These 8 Products Inspired The Smart Home Revolution
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The 2010s [/news/nest-thermostat-amazon-echo-and-philips-hue-the-best-smart-home-tech-of-the-decade/ ushered in the modern age of smart home technology], complete with [/reviews/amazon-echo-dot-third-generation-review/ affordable voice assistants], design-forward [/reviews/nest-learning-thermostat-third-generation-review/ thermostats that adjust for you] and [/news/this-robot-vacuum-solves-the-roombas-biggest-problem-getting-stuck/ robot vacuums you control from your phone].
But smart home products existed long before the 21st century.
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Let's travel back in time to acknowledge the early tech that inspired [/news/the-best-smart-home-devices-of-2020-amazon-alexa-google-assistant-echo-dot-nest-hello/ today's smart home innovations]. While they weren't called "smart home" products and they didn't sit in a designated section on store shelves, they shared the same core goal as [ ]: to make daily life easier.
Here I'll highlight eight devices that were important precursors to the smart home industry of today. This isn't an exhaustive list. Instead it focuses on products that both provided a bridge to newer technologies and continue to be sold today themselves. Weigh in with your own pre-smart-home-smart-home products in the comments section.
Read more: [/news/the-smart-home-wouldnt-exist-without-this-90s-invention/ The smart home wouldn't exist without this 90s invention]
Programmable thermostats are a newer invention that are still common today.
Ah, the humble thermostat. Thermostats were first introduced [ way back in the late 1800s], shoei x-spirit 3 but programmable thermostats are a newer invention that are still common today. They expanded on the idea of traditional thermostats you had to adjust manually by adding a degree of customizability and automation. Programmable thermostats save time and, when used correctly, can save you money too.
Specifically, programmable thermostats allow you to set a custom heating and cooling schedule for your home that runs automatically. There are a variety of types of programmable models within this category, all related to how much control they give you over your schedule.
Thermostats with a "1-week" program type give you just enough control to set one recurring schedule for the entire week. "5-2" programmable thermostats let you designate a Monday through Friday schedule and a separate weekend schedule. "5-1-1" thermostats provide a little more customizability, with one Monday through Friday schedule and separate schedules for Saturday and Sunday. "7-day" programmable thermostats are the most flexible, giving you the ability to set a different schedule for every day of the week.
Read more: [/news/how-the-nest-learning-thermostat-started-a-design-revolution/ Thermostats used to be ugly. Nest changed all that (commentary)]
Traditional programmable thermostats didn't work with an app on your phone. Instead, you had to physically stand at your thermostat and set the schedule by pressing buttons or selection options on a touchscreen display. Many basic programmable models still work like that today.
Smart thermostats are the next-gen version of traditional programmable thermostats. Smart models, like the [/reviews/nest-learning-thermostat-third-generation-review/ Nest Learning Thermostat], are programmable, but also add in many advanced features that give users even more flexibility and control, like [/products/ecobee-smartthermostat-with-voice-control/ support for voice assistants] and, of course, the ability to adjust the temperature or change a setting from your phone.
Regardless of the innovations made since, programmable thermostats were quite a feat when they were first introduced. [ Basic non-smart models continue to be sold] in hardware stores and online retailers.
Read more: [/news/best-smart-thermostats-of-2020-ecobee-smartthermostat-nest-learning-thermostat/ The best smart thermostats of 2020]
Set it and forget it.
Colin West McDonald/CNET
"Set it and forget it" is a common phrase associated with slow cookers, due to their much-appreciated ability to save people time in the kitchen. [/news/from-humble-to-high-tech-a-slow-cooker-history/ First introduced in the 1950s], slow cookers are simple by design and continue to be a popular time-saving cooking staple today. Here's the gist: toss a bunch of stuff in the slow cooker and roughly four to eight hours later, depending on the settings you use and what you're making, you have [ chili], or enchilada filling, or pulled pork, among lots of other possibilities.
Sure, you have to put the food in the cooker, plug it in and press a couple buttons to get it started -- but the slow cooker handles the rest.
There are [/pictures/best-slow-cooker-recipes/ countless recipes] to follow that yield delicious results with deliberately minimal effort on your part. And, unlike ovens and other cooking appliances, you can safely leave home while your slow cooker keeps on cooking at a low, steady temperature. Most models -- even the simplest ones -- have timers that automatically switch over to warming your food when they're done cooking.