Hi-Tech Your Rental! Smarthome Gadgets You’ll Want For The Holidays

A stock photo of technology stuff on a desk, much like those that might interact with smarthome devices.

Smart technology has become so ubiquitous with our urban lifestyle that it’s infiltrated every facet of our lives, including our homes. The newest in innovative technology brings form and function to our living spaces, and this holiday season, we’ve got a list of smarthome gadgets that will make your luxury rental the smartest home in town. HomeKit Apple’s newest venture seamlessly interweaves your iPhone with the products you use in your home, giving you control over them wherever you are. The user-friendly set-up process is as intuitive as you’d expect: download the app with any HomeKit compatible device and sync it to your iPhone by setting up a code. Then, all smart home accessory control will be performed by Siri or the Home app via iOS. Through a series of screens and icons, you control lighting, locks, plugs and switches, heating and cooling, shades, and sensors all through voice or touch command. It’s a simple as saying, “Siri, dim the living room lights in the Tribeca loft” or “Turn on the lights at the Upper East Side apartment tonight at 6pm”. You can also create whole “scenes” that allow you to control and connect myriad appliance functions at once. A “Wake Up” command will perform everything you need in the morning, from opening the shades to turning on the electric kettle. A “Bedtime” scene locks all the doors, closes the shades, and turns off the lights. All functionality is completely encrypted, so security is never a concern. With HomeKit, Apple provides, yet again, a product we didn’t even know we needed, and will soon wonder how we ever lived without. Nest Nest is one of the pioneers of smarthome technology and in-home energy efficiency, but that doesn’t mean the digital thermostat, designed and developed by iPod creator Tony Fadell, is resting on its laurels. The newest version, which launched in September, has a larger screen known as the Farsight feature, enabling you to see its information from anywhere in the room. All the charming and beautifully designed features of Nest are still there: the sublime, brushed stainless steel circular design, the beautiful yet simple digital display, and its internal artificial intelligence that determines when and how much to adjust the thermostat to optimize your home’s comfort while being environmentally efficient. As with earlier versions, the newest nest is fully synced with your devices for easy use from anywhere. Amazon Echo This unassuming black cylindrical speaker is Bluetooth operated, but it serves as your own personal information and listening station. You simply connect Echo to any of your devices to sync any streaming service, including Amazon Prime Music and Pandora. The internal electronic personal is named “Alexa”, and its commands are completely hands free, so instead of tapping your music or podcast playlist, you can simply say something specific like, “Alexa, play This American Life” or completely broad, like “Alexa, play some ‘80s music”. As a personal assistant, Alexa can create shopping lists, to-do lists, and even order things you need via Amazon Prime (very savvy, Amazon). The Echo also connects to your Google calendar or iCal, and juggles multiple schedules easily and seamlessly. It also answers questions (“Alexa, is it going to rain later today?”) and works with certain home devices to control your appliances (“Alexa, dim the living room lights now.”) Now if only Alexa could control the holiday crowds in Midtown. Sleep Number C2 Bed Finding the perfect bed is as crucial as finding that perfect West Village rental with closet space and views, and it can sometimes seem as impossible. Enter the Sleep Number C2. This beautifully designed Smart Bed has Sleep IQ technology that monitors and tracks your heart rate and breathing. It then uses this data to provide you with adjustments for improving a high-quality rate of sleep each night. And each morning, it summarizes how you slept and provides a SleepIQ score. It syncs with your devices too, allowing you to keep records of your sleep patterns at your fingertips. WallyHome Water Monitor Nothing is worse than coming home from a business trip or holiday vacation to find a massive water leak in your apartment. WallyHome is a water monitoring device that detects leaks before they turn into disasters. The aesthetically pleasing, podlike sensors are attached to sinks, toilets, and other areas in your home where leaks could develop. Download the WallyHome app, and you can monitor your apartment anywhere, anytime. It syncs with Nest too, so it can measure temperature and moisture throughout your home.