Smart home gadgets can save money

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(WFLA) — It’s a smart home controller in a black tube. Amazon Echo, and its baby brother, the “Dot” are becoming mainstream.

I use mine to turn lights on and off, adjust my Nest thermostat, get news headlines, play music, answer trivia and much more.

I thought I had a cool “Smart House”, but I met my match in Sami Terho. He’s gone gonzo with his smart home. He can lock all of his door, turn his TV on and off, besides the basic lights and thermostat control.

And all started as something to do for fun. “I started to realize that you can actually save money on energy” said Terho. He’s got $4,000 invested. But you can start for less. “You spend , say you spend $500, you’re up and running” he said.

Connected gadgets, called “internet of things” or “IOT” is exploding. Four million electronic gizmos out there now and that number is expected to skyrocket to 165 million in the next few years.

Pinellas County-based electronics seller, Tech Data is “all in.” “Now, you don’t need to be an aficionado of IOT and connected things. You can go to Best Buy or Home Depot and you’ll find a plethora of things” said Michelle Curtis.

It’s not just for geeks. “The more things that are connected in your home are going to make your life simple” said Curtis.

And safer, like a doorbell you can answer from anywhere. Or locks you can activate with your phone.

Things like the thermostat and the lights can actually pay you back in electricity savings.

Some of the other stuff is just cool.

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