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The new Nest Cam IQ, an AI-fueled security camera that uses facial recognition to look for security threats. (Nest Photo)

The smart home is all the rage these days, with companies churning out intelligent gadgets and voice-controlled doo-dads like there’s no tomorrow.

This week on Geared Up, we break down some of the coolest tech out there to give you a state-of-the-union on smart home technology, and some tips on how to make the most of it.

The smart home isn’t just about gadgets: it’s also about the platforms and smart assistants that connect them. Some of the top platforms right now are Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri and Home Kit.

Geared Up co-host Andru Edwards says when it comes to choosing a platform, it’s best to go with the one that will slot most easily into your life. If you use and Android phone, you probably want to choose devices that work with the Google Assistant; if you’re an Apple fan, maybe go with Home Kit devices.

But for those just getting started, Amazon’s Alexa may be the the easiest to pick up, and it works with the most devices, he says. And keep in mind that a lot of devices will work with two or more platforms, so don’t be too worried about tying yourself down.

Echo Dot
The Amazon Echo Dot. (Amazon Photo)

Andru also shows off some of the gadgets he uses in his own home, starting with Google-owned Nest devices. The company makes smart thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and security cameras. While the tech is pretty cool, Andru also has gripes with some of the devices’ features — or lack thereof. The company’s outside security camera doesn’t come with a battery, for instance, so if an intruder pulled the plug, the device would be pretty useless.

Nest just released its latest offering: The Nest IQ, an in-home camera that uses AI and advanced cloud computing to recognize who is in your home and when. It can send mobile alerts if it sees someone in the house who shouldn’t be there. While that may be useful for security, it also brings up plenty of privacy concerns.

We also dive into another security offering, the August devices. This startup makes smart locks and doorbells that are designed to keep an eye on your front door and give you mobile access to any visitors.

Listen to the show above or download it as an MP3. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play Music or wherever you listen to shows.

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