Many people would like to integrate more technology into their homes, but with so many new and exciting trends you might be wondering where to start. Here’s some basic information on three popular options:

Smart Home Devices
You may have heard about internet-connected doorbells with cameras and thermostats that learn your household’s temperature patterns and preferences, but did you know that smart home devices go far beyond these well-publicized examples? For instance, there are LED string lights whose colors and patterns you can change through your smartphone. 

Smart appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers can be turned on and off even when you’re away from home, and if you have solar panels, some smart appliances will notify you so that you can take advantage of peak-level energy generation. There are even smoke detectors that will send an alert to your phone rather than beeping repeatedly when their batteries run low.

VoIP Phones
What is a VoIP phone? First off, a VoIP phone is not Zoom or Skype. Rather, VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and you can use it with a wide variety of devices. Instead of using a traditional phone company, VoIP technology sends your phone calls through your internet connection. If you want to keep your current corded or cordless telephone, you can almost certainly connect it to a VoIP converter with a simple telephone cable, but you also have the option of using your cell phone, laptop, tablet, or even desktop computer to place and receive calls. You can also purchase a new landline-style phone designed specifically for use with VoIP technology; there are many different brands and styles available.

Virtual Assistants
More and more technology companies are introducing their own virtual assistants, but what exactly are they good for? A virtual assistant (sometimes referred to as a smart speaker) can interpret your spoken commands and questions so you don’t have to type them in; depending on where you place it, you may not even need to get up off the couch. You might tell your virtual assistant to look up substitutions for chili powder, set a reminder to call your cousin at 3 pm, order more laundry detergent, or play songs by your favorite band. Many virtual assistants can even be integrated with your smart home devices so that you can change the temperature or start a movie just by saying so.

Home technology might seem intimidating, but a little research is all you need to feel confident about your choices.