Google Home can make calls and gives you real time answers, including weather and traffic reports.

Have you got your IoT down? Marchelle Abrahams goes in search of the best gadgets to turn up your home’s IQ.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT) how does it affect me? It’s a term that’s been thrown around since a few years ago but is steadily gaining traction as  gadgets become smarter and integrated into our homes. 

The concept still remains misunderstood, as Keith Fenner puts it, VP of Sage Enterprise in Africa and the Middle East. The technology industry is on a drive to connect everything from electric toothbrushes to heavy factory machinery to the internet, but it’s also slowly creeping into our everyday lives. 

In short, “the IoT is a complex interconnected network of related parts that sense context, transfer data, process information and initiate action,” notes Fenner. If you’re thinking of turning your living space into a smart hub, we’ve gone in search of the best gadgets to turn up your home’s IQ.

Google Home

Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. This is your smart home assistant. Powered by Google Assistant, and with the support of multiple users, Google Home can distinguish your voice from others, ensuring a more personalised experience. What makes it smart?

It can make calls and gives you real time answers, including weather and traffic reports. So it works like this:

You: Google, tell me about my day

Google Home: Good morning Marchelle. The time is 10:38am. The weather in Cape Town is currently 19 degrees and cloudy. You might want to take with a jacket. Today at 12:20pm, you have a lunch date with Sandy. Have a nice day!

Price: R2 700

Shop it: www.takealot.com

Philips Hue White starter kit 

Including 2 bulbs and a hub to connect them to other smart home devices, the Philips Hue starter kit works with a range of smart home systems, including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Google Home, and Nest.

The Philips Hue starter kit works with a range of smart home systems.

These are no ordinary light bulbs: you can adjust their brightness (up to 800 lumens), and add up to 50 to a single hub (see below). The best part is that you can control your lights from anywhere, and schedule them for automation with your smartphone or tablet. Geo-fencing technology enables them to light up and welcome you home or switch off automatically when you leave.

Price: R2 350

Shop it: www.zinteldo.co.za

Samsung SmartThings hub

If you’ve souped up your home with smart gadgets, then this home hub is the central nervous system you’ll need to ensure they communicate with each other.

It works with a wide range of devices and has a battery backup. Word is that Samsung will integrate this technology into its 2016 4K TV – meaning you won’t need to plug another gadget into your router.

The Samsung SmartThings hub is basically the brains behind your home security system.

Like Google Home, it can also organise your life to make things easier. For instance, it switches on the lights when you wake up. And when you leave home, it turns off the lights, locks the doors and turns on the security system. 

While you’re away, it can send you video alerts of any unexpected activity – it’s basically the brains behind your home security system. Think of it as JARVIS to your Iron Man.

Price: R2 800

Shop it: www.takealot.com

Nest Cam Outdoor camera

Waterproof and discreet, this little baby plugs into your power supply so you never have to worry about it dying on you in those crucial moments.
With Nest Aware, the camera constantly streams video and saves footage to your Nest account. 

The best feature about the Nest Cam outdoor camera is its built-in speaker and mic.

You’ll also get an alert when the camera thinks it has spotted an intruder. All you have to do is log into your Nest app. With Android phones the alert include a cropped close-up of the person. The best feature about this camera is its built-in speaker and mic, so you can scare off a suspicious visitor when you’re out.

Price: R8 545 for 2 pack

Shop it: www.wantitall.co.za

LG InstaView Fridge

LG has touted its newest creation “like window shopping in your own fridge”. And that’s exactly what it is – it lets you see inside without even opening the door. Just knock twice on the tinted glass panel and it will light up, giving you instant access to what’s inside. 

Just knock twice on LG’s InstaView fridge’s tinted glass panel and it will light up. Picture: website screenshot

There’s just one problem; the double door fridge is a statement on its own, and if your guests are going to be admiring your fridge, they’ll probably be checking out the contents of it as well. Best be warned that you’ve stocked it up before they come calling.

Price: $4 200 (about R54 600)

Shop it: No word yet if it will be available in SA

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