It’s getting a bit cheaper to turn your dumb house into a smart one. Price has been the biggest hindrance to the expansion of the smart home, and it still is, to a certain extent. But recently, some of the biggest players in the smart home industry, along with some new entrants, have helped lower prices to more acceptable levels for the masses.
Nest (thermostats), August (door locks), and Ikea (light bulbs) have led the way in providing cheaper products in their respective smart home categories. Nest introduced a $169 thermostat that’s just as good as the original $250 version, and there’s also the Ecobee3 Lite at the same price.
August’s revamped smart lock is now $149, down from $229, a price that should draw far more people in to consider buying a smart lock. Sidebar: August’s smart lock doesn’t work on garage doors, which is where most people who have a garage would like their smart lock to be (unless you have a deadbolt on your garage door, which is very rare). I rarely ever open my front door, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. So, August (hi!), please make a smart lock that works for garage doors.
And then there is Ikea, with its low-cost line of smart light bulbs. Ikea’s Trådfri smart light bulbs start at $12 for a white bulb, compared to $20 for a TP-Link or $30 for a Philips Hue bulb. Given how many light bulbs you have to purchase if you want most of your home to be outfitted with them, the savings can be massive using Ikea bulbs instead of the alternatives.
That’s only three examples, but here’s the thing: you don’t need a lot of products to have a smart home. I have my entire house outfitted with Philips Hue bulbs (not cheap) and a Nest Thermostat E, and my home feels very smart. I can turn on my lights from across the country and my AC automatically cuts off when I leave the house — and that’s only two devices.