Power Up Your Home

Technology has done more for smart home devices than sync them with a remote-controller app, or made them respond to voice commands.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Technology has done more for smart home devices than sync them with a remote-controller app, or made them respond to voice commands. These innovative lifestyle devices are cutting-edge, practical and desirable 

My Reading Room

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 with Google Assistant, from $4,000.

There are plenty of wireless speakers imbued with Google Assistant, but the new Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 clearly is the most premium and stylish. This piece of statement furniture features a classy wool-blend textile made in collaboration with renowned textile design brand, Kvadrat, which is also available in different shades to match your home decor. Oak wood or sleek metal make its legs, and the design of the fabric power cord also matches the overall aesthetic.

The speaker is compatible with Google Assistant, so you can call on it to start your playlist or hear the latest news. A new streaming engine has also been built into the device to offer faster connectivity for streaming tech such as Apple Airplay 2 and Google Cast. You’ll like how tactile and smooth the speaker’s device controls are: A swipe of the hand across the top adjusts volume; a tap plays the last or next track. It comes with a powerful 480-watt digital amplifier system and the sound it is produces is engineered to adapt to the space around it (i.e. size of your room). Now, sit back for an immersive experience.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

Click & Grow The Smart Garden 3, $138 (USD99.95).

Growing your own herbs and vegetables may sound like a wonderful home project but it can get frustrating and messy, especially if you’re new to this hobby. If you don’t have the patience (or the time) for a gardener’s journey, make the switch to this automated planter. The Click & Grow Smart Garden creates the perfect environment for plants, and allows you to sit back and reap the rewards with just three steps: plonk seed pods – capsules of seeds and pesticide-free soil concocted to keep the plants healthy – into its seed cups, fill its water tank and flick the switch.

Unlike gardening outdoors where you can’t get a consistent light source or growing plants indoors where your lights may not be strong enough, this planter comes with a consistent light source using in-built LED bulbs. No time to water? A large selfwatering tank holds water that lasts for up to three weeks. Perhaps the most difficult thing you need to do is choosing what to grow: pick from 57 varieties of plants, from basil to mini tomatoes and even flowers. No green fingers needed.
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Kohler Veil Wall-hung Intelligent Toilet, $13,565.

The gold standard for toilets and bathroom hygiene, the Kohler Veil Wallhung Intelligent Toilet features a oneclick sanitiser button that activates UV light and an electrolysed water system to clean the toilet bowl and wand. A water filtration system purifies the warm water sprayed onto the body from the bidet. There’s also a front wash and spiral rear wash, and a built-in dryer that provides warm air to keep you clean and dry. A built-in deodoriser is automatically activated after each use, so the toilet always smells fresh. Flushing is, of course, automated. If it needs an extra gush, a wave of the hand over a touchless flush plate activates it. The motion- activated toilet cover opens when you are near and closes when you walk away. Made of an anti-bacterial material, the warm seat is ergonomically designed to minimise pressure points for absolute comfort. Did we mention that it looks incredibly sleek and stylish, too?

My Reading Room

Washer, from $1,399.

Instead of pushing a button for the washing mode for different fabrics, like cotton shirts or silk bedding, LG’s latest washing machine has sensors to identify fabric types and will proceed to use the suitable washing mode. Fill its detergent and softener compartments with product, and the machine will prescribe the right amount of detergent and softener for every wash after detecting the volume and weight of each load. When detergent is running low, this washer can notify you through LG’s ThinQ mobile app. You also need not worry about setting the wrong drying setting as this automatically sends setting details to a compatible dryer. To wash two separate loads, pop the smaller load into the bottom washer to save time.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

Dyson Lightcycle Desk Light, $799.

In a league of its own, the Dyson Lightcycle Desk Light is one light you can pass on to the next generation. While LEDs tend to overheat, this has an in-built cooling system to protect and maintain light quality of its LED lights for up to 60 years (at regular usage of eight hours a day). Driven by an algorithm that assesses colour temperature and brightness of the day, this provides the most optimal light – no matter where you live. Sync it to the Dyson Link App and personalise it to emit light recommended for your age – you need brighter lights as you age. Or choose from pre-set modes, such as Sleep, Relax or Study to customise light intensity.
My Reading Room

Samsung 8K QLED TV, from $6,439 (55”).

Big and bright are de rigueur for most high-end TVs. But this AV powerhouse deploys artificial intelligence to take perfection to the next level. Like good makeup, it fixes and enhances to sharpen and clarify. Spatially intelligent, it analyses room space to adjust picture brightness to reduce glare and eye strain, and tune audio to the optimal levels with its Object Tracking Sound Plus feature. What happens is it can boost the dialogue from your shows when the TV detects loud ambient noise. At 15mm thick, the screen pretty much blends into the wall. When not screening your favorite movie, it can be switched to display photos from your phone, or digital artwork from its collection. Voice assistance is in-built, of course. Available in six sizes.