation to create efficient and comfortable environments at home. Like most smart home features, these smart shades and lighting systems offer personalization, scheduling, and geofencing capabilities that help to optimize how you maintain your lighting controls based on your fluctuating needs.

Smart housekeeping

Some smart homes of today can even take traditional housekeeping out of your hands. Though automatic vacuum cleaners of the past used to be shaky at best, new products like iRobot Roomba, Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner, and Litter-Robot III Open-air Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box have made huge improvements. While these smart products give homeowners control, they take on the work by managing cleaning services around the house.

Whether you’re interested in smart home technology for the sustainability, efficiency, or just because you don’t want to have to stop dancing to change the song, there are many ways to upgrade — even getting all three benefits together. Smart home technology is here, helping, and offering more robust connectivity every day. **