The Future Is Now: Welcome to My (Smart) House

There are more connected home gadgets to install than ever before, from locks to switches to speakers. What's worth the trouble? We asked Fortune editor Stacey Higginbotham what's in her house. Quite a bit, it turns out.


1. Curb energy: Monitoring Device

curb smart home Curb | 

Where: Inside circuit-breaker panel in garage; outside house

Why: "It's the smartest way to start because it gives you real-time energy consumption data for your entire home. An instant money saver."

Buy Curb here

2. Ecobee 3 smart thermostat

ecobee3 smart home Ecobee 

Where: In upstairs and downstairs hallways

Why: "It's another major system. It's programmable and saves money. And it cools the room you're in as opposed to Where the device is installed."

Buy here: Ecobee3 Thermostat, Ecobee3 bundle

3. Sonos Wireless Speaker system

sonos-speakers smart home Sonos 

Where: Kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, rooftop deck

Why: "If you like music, this wireless system is immersive. Play anything anywhere."

Buy here: Sonos Wireless, Sonos 2-Room Streaming, Sonos Compact Wireless

4. Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs

philips-hue Philips | Nick Dolding 

Where: Throughout the house

Why: "LEDs save money, and they can change colors to mimic a sunrise or sunset. I programmed them so that when my boss sent me a text message, they all turned red."

Buy here: Philips Hue, Philips Wake-Up Light

5. Amazon Echo

echo-kitchen-smart home Amazon 

Where: Kitchen

Why: "You can talk to it and control your Hue lights. My family asks it questions: 'How long is The Land Before Time? Where can I stream it from?' We use it all the time at dinner so that we don't have to pull out our smartphones."

Buy here: Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot

6. SmartThings System

smartthings_hub smart home Samsung SmartThings 

Where: In a closet underneath the stairs

Why: "It allows true systemic automation. And you can set rules. I have one sensor on my second-floor washing machine to ensure that it's not leaking and damaging the house."

Buy here: SmartThings Home Monitoring, SmartThings Water Leak Sensor

7. Belkin WeMo Switch

wemo valentine tech gift guide 2017 WeMo 

Where: Bathrooms, Kitchen

Why: "This is a Wi-Fi-connected electrical outlet. It's useful for controlling the humidifier in a child's bedroom—you can turn it on and off with your phone—or appliances like a curling iron or coffeemaker."

Buy here: WeMo Switch, WeMo Wifi Bundle, WeMo Mini Smart Plug

8. Lutron Dimmer Light Switches

caseta-wireless-in-wall-kit-unboxed-with-phone Lutron CES 2016 Press Kit 

Where: Dining room, entrance hallway

Why: "They work amazingly well. I replaced two switches in my house with these so I can dim a too-bright light and control an outdoor light, since there aren't any weatherproof connected bulbs yet."

Buy here: Lutron Wireless Single Kit, Lutron Wireless Smart Lighting Home Kit


9. Jawbone UP3 Fitness Band

jawbone-up3 smart home Jawbone 

Where: On the wrist of the homeowner

Why: "Counterintuitive to choose this, I know. But you can link it to your house, and that's where it gets interesting. You can integrate with SmartThings so that when you wake up it will turn on the downstairs lights and start brewing coffee. I look at it as a personal trigger."

Buy Jawbone Fitness band here

10. Kwikset Z-Wave Locks

10-satin-chrome Kwikset 

Where: Outside doors

Why: "Lock and unlock doors with the tap of a finger. What more is there to say?"

Buy here: Kwikset Touchscreen, Kwikset SmartCode

11. Chamberlain Garage Door Opener

Where: Garage

Why: "This one is pretty straightforward. I can see if my garage door is open or closed from anywhere in the world using an app on my smartphone. With one swipe of my finger, I can open or close it. Pretty cool."

Buy Chamberlain here

12. Jasco Z-Wave outdoor modules: Backyard, rooftop

Where: Backyard, rooftop

Why: "They're outdoor-friendly outlets—great for controlling Christmas lights or fans with your smartphone."

Buy GE/Jasco Z-Wave here

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This article appears in the August 1, 2015 issue of Fortune magazine.

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