Prepping for Patio Weather: 8 Innovative Products to Bring Your Smart Home Outdoors
Alexa, set the outside temperature to 75 degrees, add a pleasant breeze, bring out the sun and crack a cold beverage for me.
Didn’t work for you either, did it? Oh well—the warmer weather most of us love is back on its way anyway! And for gadget hounds, that might mean finding new enhancements for your patio setup. From a rockin’ new Bluetooth speaker to outdoor lighting to a brand-new way to bird watch, what’s truly innovative this spring and summer in the Internet of Things? Grab your flip-flops and your grilling spatula and let’s go see.
U-Tote AC600 Dual Band Outdoor Wi-Fi Access Point
Before you start springing for the cool new patio devices you just can’t live without, make sure you’ve got that sweet, precious Wi-Fi that those devices need. If your outdoor Wi-Fi can be charitably described as “spotty,” you probably need an outdoor range extender/access point. These come in many flavors. Some high-end models are housed in an outdoor weatherproof box that has a NEMA 4 rating or higher to protect from wind and rain, while others offer more basic protection.
A good compromise is the U-Tote AC600 Wi-Fi Access Point, which has a very solid IP65 waterproofing rating and boasts a cooler-load of other features as well. Plus, honestly, the thing just looks cool, with an unusual vertical design that sets it apart from its competition.
Klipsch AWR-650-SM Rock Speaker
Are you ready to rock? If so, are you also ready to listen to music from a stereo shaped like a rock? We’ll give you a minute to think about that one, but in the meantime, check out this awesome rock-shaped Bluetooth speaker. This is no low-quality novelty. The 6 ½-inch woofer and dual ¾-inch tweeters provide serious sound, and it can handle up to 50 watts. If you’ve got some particularly great landscaping you’re proud of, these speakers can enhance it even more with a hefty dose of bass.
“A Roomba—for your grill!” You wish you’d thought of it, right? The Grillbot is a handy little guy that’s perfect for cleaning the gunk off the grill after a hard day of barbecuing. With the power of three heavy-duty wire brushes powered by electric motors, it’s the fastest and easiest way to get your grill looking brand-new. We only have one piece of advice: Don’t mix it up with your regular Roomba, or you might be refinishing your hardwood floors.
Weber iGrill Mini
Imperfection? Uncertainty? There’s no room for those when you’re working the grill! With the Weber iGrill Mini, you can easily monitor the temperature of any burger, steak, chicken breast or whatever you’ve chosen to throw on the barbecue. Just get the thermometer in the meat and then go grab a drink by the pool. The sensor will ping your app when the meat’s at the perfect temperature. Whether you like it still mooing or you’re the well-done type, the iGrill Mini will help you get it just exactly perfect.
Philips Hue Smart Outdoor Lighting System
The Philips Hue is the gold standard of smart patio lighting systems. Take a look at the features and it’s easy to see why. You can embrace your inner Monet by choosing from a full palette of 16 million colors via the Hue app—or, if that sounds like a nightmare of option paralysis to you, Philips also provides some very nice presets. The accompanying app allows you to set your outdoor lights to turn on automatically when you get home or turn off when you leave, and you can use it for outdoor security lights as well.
Lightning Cornhole Electronic Scoring Boards
This one might not count as a proper smart device since it has no Wi-Fi or app features, but we still think it’s pretty cool. Cornhole is a classic patio game, and the Lightning Cornhole Electronic Scoring Boards will make for some awesome competition at your next barbecue. They come with a wide variety of vinyl decorations, and the large digital display makes tallying your score easy—just hit the up/down button whenever you score. The best feature of all? Both the scoreboard and the hole light up, so you can keep the game going after dark!
Bird Photo Booth 2.0
For true nature lovers, the Bird Photo Booth 2.0 is where it’s at. This ingenious device is a motion-activated camera attached to a bird feeder that helps you get up close and personal with the feathered friends in your backyard. When a bird comes to visit, the camera sends a notification to your phone—so you can snap images and record 4K video! It’s an awesome tool for bird lovers, kids and anyone who wants to get to know nature a little more closely.
Spyra One Next Generation Water Gun
Should you find yourself in a water gun arms race this summer (and who hasn’t?), the Spyra One is a near-guaranteed key to victory. This futuristic water gun would look right at home in a sci-fi video game, is apparently capable of shooting water up to 40 feet under ideal conditions and features a digital display that tells you when you’re about to run dry. It’s not available yet, but a Kickstarter page is up with a pictured prototype (featuring a picture of a woman whose face threatens murder if the guy holding the Spyra shoots her with it).
Dreaming of your feet in the pool, a beverage in your hand and a delicious meal sizzling on the grill? We figured, because that’s what we were doing while writing this article, too. So, when you’re planning your next warm-weather event, whether it’s a garden party soiree, a beer-and-brats barbecue or a little of both, keep these options in mind when you’re thinking of how to make your party a little smarter. Have fun, be safe and don’t forget the smartest gadget of all—sunscreen.
Author Bio: Kate Began serves as the Sales and Marketing Manager for Polycase. Kate oversees the customer service representatives, assists with product development and leads the marketing efforts from the Avon, Ohio headquarters. Kate has a Business degree from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Before joining Polycase, Kate was an investment banking analyst. Kate is an avid Cleveland Indians fan.