A Meural digital canvas can display famous artwork, or your own photos. Courtesy Best Buy

The future is now

How to control almost everything in your home with your phone

Want to have the coolest home on the block? Then fill it with all the latest smart home devices.

“A lot of people are familiar with smart home, and they have bits and pieces of it, but are looking at expanding,” said Steven Toews, general manager of Best Buy’s Deerfoot Meadows location.

According to Toews, smart lighting is the top-selling smart home category.

He says automating the lights in a home used to cost thousands of dollars, but now you can buy products like the Phillips Hue bulbs and hub to “do it yourself and have control of the lighting using your phone.”

Another great addition to any smart home is a voice assistant, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

“A lot of people are familiar with smart home, and they have bits and pieces of it, but are looking at expanding.” – Steven Toews, Best Buy Deerfoot Meadows location general manager

“They are the gateway to everything else,” he said. “You can tell them to control all the pieces that you buy, and (they) give you access with your voice. You don’t even have to pull your phone out.”

There are also smart thermostats from companies like Nest and Ecobee, which are able to control temperatures more evenly and from remote locations.

Meanwhile, the Skylink garage door opener lets you use your phone to see if you left the door open, or open it for you when it determines you are pulling into the driveway.

Toews says an improved version of the old, digital photo frames is called a digital canvas, a large wall-mounted monitor that looks like stylish, framed artwork.

He says a Meural digital canvas can download famous art images from the Internet and display them on its special matte finish screen.

“You can put up a Picasso, or use your own photos,” he said.

Toews says appliances are also smarter than ever. Some Samsung refrigerators have tablets built into the door and a camera inside, so you can use your phone to see if you are out of milk.

While these are some of the most popular options, there are many other unique smart home products available on the market.

Portable air conditioning units made by Frigidaire and others can be controlled using your cell phone. The Anova Precision Cooker is a sous vide cooker that lets you start and monitor the cooking process from afar over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, using recipes from its smart phone app.

Similarly, the Char-Broil automatic digital smoker makes it easy to master the hours-long ritual of smoking meat, fish and even nuts. If that’s not your speed, you can give a treat to your dog while you are at work,with the Petzi Treat Cam.

Yard work can also be made easier with the Robomow robotic grass cutter, which can automatically mow a lawn of up to 23,000 square feet.

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