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The Nest Protect won the best overall category in our 2019 roundup of the best smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

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It’s 7. 58pm and by the time you hang up your coat, take off your shoes and sit down in the living room, it’s time for the basketball game. The television turns one. You dismiss the notification that the television had been recording the pre game show, and start to watch, but a beep from the kitchen stops you and impels you to enter. It’s your refrigerator, reminding you that there are three perfectly chilled beers inside. You’ll grab one beer and something to eat, but a display on the outside informs you that the leftovers are probably bad by now. You tap a button on the display and your refrigerator dials the local takeout restaurant on our cellphone, which you quickly remove from your pocket. After you place your order and make your way back to the television, you see a second notification that informs you that you’ve forgotten to activate your security system, but that it has been done for you. You silently marvel at how simple life has become as you sit back to enjoy the game. Smart homes had their origins, as most innovations, in theory long before they become a reality. While science fiction writers, such as Ray Bradbury, depicted these homes throughout much of the 20th century, their genesis lies in the development of the systems that comprise them.

 

Blandit Etiam

Or it could be a whole home setup in which your lights, thermostat, locks, security cameras, smoke detectors, garage door openers and more are all interconnected and can react in different ways when one of them is triggered. For example, you can have all your lights turn on when your smoke detector starts blaring, or you can have all the lights turn off, the locks lock and your security camera turn on with a single command. MORE: Our Favorite Smart Home Gadgets and SystemsIf you're just getting started, I would recommend getting the Philips Hue White Starter Kit $69 and the Amazon Echo Dot $49. Philips' lights provide one of the least expensive ways to get started and should give you a taste of what you can do. From there, you can connect the lights with the Echo Dot, so you can turn them on or off using Alexa. Image credit: TP LinkIf you want to go further afield, I suggest investing in a smart plug or two; these simply plug into an outlet and connect to your home's Wi Fi network.