How to trick out your house with tech for the holidays

CNN Money

New technology can make for a more connected and fun holiday at home.  CNN Money’s Selena Larson breaks down the features, apps and gadgets that can make your home smarter this holiday season.  If you’d like to see some of these smart home features in action, but sure to check out the video, shot at a Lennar model home in Alameda, California!

Whether you plan on impressing guests at a party or just want to make sure your house is warm before you get home after vacation, let’s take a look at how smart home devices can automate the season.

First, you’ll need to decide which ecosystem you want to be a part of, such as the Samsung(SSNLF) SmartThings or Apple (AAPL, Tech30) HomeKit platform. Not all devices work within the same ecosystems, so you’ll want to buy smart home products that run on the platform you choose or you’ll have to switch between apps. Some home builders, like Lennar Homes, are integrating HomeKit from the ground up, so new homeowners get smart devices with their house keys.

Next, ensure the products you buy are secure. Change the default log-in name and password on all new devices before installing them. In October, the cyberattack that took parts of the internet offline, including sites such as Twitter, Netflix and Spotify, were carried out by products connected to the home that were infected with malware.

The good news is more companies are building security directly into products. For instance, Apple requires HomeKit-capable smart products to meet security and technical specifications. Set up is typically easy, too — you add the gadget to the system by plugging in the device and entering a special code within the HomeKit app.

And if you’re using HomeKit, Siri can handle your requests. You can ask the voice assistant to lock the doors doors, turn the lights on or off or set the mood for a movie night.

Read the full article: How to trick out your house with tech for the holidays

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