Direct Energy Smart Products Review – Connected Home Office

In this series, we’ll introduce you to the newest and best products in the connected home market, with a specific focus on introducing you to the right items to help you create your own smart home. While our recommendations aren’t specific endorsements of these products or companies, they do reflect what we feel are leading devices in the connected home space. Welcome to the Smart Products Review series, courtesy of Direct Energy.

In the Home Office

Connected Home Office – Direct Energy Smart Products Review | Direct Energy Blog
Whether you work full-time from your home, or you have a space in your house where you tinker on personal projects after your kids go to sleep, the home office isn’t the neglected space it used to be. With more people working remotely on a regular basis, getting your home office up to speed with the newest connected home technology is more important than ever. Check out these excellent smart products designed to make your work and home life more convenient and efficient.
Digital Voice Assistant
A good speaker and personal voice assistant like the Amazon Echo can be a great addition to any home office. In addition to using the Echo to broadcast your work playlist throughout the workday, you can also use it to control other connected devices like the Nest Learning Thermostat, WeMo Smart Plugs, and Philips Hue lights. In fact, the Echo has multiple device integrations that deliver voice control.
Echo can be a great work companion too, as you can also speak with “Alexa” (Echo’s equivalent to Apple’s Siri) for daily news, sports updates, and weather updates.  With increasing devices and service integrations with Alexa, Echo can be a good addition to your home office, helping you to concentrate on your work without getting distracted easily.
Smart Lights
Connected Home Office – Direct Energy Smart Products Review | Direct Energy Blog
Connected lighting can be just as useful in your home office as it is elsewhere in your home. Once a product like the LIFX is connected to a hub or your home network, you can optimize the brightness to suit your comfort for work. You can also set up a schedule around your work schedule so it will remind you to take a much-needed break (or to get back to work if you’ve been relaxing a bit too much).
Since most smart lights – like the aforementioned Philips Hue – are LED bulbs, they are energy efficient, which helps you lower your electricity usage. And with a vacation schedule for your smart lights, you can create the impression that people are home, deterring potential intruders.
Smart Plugs
Connected Home Office – Direct Energy Smart Products Review | Direct Energy Blog
We heartily encourage the use of smart plugs throughout your home office setup. These devices help you monitor and control energy consumption of all your devices and electronics. You can determine how much your devices are costing you in terms of energy bill, and you can develop a schedule that turns them off at night and during weekends to save some money. Top products like the WeMo Insight Switch even include an app that gives you the chance to control each plug remotely.
Smart Routers
Connected Home Office – Direct Energy Smart Products Review | Direct Energy Blog
We all experience those dreaded Wi-Fi dead zones around the home, the drop-offs where your home network can’t navigate all the corners in your home’s architecture. But thanks to recent innovations, routers are getting smarter and more user-friendly. New routers like those from Luma and Eero come with a main router that sits alongside your cable modem, followed by “child” routers positioned around home in places where you have very low Wi-Fi reception. This setup forms a network that provides you with surround Wi-Fi throughout the home.
Setting up these devices is simple, and you can configure your network with the app, allowing you to monitor your Wi-Fi network from anywhere. You can even find out what devices connect to your network, create individual profiles for family members, control the content, and even pause the network.
No matter how close it might be to the main router, we recommend setting up one of the child routers in your home office so you don’t ever experience any Wi-Fi issues during the work day.
Smart Thermostat
Connected Home Office – Direct Energy Smart Products Review | Direct Energy Blog
Thermostats are a critical and integral part of your home. Since your heater and air conditioner are the biggest costs on your energy bill, smart thermostats can help you lower your energy bills and also help you increase the lifetime of your equipment. And with multiple connected device integrations, you can set up rules to change the temperature when something happens.
You can control your smart thermostat from anywhere using its app, and you can also set up a schedule that suits your working temperature (something you can’t control in a traditional office). A smart thermostat like Nest has motion sensors that help it learn your habits so it can adjust the temperature based on your schedule without you having to make all the adjustments manually. Many flip to an “Away” mode when you are out of the home or adjust to your comfortable temperature automatically when you are back. Smart thermostats are an intelligent addition to the home that can help you save on your energy bills and also help you work comfortably from home.
Next up in the Smart Products Review series, we show you how to improve the intelligence of your garage!