11.20.2017Personal Tech

Our “Holiday House” showcases smart home tech and connected gifts galore

By: Libby Jacobson Fox and Jeremy Godwin

This year, stay connected to the people and things you love most.

Watch Video about Holiday Gift Guide 2017

At Verizon, everything we do is focused on building connections, and our mission this holiday season is to keep you connected to the people and things you love most. At the Verizon Holiday House, a special demo space we built inside our NYC offices to showcase the power of Verizon's products and services to influencers, a Fios Gigabit connection powers the more than 50 devices, demonstrating the “wow-factor” of smart home technology.

Holiday entertaining made easy with smart home tech

Holiday season means holiday parties, and the right smart home set-up can help make your next party an evening to remember. It all starts outside, before you even walks in. A camera doorbell, like the Ring video doorbell 2, lets you see and greet your guests - or a group of carolers - when they arrive. A Canary Flex or Arlo Go security camera lets a busy host peek in on the kids playing in the basement, or keep an eye on the private areas of the house you want to keep off-limits to guests.

Once inside, a smart speaker can wow your guests and make hosting a little more entertaining. The Google Home or JBL Link 20 lets you use your voice to control connected lights, cameras, speakers and switches. Try asking the Google Assistant to find the music playlist (or cocktail recipe) that will get everyone dancing.

Setting the right atmosphere is key to helping guests feel at ease. Philips Hue light bulbs make regular lamps and overhead lighting dimmable to a relaxing after-dinner glow, while the Hue color bulbs and strip lights add a little ambience to any get-together. Of course, adding a few dozen people to any home is bound to raise the temperature a few degrees. A Nest Thermostat E, when connected to a Google Home, lets you easily cool things down with a simple voice command.

Connected kitchen tech makes party prep work a piece of cake

In the kitchen, smart devices can help anybody from the most seasoned chef to the novice baker. Smartphones and tablets are helpful for answering quick questions about substituting ingredients or converting measures. But they work best with clean hands. A Google Home Mini makes for a helpful hands-free virtual kitchen assistant for chefs who like to get “hands-on” in the kitchen.

Few things ruin the party like a wailing smoke alarm. If you accidentally leave the appetizers in the oven, the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector has a smartphone-based silence feature and is also compatible with the Google Home/Mini. So there’s no need to drag a stepladder through a crowded room to reach the detector — a tap or a command shuts it off.

For anything else around the house you’d like to make “smarter,” use a WeMo mini smart plug, which turns anything with an on/off switch into a connected device that can be controlled via smartphone or a Google Assistant smart speaker. Ask the assistant to heat up the espresso maker, or turn off the slow cooker before the mulled wine boils away.

Gifts for staying connected outside the home

In addition to connected home devices, the Verizon Holiday House is filled with scores of gift-worthy gadgets and stocking stuffers, like protective LifeProof or kate spade cases. The drama and inconvenience of a cracked phone screen is real, and peace of mind is a great gift for any occasion.

Wearables are a hot item on many gift guides and sure to be on many wish lists this year. Stay connected with an Apple Watch Series 3, or track steps and activity with the Fitbit Ionic. It may surprise you to see how many steps you rack up on your next holiday shopping trip.

If you’re shopping for an audiophile (or you just have a long flight) this year, the noise cancelling Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones are a good bet. Outdoors-y music lovers will appreciate the UE Wonderboom – a portable, waterproof speaker that packs a lot of sound while weighing less than a pound.

The official holiday shopping and party season is kicking off this week. At Verizon, we’re looking forward to providing the technology and the network that people rely on to stay connected to the people that matter most.

Find the products listed above at Verizon's smart home store

For related media inquiries, please contact story.inquiry@one.verizon.com

About the author(s): 

Libby Jacobson Fox is a writer and strategist on Verizon’s external communications team, with interests ranging from brand storytelling and analytics to reputation and public policy.

Jeremy Godwin is a member of the Verizon Corporate Communications team, and a regular host of Up to Speed. He's the team's resident tech geek and media junkie.

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