When Amazon launched its first Prime Day deals back in July 2005 – celebrating the online retailer’s 20th birthday – you have to wonder if they knew they were creating a monster that would change the face of summertime shopping.
Welcome to Black Friday in July
This year, the sale is on July 15 and 16. But according to data from online coupon provider RetailMeNot.com, more than 250 retailers will join in aggressive sales promotions this year – a 30 percent increase over 2018. And some of the deals will start long before July 15.
Amazon Prime Day promotes some of its higher-end smart-home devices. But you don’t need to be a high-tech aficionado to know that home automation equipment will be available through a wide variety of online and brick-and-mortar retailers, with huge potential savings for bargain shoppers.
“The smart home isn’t just a fad,” said Chris Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer at Brinks Home Security, a major provider of smart-home technology and home security automation. “It’s all about making your life easier. With a little imagination and research, consumers can find competitive pricing on the latest smart home technology.”
Hot prices on smart thermostats
Start with the obvious: Smart-home thermostats have become a staple in millions of U.S. homes. You can expect to see remarkably competitive pricing.
It’s not hard to see why:
- The government website energystar.gov estimates that the average home can save about $180 a year in energy costs with a programmable thermostat.
- The latest wireless smart-home thermostats aren’t just controlled via mobile app; they have sensors around your house to help put a finer point on temperature settings.
- Some thermostats “learn” your habits and schedule. Then they adjust their settings accordingly, but can still be controlled manually or via app.
Some of the more popular brands are Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell, and others. Shop wisely, and it could pay for itself within a year.
Smart lights also save energy
Studies have shown that automatic lighting is effective smart home security that can deter burglars. According to research by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, nearly a third of actual burglars who were surveyed said a well-lit house was a deterrent. Using a single home security app, you can turn lights on from anywhere, even when you’re running late.
It’s also a great way to help cut your energy bill even more, just by turning off unused lights without even having to get off the couch.
Smart lighting isn’t always cheap, however. The best smart light bulbs can cost more than $40 – unless you buy them as part of a package. Then you can pick up as many as four for about the same price.
Look into video cameras
You’re also likely to find sweet prices on indoor and outdoor video cameras. Johnson says that indoor and outdoor cameras are especially popular with Brinks Home Security customers.
“People will usually choose them to strengthen a home security system,” he said. “But they find out pretty quickly that they do a lot more than just help prevent burglaries.”
- Use a backyard outdoor video camera to check out any late-night noise, without leaving the safety of your home.
- Strategically place a camera indoors to keep an eye on kids who are home during the day while school is out.
- Take a work break for a few minutes each day to watch your pets. Watch them play, or catch them climbing on the furniture.
Did you close the garage door?
Another smart home device worth researching is a garage-door controller. That’s not to be confused with a simple garage-door opener, where you press a button to open or close the door.
A garage-door controller lets you check its status via smartphone from anywhere. That means a lot when you’re miles down the road and can’t remember whether you closed it.
It can also send you an automatic alert whenever someone enters or leaves via the garage. That’s especially important for families who enter the home through the garage more than they use the front door.
Amazon Alexa vs. Google Assistant
Amazon and Google are going to use Black Friday in July to try to outdo each other for their voice assistants.
The good news is, you should be able to pick up a smokin’ deal on either device from dozens of providers. Stay on the lookout for home security automation bundles which incorporate Amazon Echo or Google Home with other smart home devices.
It gets a little trickier when you already have Echo or Google Home. Then it’s not enough just to look for a good deal or an economical package. You should make sure your smart-home devices can be easily controlled by whichever voice-controlled system you have.
“A home automation security system should always be compatible with voice control,” Johnson said. “It’s a huge convenience when you can control your home security system, lights, thermostat or other features through Alexa or the Google Assistant.
“You don’t want to buy a smart-home device just because it’s cool, or because you can get a great price. Think about what it can actually add to your life, and whether it will fit in with your existing system. Everything in your smart home should be tailored to you.”
Amazon Prime Day became the monster that we can start seeing as Black Friday in July. Now it’s up to you to celebrate: Do your homework and take advantage of the best deals on home security automation with smart-home devices – no matter where you find them.
Robert Ogle has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years, with extensive experience as a journalist and freelance contributor. Former Editor at Security Nation magazine, Robert is currently Senior Copywriter at Brinks Home Security. Robert focuses on home security systems, smart-home technology trends, and the impact of disruptive innovation on U.S. industries. Connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/robertogle/.