Six months ago, my wife and I purchased our first patch of land—featuring a small brick shack we now call home! It had lovely stained green carpeting, dusty daffodil curtains, and enough Pope Francis memorabilia to fill a small cathedral. All our Pinterest-fueled fantasies had come true!

Okay, so our house was in need of an overhaul, STAT. And while my wife focused on researching fridges and dishwashers and wrestling IKEA pieces, I concentrated on the important stuff: making our pre-space-age house into a smart home.

Admittedly, I’m late to this home tech party. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of having my thermostat talk to my toaster. But as consumers, where should we start? And as advertisers, how can we target smart home consumers without being annoying about it?

So I did some digging (and consulted Brokaw’s very own web-ninja, Mike Krueger) on where to start and what to avoid.

The Must-Haves

Smart Bulbs

While there are plenty to choose from these days, you can’t pass up the convenience and simplicity of a voice activated light. Plus, LED technology can be one heck of an energy bill saver. And influencers like ESPN have tapped into this bulb culture using the IFTT app to enhance the at-home, in-game experience. Now when the Cleveland Cavs tip off, our smart bulbs will shift to thematic wine and gold to enhance my team (and brand) loyalty.

Nest Thermostat

Brace yourselves: winter is coming, and so is the gas bill. Why should we heat our house during the day when the only thing at home is leftover pizza? Mike Krueger swears that the Nest has saved him enough cash for his son’s college fund. Truly smart!

The Must-Not-Haves

Chip Smart Cookie Oven

Let’s be honest—it’s an Easy-Bake Oven for adults who buy coloring books.


A “smart fork” that buzzes when it senses you’re eating too fast? I already have enough people who are more than willing to tell me this. And their opinions won’t cost me $65 (or change the way I eat).

The I-Gotta-Have-It

C by GE Sol

This device might transport our house from 1950 to 2035 by itself. An Amazon Alexa housed in the futuristic beauty of a 60-watt lamp? Yes, please.

For more information, check out the video above that was shot by a certain cinematographer who writes newsletters so he can gratuitously pimp his own clients/projects.

Have a connected weekend, everyone!

– Your smart-shack-having friends at Brokaw

This device might transport our house from 1950 to 2035 by itself.

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