Gifts for the automated home are convenient and environmentally smart

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      More and more, we’re all taking advantage of the convenience of being able to have elements of our home automated. Using programmable thermostats and LED lights can also reduce our environmental footprint, too.

      August Smart Lock ($200)

      This smart lock lets you control access to your home with a smartphone. You can have it automatically lock when you leave the house and open when you approach; you can give temporary access to people who need to enter; and it also logs every entry. The company also has a doorbell camera so you can answer the door—and see who’s there—even when you’re away from home. A smart keypad rounds out the accessories, so you can operate the smart lock with a numerical code.

      Dyson 360 Eye Robot vacuum ($1,300)

      This little robot is the best thing that’s ever happened to our house. It’s got powerful suction that is expected of Dyson’s products and it can operate across any type of floor, thanks to a tank track. It navigates the environment with ease while avoiding any obstacles;it  brings itself back to its docking station to charge; and it remembers where it left off when it heads back out again.

      Wink Hub 2 ($129)

      At the centre of an automated home is the Wink Hub, which connects to and communicates with a bunch of different products from different manufacturers that use different protocols. With the Hub you can, with one interface, control: a host of different LED bulbs and switches, including the Philips Hue; programmable thermostats like Nest; connected outlets; and electronic locks. Also available is the Wink Relay ($100), which is a touchscreen controller you can install in place of a light switch that gives you the same control over all your automated home devices that you get from your smartphone.

      Philips Hue LEDs (white ambiance starter kit $130; colour starter kit $200)

      The Hue bulbs come in two configurations, white and colour. The white bulbs can be set to different “temperatures” of white, from cool to warm, and can even be set to automatically dim or brighten when you want them to. The colour bulbs can be dimmed, too, and can be set to emit the entire range of visible light colours.