While the holiday season is still some way in the distance, we all love a good party whatever the time of year.
If you’ve got a connected home packed with the latest smart home devices, how can you harness that gear to make your smart home a party home?
Today, we’ll take a more light-hearted look at how you can make that happen. After all, home automation can seem a little serious and we always try to inject some fun into proceedings.
Without further ado, then, how can you get that party started in style?
Streamline Access: Video Doorbell or Smart Lock
Before you get going with your party, it’s worth thinking about the volume of guests arriving…
Do you really want to be disrupting the flow of your interaction constantly running to the front door?
We think not.
You’ve got two obvious choices to streamline access and let your guests in without ruining the flow…
A video doorbell allows you to take remote control using your smart phone so you can see who is at the door. This might be handy if your party is out in the garden and you want to tell your guests to pop round the side of the house.
What about a more direct route into the house proper, though?
A coded smart door lock can come into its own here.
We looked at the Nest x Yale Lock last week in our study of Google’s swelling stable of smart devices. This is our standout recommendation and comes with Nest Guard to promote remote access.
The keyless deadbolt replaces the one you have in place and you’ll be able to issue all incoming guests with a passcode for the night.
The inbuilt benefit of allowing your guests to make this kind of entrance is an immediate conversation starter, especially if they’re not smart home savvy.
Your Host The Digital Assistant
Voice assistants have rapidly become the cornerstone of home automation since Amazon’s Alexa burst onto the scene back in 2014.
If you don’t already have an Echo device, it’s about time you gave it some serious thought.
While the party is in full swing, you’ll be able to get your digital butler to perform just like a physical hired help using nothing but voice commands?
Time to order some pizza?
Need to get that party playlist fired up?
Ready to order Ubers at the end of the night?
Alexa has you covered all the way. Just bark out your commands and she’ll do your bidding.
If you’re not sold on Alexa, you’ve got three Google Home smart speakers to choose from. With the exception of Google Home Max, sound quality from the other speakers might be a little limp for most parties but Max punches hard. Why not embrace the smarts of Google Assistant for help with your playlists and fill the room with the immersive soundscape of Google Home Max?
If you’re happy to use smart speakers for party admin and you’d prefer some heavier guns for music to get the place rocking, you might need to up the ante…
Speakers To Give You Music To Die For
While sorely lacking in terms of smart home functionality, Apple HomePod stands proud as a speaker in its own right.
If you’re not bothered about Siri’s limitations, HomePod is a weighty speaker that delivers audio power in line with its 5.5-pound form.
Powered by a highly capable A8 chip, acoustic modeling and echo-cancellation are nice touches. A 4-inch woofer gives you ample low-end kick without any menace of distortion even at higher volumes.
No less than 7 tweeters, each equipped with a driver, complete a magnificent soundscape to get any party jumping.
The other obvious choice when it comes to upscale audio for a connected home where music is uppermost is Sonos.
The classic Sonos 1 with Alexa onboard is available in sets as well. Treat yourself to a set of 4 speakers and stream your party playlist through the whole house.
Sonos also serves up some mighty soundbars and wireless subwoofers if you want to jack things up a notch.
Smart Lighting to Set The Mood
No party is complete without mood lighting and in the smart home of 2019, you’re spoiled for choice.
The Philips Hue Premium Starter Kit is a fine entry-point if you haven’t yet smartened up your lighting.
Choose from a staggering 16 million colors including shades of white and every conceivable other part of the spectrum.
You’ll get a Hue Hub thrown in and you can schedule party scenes throughout your house so all lighting is personalized to the occasion and automated. If you want to intervene, you’ll be able to do so in-app on your smartphone.
For flashier, hands-free control, these lights work well with Alexa if you have an Echo device in the house.
Take a look at our in-depth article on Setting Up Starter Kit and The Best Apps for more ideas of how to make the most of this gold standard in smart lighting.
LIFX bulbs make another great choice for automated lighting to suit any kind of gathering. They also offer a solid range of light strips and tile kits if you fancy getting a little more creative with your lighting.
Home Theater: 4K TV to Relax in Style
It goes unsaid that any party is likely to slide into the home theater.
Maybe you don’t have a dedicated entertainment area but that’s no excuse not to supersize the TV.
Are you having friends over to watch the match? If so, it’s well worth investing in an Ultra HD 4K set if you want to feel like you’re at the game without needing to brave the crowds or pay those ticket prices.
LG has a robust range of OLED TVs that continue to fly off the shelves. Go for a 55-inch 2017 model for a real bargain or, if you have the space and budget, go all-out with a 65-inch Smart OLED. It’s not cheap but with Google Assistant baked in, Dolby Atmos to supercharge the sound and ThinQ AI, this TV will crown any connected home.
And when the party comes to town, you can flick from sports to movies to your favorite music with a few simple voice commands.
Smart Fridge: Make Sure You Don’t Run Out of Snacks and Beers
With your guests all in the house, the lighting, music and entertainment sorted, it goes unsaid food and drink need to flow.
Smart fridges tend to polarize opinion.
The Samsung Family Hub is fully connected and you can check the contents from the den in-app on your smart phone thanks to the camera inside.
We make no secret of the fact we’re not the biggest fans of smart fridges. And here at SmartHome, we’re unfailingly honest. The last thing we want to do is push you in the direction of expensive products you don’t need. On the contrary, we’ll regularly serve you up with budget smart devices ideas instead.
So, if you’ve already got a smart refrigerator and you’re embracing what it has to offer, why not drop us a line and convince us we’re wrong?
If you don’t have one, it’s hardly worth making a special costly purchase for a party but they do come in useful in certain areas.
We are, however, cheerleaders for a range of other smart tech to automate cooking…
Smart Gadgets in The Kitchen
We looked at the Best Smart Home Kit from Design and Construction Week 2019 last week where some touchscreen hoods and induction cookers rebooted came out to play.
We’re partial to the Masterbuilt Smart Digital Electric Smoker and this Bluetooth-enabled beauty will help you cook up a storm outside without lifting a finger. Simply stack the smoker with enough food to keep your guests happy then monitor proceedings from a distance. All you need is your ever-present smart phone to monitor and control all aspects of cooking.
Maybe you fancy whipping up some cocktails but you’re distinctly lacking in prowess? Make your life easier and impress your guests with the Perfect Drink PRO Smart Scale.
All you need to do is pop your cocktail shaker on the scale, use the free app packed with 400 recipes then just pour each element of the drink until you hear an alert on your smart device of choice. You’ll get a stainless steel shaker thrown in along with the scale so all that remains is to stock up on some liquor and you’ll be Tom Cruise in a flash.
What about when the party’s over and your guests are looking for a caffeine fix?
Little beats the push-button convenience of a super-automatic espresso machine or a single-serve capsule machine but there are even smarter alternatives…
The Behmor Connected Temperature Control Coffee Maker can be controlled easily from an app on your smart phone. This neat little coffee machine is also compatible with Alexa.
You can build out your preferred brewing profiles and this intelligent machine will remember the temperature and extraction level of choice.
What’s missing from this part of the equation?
How About a Serving Robot?
While a serving robot would be nice, we’re a little way off these becoming adopted en masse.
We recently looked at LG’s growing CLOi range of robots, many of which are out to play in South Korea’s Incheon airport.
CLOi ServeBot is already functional but targeted at the hospitality industry. It won’t be too long until this type of mechanical helper enters our homes, though.
Aeolous Robotics also has a suite of nimble AI-fuelled robots looking far more like the robots from sci-fi movies and these can already bring you a drink, responding to both voice and text commands.
Robotic Vacuum: Get All The Mess Cleared Up For You
Next week we’ll be looking into how many smart home predictions from the 1980s have come to pass. With robots, the tech is in place and working prototypes are in full swing. All that remains is for them to penetrate our homes and that’s only a matter of time now.
Until you can readily and affordably add full-bore robotic helpers to your smart home, there’s always a well-established robotic vacuum.
Once the dust is settling from the party of the year, what better feeling that kicking back with a stiff espresso and watching that dust get sucked up without lifting a finger?
You’ve got a welter of options with robo-vacs.
iRobot makes a fantastic range of Roomba machines but our personal favorite is the Neato Robotics Botvac D7.
While many robotic vacuums struggle with carpets, the Botvac acquits itself admirably on all types of flooring.
LaserSmart navigation and mapping along with virtual No-Go lines mean this low-slung gem will glide around the aftermath of your party without breaking its stride.
While we routinely suggest cheaper products where they’re fit for purpose, a robotic vacuum is not something you want to buy based purely on the bottom line. Although the technology is maturing nicely, most of the cheaper robo-vacs don’t cut the ice. And the last thing you want is to vacuum up behind your hired help!
With all that messy clean-up done for you, it’s time to head upstairs where, hopefully, you’ve got a smart mattress in your bedroom to help you edge toward dreamland.
Well, you should now have plenty of inspiration if you were fumbling for party ideas in your connected home. From music to food to cleaning up after, you’ve got a wealth of choice to automate those tedious tasks.
If there’s anything you feel we missed out, get in touch and let us know. We always welcome messages from our readers. We’re here to give you what you want, so don’t be shy!
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