The Lazy Man’s Automated Home: A Room-by-Room Guide

Simple gadgets that won’t be obsolete in 2019

August 1, 2018 9:00 am

“I have an Alexa speaker just to turn off one light.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a direct quote from InsideHook’s Managing Editor and true American Kirk Miller.

Last week, we essentially recommended the opposite of that approach, but when there are high-tech gizmos to be had that anxiously await the chance to do the bidding of anyone with a voicebox — people are going to stockpile their home with them.

In service of embracing the inherent idleness of modern technology, we’ve assembled a guide to the lazy man’s automated home: one gadget per room that’ll make life a little easier.

The only criteria? They must be simple to set up, simple to use and not be obsolete soon.

Let’s get lazy.

Dining Room: Sonos One with Amazon Alexa
Yes, we’ve been seen on the town with a who’s who of smart speakers. But if we’re bringing one home to meet the folks, it’s going to be the Sonos One. And that’s not wholly figurative, either. This Sonos offers an unparalleled mix of sound, service and sync-ability, whether it’s for yourself or to wean your parents off the ol’ AM/FM. And with Alexa integration, you can be like Kirk and use it to turn off one light (or be like everyone else and use it for just about anything).


Kitchen: iRobot Braava Jet 240 Robot Mop
Should you get a robot chef? No, you should learn how to cook. Robot bartender? No, you should know how to mix a drink. Robot cleaner for all your kitchen spills? Bingo. Swap the college-era “sock mop” with this pint-sized mop droid from the makers of Roomba. Includes a jet spray and vibrating cleaning pad to tackle wood, tile and even stone floors.


Bedroom: Wemo Mini Smart Plugs
The ‘90s had The Clapper. The ‘00s had complicated tablet remotes. We have Wemo. That is, for turning lights on and off without having to get up to hit the switch. Plug this into an outlet and you can control lights and appliances from the app or, if synced to a virtual assistant, with your voice. And while these originally only worked with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Wemo showed it can change with the times and offered firmware updates to allow Apple HomeKit integration as well.


Garage: August Smart Lock Pro
Swapping your front door lock for a smart lock is a big commitment (due more to nostalgia than anything), but that side door to your garage is a perfect  starting point. And it’s really time to stop hiding that extra key under a mat/rock/garden gnome. August’s Pro model combines simple installation (keep your existing deadbolt and keys) with every feature you could want: control from anywhere on your phone, auto lock/unlock, activity feed and smart-home integration.


Bathroom: Moxie Wireless Speaker Showerhead
Without getting into the intricacies of plumbing, the best way to instantly up your daily bathroom experience is a shower speaker. But not just any shower speaker — one that fits into the showerhead itself. Kohler’s little cone of genius connects via Bluetooth to your favorite device, so you can keep listening to the tunes, news or podcasts you had on while making coffee.


Foyer: Ring Video Doorbell 2
Bad news for human interaction: not answering the door is the new not answering the phone. With this two-way talk video doorbell, you can still answer, but from the comfort of whatever device you choose. Are there more powerful options (even from Ring)? Sure, but those need to be hardwired. In the name of simplicity, this includes a battery pack so you can slap it on your porch and hit play (though, really, you should get it hardwired).


Living Room: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit
You could go the cheaper route with IKEA. Or full-on Blade Runner aesthetics with some of our favorite colored-light fixtures. But when you want plug-and-play lighting that integrates with Alexa, Apple and Google, and can go from red mood-lighting for the Westworld finale to calming whites (when it gets too real) with a swipe — this is the ticket.


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