Wise up to the benefits of a smart home

(BPT) - Smart homes make life easier and more convenient. Who wouldn't love being able to control lighting, entertainment and temperature from their couch - or from anywhere for that matter? Whether you're at work or on vacation, smart devices alert you to what's going on at home and help you stay connected and protected.

"Since inventing the world's first residential smoke alarm, First Alert has been at the forefront of advancement in home safety technology," says Tom Russo, president of First Alert. "Our Onelink portfolio of smart products goes beyond traditional perceptions of safety products and ushers in a new era of interconnectivity between a home's comfort level and people's safety and lifestyle preferences."

According to the experts at First Alert, the following are just a few of the many benefits of giving your home a "smart" makeover:

Safety and security

Having the ability to monitor your home from wherever you are is one of the biggest benefits of a smart home. Devices that deliver notifications about everything from intruders to water leaks help homeowners react quickly and avoid major disasters.

For families with children, smart devices can provide parents with added peace of mind. You can safeguard doors and drawers, such as the liquor cabinet or gate to the pool, with connected contact sensors. With smart locks and cameras, you'll know when your kids get home from school, and can ensure their safety when the doorbell rings with mobile access to live video. There are even smart safes with motion detecting technology and access notification that are ideal for keeping weapons and medications safely locked away.

Convenience and customization

Convenience is one of the most common reasons people purchase smart devices. These high-tech products streamline common tasks by giving users remote access to everything from heating and cooling systems to multimedia devices, kitchen appliances, security features and even a forgotten garage door. You have the ability to program devices to your family's specific needs and preferences, and the flexibility to choose which features to integrate into your smart system to create a connected home custom designed to cater to your specific lifestyle.

Ease and expansion

Unlike their complicated predecessors, many of today's smart home products can be easily installed, and you certainly don't need to buy everything all at one time. One of the best places to start building a smart home system is with essential devices like a thermostat, or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

To make things as simple as possible, the Onelink by First Alert Wi-Fi Smoke + CO Alarm is designed to work with most existing interconnected hardwired alarms, so users do not have to replace all of their existing alarms at once. The Apple HomeKit platform makes it easy to add new alarms and other devices to expand a smart home system. The alarm can be easily tested or silenced using the Onelink Home app on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) or Apple Watch. In the case of an emergency, the Onelink Alarm will instantly alert the homeowner via a notification on their mobile device, allowing the user to assess the situation and alert authorities if needed, or silence the device in the event of a false alarm, like burnt toast.

Energy efficiency and cost savings

A major part of what makes "smart" devices smart is their ability to save users money through improved energy efficiency. Lights can be programmed to turn off automatically when no one is in a room. A thermostat can be set to let the indoor temperature drop during the day before returning it to a more comfortable level just before residents arrive home in the evening. You can even track energy usage and expenditures to determine ways in which your family can reduce consumption.

In addition to all of these benefits, automated home products are fun to use. Whether setting lighting and music from your iPhone for a surprise romantic evening at home, or keeping an eye on your house from a tablet while lounging on an exotic beach, you'll find home automation easy and enjoyable.

For more information about Onelink by First Alert, visit www.firstalert.com/onelink, and for more information about Apple HomeKit, visit www.apple.com/ios/homekit.


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