Smart Home Meets Summer

Summertime is quickly approaching. That means higher temperatures, summer vacation and plenty of backyard barbecues! As hot weather sweeps through the U.S., we’ve broken down the must-have smart home gadgets to make your house smart, fun and efficient.

As summer heats up, you may be thinking – how can I trick out my house to be smarter and more efficient? Higher temperatures mean more air conditioning and increased cooling costs. Increased vacations might create a need to beef up your security system. And speaking of beef, we can’t forget to mention some of the coolest state-of-the-art smart grills for this season’s best barbecues.

Cooler Cooling

One of the primary concerns for Americans during the summer is how to keep the energy bill down. Fret no more: many smart thermostats, such as the Nest thermostat, can be programmed to work with your home’s cooling system. Nest systems connect to your heating and central air conditioning systems and allow you to program your heating and cooling remotely from your smart phone. The Nest is intuitive – it learns your family’s habits as the seasons change, so this is actually a year round solution to your cooling and heating needs.

If your home is outfitted with traditional wall unit air conditioners – you have “smart” options as well. ThinkEco created a SmartAC Kit which connects the air conditioner to a power outlet. The SmartAC Kit’s connection with the wall also emits a signal which you can control from your smart phone, allowing you to control when your A/C turns off and on, and to what temperature.

The best part – you can save on cooling throughout the summer with both systems. Turn your air conditioning off while you are away from home and turn it on remotely from your smart home to make sure your home is fresh upon arrival.

Keeping Kids Safe

Now that the kids are home from school for a couple of months, they’ll have much more free time at home. Angel Piontek, an avid smart home fan and Realtor Associate with Coldwell Banker Elite in Fredericksburg, VA, loves the Circle with Disney, which she considers to be a must-have for families with children using the internet.

Circle is a product that allows parents to filter content on their child’s devices, and even set a bedtime for every device in the home through the parent’s smart phone or tablet.

“Circle allows parents the ability to set time limits for internet usage, monitor what content our kids see and also review what websites they are using,” said Angel. “The system gives parents the ability to virtually control the internet!”

Smart Security

If you’re planning a big escape or even a weekend getaway this summer, security is key.

Canary and Vivint are two smart security systems that require minimal installation but offer maximum security to your home at a low cost. Both systems involve components such as cameras, sensors and alarms which are app-compatible. Enjoy your summer getaways with the peace of mind of knowing your home is outfitted with technology that can stop potential burglars and alert the authorities while you’re away.

Better Barbecuing

We all enjoy some fun in the sun with our friends, family and good food, so why not enhance the experience with a smart grill. The Lynx Smart Grill comes in various shapes and sizes depending on the size on your party, but the coolest part is how it saves you time while cooking so you can mingle with your guests. Through voice activation, the Smart Grill prompts you on what to do and when to do it, for example, “Flip the burgers in two minutes”.

Cinder also produces smart indoor grills that you can control from your smartphone. Cinder can weigh and measure the cuts of meat used and precisely cook it to perfection by continuously measuring temperature and cooking speed. The best part? There is minimal supervision needed. You can prompt Cinder to cook your steak medium rare from your smartphone and voila – it will alert you when ready to eat!


You may be wondering where you should begin. Our savvy agents say it is best to start small with one smart home component you feel you really need and expand from there. For more information on where home meets smart home or to see smart homes in your area, visit

Senior Manager, Public Relations & Giving for Coldwell Banker. Grew up in Sarasota and attended college at Western Carolina University. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. She has been with this awesome brand for more than 15 years and can be found generating buzz about CB in every way possible. Athena helps to grow the brand’s position as the most storied real estate company within the industry and has led many high-profile endeavors; she was at the forefront of the brand’s pioneering smart home campaign, raised $6 million in two years to build 130 Habitat for Humanity homes, and led the Homes for Dogs program in partnership with that resulted in tens-of-thousands of dogs finding their furever home. She currently leads the CB Supports St. Jude program, which encourages the Coldwell Banker network’s 96,000+ real estate agents to make donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for every real estate transaction they represent. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or planning her next travel adventure. She's the proud mom of three cats Jolene, Ziggy and Lucy.

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