Want to make your condo smart! Here is a quick guide, broken down by category, to help start your navigation through the tech world.
Live in a house? Click here for more information on how to make your house smart!
Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home using your smartphone, tablet and/or computer. Not only can you monitor the temperature and adjust the heating/cooling from anywhere, some thermostats (such as the Google Learning Nest $329) now use smart learning technology to learn your schedule and temperature preferences in order to operate even more efficiently. Less pricey models from the Nest series (starting at $229) and Ecobee ($219) offer the same ease of control through your smart devices but with manual scheduling and personalization settings.
However, be wary that not all condos are compatible with smart thermostats. Check to see what kind of heating and cooling system your building has installed and whether or not it would be compatible with the smart thermostat you are interested in before purchasing.
Smart lighting can start as easy as screwing in smart bulbs next time your regular bulbs burn out. Most bulbs have their own downloadable app and are compatible with existing assistant hubs such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant while some bulbs need their own hub. Once installed, you can turn them on or off, dim or brighten them, and set the light colour through your hub, app, or voice-controlled assistants.
Don’t want to wait until the bulbs decide to call it lights out? You can choose to install smart light switches that allow you to control your existing lights through the controls on the device or with an app.
Living in a condo has its security risks: property managers and other condo personnel have keys to your unit, and strangers can slip through the front doors. Using a door camera such as Remo Plus that hangs over your door allows for easy installation and live monitoring. There is also this wi-fi doorbell camera from Ring that is one of the most popular options. If you’re worried that the camera could be compromised, there is also a peephole door camera from Brinno that is installed from inside your unit for more discreet monitoring.
Smart locks can also be installed for you to control access to your unit directly from your phone. This one from August uses your unit’s existing deadbolt which means you can still use your keys or choose to have the door automatically unlocked for you as you arrive home.
Other useful smart products include sensors that can detect when there are any leaks, temperature changes, and irregular humidity to prevent potential disasters to your unit (which may be insured) and units around you (which are not insured). These devices can also notify you upon hearing existing fire and carbon monoxide alarms so you are aware of these threats wherever you may be.
If you would like more information about condo insurance and what is covered before purchasing one of these devices, read more here.
Devices such as Nest Protect work as a smart alarm and sensor to notify you on your smart phone when it detects smoke and carbon monoxide. Pair it with your Nest thermostat and you can make it so that your ventilation system is automatically shut off when your Nest Protect detects smoke. You’ll also get reminders to replace the battery so you and your home can continuously stay protected. Another product like this is the Onelink Smart Some Alarm and CO Alarm.
Did you know that some buildings and future building developments already have smart devices installed?
– Tridel, for example, has “Tridel Connect” that uses smart technology to see who’s at the door, adjust the unit temperature, call the front desk, set the alarm, check the weather and get building updates. There is also license plate recognition and an automated parcel delivery system that will notify your unit when a package has arrived for you in the holding area. Available at the following buildings:
– Ten York (Harbour St. and York St.)
– Via Bloor (Bloor St. E. and Parliament St.)
– Auberge On The Park (Eglinton Ave. E. and Leslie St.)
– Evermore (The West Mall and Eva Rd.)
– Bianca (Dupont St. and Bathurst St.)
– Aquabella and Aqualuna (Queens Quay E. and Merchants’ Wharf)