Get Smart on These Options for Staying Connected to Home

By Jessica Mireles
December 20, 2016
Nest Thermostat

Homes are getting smarter, and it’s my job to keep our customers and associates connected to the quickly-evolving technology.

My career with Walmart started six and a half years ago, and I’ve been the connectivity buyer since April of this year. I know firsthand how intimidating this category of products can be, but key trends are emerging that make home automation an easy choice.

Google Home and Nest are helping lead the way by being approachable and by showing how different products work together and independently. A couple of other popular items are the Arlo HD Security Camera and Philips Hue lighting, both of which are compatible with Google Home.

I’m not just the buyer – I’m also a customer. Before purchasing a Nest Learning Thermostat for my home, I had no idea how it all came together.
When most people think of a “connected home,” they think security. If you have kids, you want to know they got home from school okay. Or, if you’re like me, you might check in on your pets during the day. But today’s technology does so much more.

Systems like Nest allow you to manage your home’s thermostat remotely, which is environmentally friendly and may save you quite a bit of money on utility bills throughout the year.

And in addition to comfort, an automated home gives peace of mind. If a smoke detector is hooked up to the system and smoke is found, the system will immediately shut off the furnace or air conditioner. Most fires happen when those units malfunction and continue to run.

I love that these systems communicate with one another and alert you to possible danger. When a house sitter stayed at my home to watch my dogs, I got a text message that an unhealthy level of smoke was detected in the kitchen. The house sitter had burned bacon! Fortunately, no one was hurt and no damage was done, but imagine if it had been a real fire. Catching it early could mean the difference between cleaning up and losing everything you own.

It probably sounds shocking, but I’m not techy at all. I was thrilled to find that these automated systems are simpler to install than most smoke detectors. The Nest thermostat control only has a couple of wires you have to plug into the home’s existing system – it took me about five minutes to complete.

The only requirement is downloading an app to your Android or iOS device – smartphone, tablet or computer. The app will walk you through the install process and help you manage your home remotely.

The most important thing our customers and associates need to know is a great home Wi-Fi network has to be in place to support home automation. Make sure the router and Wi-Fi are set up correctly and that a strong signal is available. If you find you’re interested in learning more about these products, we also have a Home Automation website where you can take your time getting to know what’s available and what it can do for your home. The site is a work in progress, as this category changes rapidly.

Regardless of whether your home is old or new, it can be taught new tricks. Walmart will continue to be a resource for this new and innovative technology – and it makes what I do exciting.