We're jumping into a time machine to revisit some of smart home.from the last 10 years. We've already covered , -- and even of the decade. Now it's time to talk about the
refers to a that connect to your phone, TV or . While some smart home products existed before the 2010s, like , this decade ushered in the modern smart home industry -- an entire tech category comprised of , , and even that do much more than their non-smart predecessors.
But 10 products stand out more than the rest. Here are the biggest smart home hits of the decade, ranked in ascending order.
10. Belkin Wemo Smart Switch (2012)
Ah, the humble smart plug. These handy gizmos plug into outlets and make it possible to control lamps, space heaters and other dumb home appliances from your phone -- or with a voice command. It's a simple, affordable entry point into the smart home, and thewas an early favorite.
Its $50 price, straightforward app and early adoption of, a service that helps devices from different manufacturers work together, made it a popular product recommendation in the early days of CNET's smart home coverage. Belkin replaced this particular switch with the and the , but the original Wemo Smart Switch is a legacy smart home product that inspired other brands to introduce easy-to-use app-enabled smart plugs.
9. Piper (2013)
was the original all-in-one home security system. This self-contained security device, now discontinued, cost $239. It came with an HD security camera, two-way audio and motion, audio, humidity, temperature and ambient light sensors. Piper was outfitted with a siren, so you could scare away potential intruders with a screaming 105-decibel alarm.
Piper got its start on Indiegogo and expanded to online stores like Amazon after Icontrol Networks purchased the startup. Icontrol then released an improved version of the original Piper with night-vision called the . with all-in-one home security systems, but Piper led the charge for this smart home product category.
Alarm.com purchased the Piper division of Icontrol Networks in 2017 and the Piper and Piper NV products were discontinued.
8. August Smart Lock (2013)
The, first introduced in 2013, was pretty revolutionary at the time. Instead of replacing your entire deadbolt -- a standard step for many smart locks, even today -- August's inaugural smart lock retrofit over most standard deadbolts. The installation required minimal time and effort and you could lock and unlock your door from the August app. August has since introduced of its classic Smart Lock, but the installation and overall simplicity remains the same. In 2017, Assa Abloy, the parent company of lock maker Yale, .
August also sells a smart video doorbell, the square.
7. Samsung Family Hub (2016)
Most of the large appliances we've seen with integrated smart home tech aren't actually all that smart. Theis one of the few exceptions -- it was the first large appliance that impressed us with its smart tech.
At $5,600, the Family Hub is an expensive refrigerator -- Samsung has since introduced other,models. Samsung's goal: to make Family Hub the hub of your house. Not only do the fridges have an app, they have built-in cameras where you can see what's inside when you're at the grocery store. Not sure if you need more milk? Just check the camera. They also come with a giant touchscreen display on the outside, complete with a calendar, music apps and much, much more.
As there hasn't been much innovation in the category since the Family Hub's debut, Samsung's line of smart fridges still dominate the category today by default. It's not something you need to rush out and buy, but the Family Hub was a good first step for the category that showed us the potential of smart large appliances.
6. Dropcam Pro (2013)
Theinfluenced the entire DIY security camera industry when it first hit the scene in 2013. Its 2012 predecessor, , was a solid camera, but the 1080p Pro really set the standard for the security hardware to come. Priced at $199, the Dropcam Pro had a straightforward app for live streaming, motion alerts and two-way talk.
Startup Nest (now owned by Google) purchased Dropcam in 2014 and thewas largely inspired by the Dropcam Pro. But its influence goes far beyond the Nest Cam Indoor. of $200 1080p HD home security cameras. That trend has only recently given way to more affordable models, like the $20 .
5. SmartThings Hub (2012)
SmartThings began on Kickstarter. The idea was simple -- this single, router-connected hub would control all (or at least, most) of your smart home devices. And the related SmartThings app would be your one-stop spot for monitoring and managing the settings of each device. When we tested the first-gen version, we liked it. It did a decent job unifying devices so you didn't have to switch between a ton of apps and settings menus. Instead, everything was in one place.
After Samsungin 2014 it introduced next-gen hubs with similar, updated functionality around the same time as the first . By comparison, SmartThings and hubs from other companies (like and ) were clunky and hard to use. Even so, the original SmartThings hub, and its competitors (Wink and Revolv deserve honorable mentions here), paved the way for smart speakers and other devices that unite all of your smart home gadgets under a single device.
SmartThings in its current form is still available as a hub, but has also.
4. Ring Video Doorbell (2014)
Before Ring was Ring, founder Jamie Siminoff launched the. The Doorbot had a lot of design and performance problems, but the company rebranded quickly as Ring. The $199 was among the first solid smart doorbells to reach store shelves. It's still sold today, at the reduced price of $100. Ring now offers a variety of other , and .
. Ring has come under fire for its ; customers have the option to share their camera's footage with law enforcement, .
Many smart doorbell companies have emerged since Ring, but this brand has been the most prevalent in this still-growing product category.
3. Philips Hue (2012)
Color-changing LED bulbs may not seem like a new thing today, but back in 2012 they were pretty wild -- and Philips was at the forefront of the category., the color-changing starter kit now includes four bulbs for the same $200 price. Monitor and manage your lights individually and by room in the app. Set schedules, automations with other devices and more.
The smart bulb market is much more saturated in 2019, and Philips itself has expanded to meet the growing industry. The company now sells, and even , but they aren't anymore. That title goes to the .
2. Amazon Echo and Alexa (2014)
The original Amazon Echo emerged during a time when we were all trying to make sense of the smart home. Hubs like SmartThings and Wink were important precursors, but it wasn't until the Amazon Echo arrived in 2014 that the smart home really took off. This cylindrical speaker, powered by voice assistant, would open up the smart home world to entire families in a way that the trickier-to-operate hubs never could.
Kids could ask Alexa to tell them a joke. Adults could set kitchen timers, play podcasts, get weather reports -- and control their connected devices with a simple command, "Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights." A lot has changed in the smart speaker category since this first product --and have swooped in with smart speakers of their own. And the Alexa of 2019 has grown up a lot in five years, connecting with thousands of different skills, creating thousands of potential ways to interact with .
There areassociated with owning and using smart speakers. Amazon has been in the news for . , making it possibly to automatically delete Alexa recordings, as well as a "Home Mode" for Ring cameras that turns off audio and video recording when you're home.
Amazon isn't the only company updating its privacy policies in an effort to give customers more control over their data. You can now ask Google Assistant to "."
1. Nest Thermostat (2011)
The 2011, dreamed up by Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell (known as the "father of the iPod), marked the start of the modern smart home industry. Before the $249 app-enabled Nest launched, there were other thermostats (and other devices in general) you could control with your phone. But Nest was the startup that first considered design in a major way. It took something utilitarian and boring -- a thermostat -- that typically hides on the wall in a hallway, and made it a statement piece.
Read more: The best smart thermostats of 2019
Yes, $249 is a heck of a lot of money for a thermostat, but a lot of people bought it. It's now in its third generation as the. Nest also sells the with a similar design as the Learning Thermostat at a more affordable $169 price. in 2014 and has rebranded to Google Nest, now offering , , , and that work with Google Assistant.
There are dozens oftoday and our current favorite isn't even a Nest model -- it's the . But Nest made people excited about buying smart home products and I think it's one of the main reasons the larger category has grown so fast in ten years.
Originally published on November 2, 2019.