A revolution is coming to your home.
You might have seen television commercials for some of the high-tech products available for your home, such as the Ring video doorbell system or the Samsung refrigerator that allows you to look inside your refrigerator and see what food you need to buy. But those products are just the tip of the connected home revolution.
To help consumers make sense of it all, Best Buy has set up a "Tech Home" in the rotunda of Minnesota's Mall of America. Visitors can walk through a home that includes a number of connected appliances and electronics and get a sense of how they can all work together to provide that Jetsons-like home experience we've all been dreaming about. The house features multiple rooms that showcase the possibilities that come with the Connected Home and Internet of Things. In addition to learning more about home security, wearable products, drones and virtual reality, guests are invited to tour the Connected Home concept, including a “connected” kitchen, living room, office and bedroom.
The heart of the Tech Home is the Samsung SmartThings Hub. It connects wirelessly to any of the compatible devices in the home and it's all controlled through an app or tablet. You can use your smartphone to monitor your home from anywhere and remotely turn appliances, thermostats, outlets and smart locks. You can add as many devices as you like and its compatible with a number of manufacturers.
While this all sounds like science fiction, the products offer some easy, real world applications that will make your life much more secure and manageable. The Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor detects movement or temperature changes in the home. You'll receive alerts if its detects movement and you can integrate it with in-home cameras that will allow you to see what's going on in the home. You can also use the sensors to turn on the lights when your child or spouse arrives home in the evening.
The Samsung SmartThings Outlet allows you to control any three-prong outlet remotely. So you can turn lights on and off while you're on vacation, or set appliances to automatically turn on or off according to your schedule. When combined with a connected thermostat, you could remotely turn up the heat and turn on the lights before you arrive home, which is just about as convenient as you can imagine.
One of the easiest ways to get started with home automation is with the Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit. It includes a SmartThings Hub, two Multipurpose Sensors, a Motion Sensor, and an Outlet.
Samsung also offers a number of connected appliances and my favorite at the Tech Home was the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator. It has 3 built-in cameras take a picture of the inside of your fridge, allowing you to better track your grocery needs. But I was most impressed with the large touchscreen that is part of the main refrigerator door. You can use the screen to order groceries, make to-do lists, share notes and dates with the calendar and even listen to music with Pandora. There is also a virtual bulletin board function, which allows you to display digital photos and drawings on the front of the refrigerator.
You'll have a lot of questions as you walk through the Tech Home, but there are plenty of Best Buy Blue Shirt experts and Geek Squad Agents around to answer questions and provide tips on how you can get started. Best Buy carries the latest and greatest in connected home technology products and their agents can can bring the experience to life by getting your tech connected and up and running.
The Best Buy Tech Home will be on display through September 17. Come and visit Tech Home at the Mall of America to learn how you could win a $10,000 Best Buy Gift Card, a Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Collection, Samsung Dream Kitchen, and a Samsung 55” SUHD 4K TV and more.
Be one of the first 250 to visit the Tech Home at the Mall of America each day from 8/22-9/17 and you could win one of many prizes made with Qualcomm technologies including Sonos Play:1 speakers, Samsung Gear S2, and more.
Abbreviated Rules: No purchase necessary. See www.BestBuy.com/TechHome for full rules.
NOTE: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.