Flickr/CC Brendan C Image by: Flickr/CC Brendan C
You'd think a brass key would be the answer to home security. Not these days. If you think about it, keys aren't the best for keeping everyone safe—they're too easy to lose and a cinch to copy. A product like the Kevo Smart Lock, however, is a great way to safeguard your home. It uses a smartphone to control access to your entry. Only the people you specify are permitted to come in and out. Need a key for a housecleaner? No problem: Use the app to send them an eKey (electronic key) and they'll have access during their working hours.
Now that you're in the door, new technology is also changing how we run our homes' systems, from controlling how much energy we use to notifying us when we're about to run out of milk. One of the most popular products in the home automation space is Nest, a smart thermostat that only gets smarter after being installed in your home for a week. Nest tracks your heat preferences and eventually builds you a personalized schedule. The app also allows you to monitor energy usage as well as how much money you're saving. Add a Nest Cam to keep an eye on your home while you're away, or Nest Protect to ensure you're notified immediately if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.
In the kitchen, high-tech products are helping us wash our dishes and cook our dinner. The Samsung Chef Collection WaterWall dishwasher is virtually silent, but cleans the dirtiest of dishes with high-intensity vertical jets. Plus, there are various settings that allow you to do half loads to preserve water. GE's connected refrigerators can be controlled with an app. You'll be informed if the fridge door is left open or when the ice cube trays need to be filled. You can even schedule hot water for your morning cup of Joe.
For more cool tech, check out these best tech Christmas gifts for 2015.