Wi-Fi Wonderland: A Guide to Smart Home Holiday Decorations
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Wi-Fi Wonderland: A Guide to Smart Home Holiday Decorations

Surround yourself with colourful, connected cheer

By John Eliot
Tue, Dec 8, 2020 3:51amGrey Clock 2 min

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—when you get the opportunity to outfit your home in all manner of illuminated goodness.

Whether you’re a fan of bold decorations or understated elegance, classic or contemporary styles, smart home technology can help you achieve the look—and manage it—with ease.

Below, a few options for high-tech holiday cheer.

Twinkly

Perhaps the name in connected Christmas lighting, Twinkly offers multi-color LED lighting options in a variety of forms—strings, icicles, curtains, clusters—all with clever and convenient smart technology. In addition to providing a palette of over 16 million colours, Twinkly makes it simple for users to get the exact look they want. In addition to offering voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, Twinkly’s user-friendly app allows owners to program the colours they want down to the exact bulb—even letting them draw and customize the light scheme they desire by tracing with their finger. And if you’re not feeling particularly creative, no worries. Twinkly has a suite of pre-programmed lighting effects and animations that can be simply selected via the app or voice command. And, of course, as you would want from any holiday light, Twinkly lights are IP44-rated weatherproof, making them ideal for indoor or outdoor use.

Twinkly multicolour LEDs range from approx. $70 to $263, depending on size and configuration.

AtmosKIT Plus (M1)

Multicolour LEDs aren’t your only opportunity to play with light and magic this holiday season. The AtmosKIT Plus is a ViewSonic M1 short-throw projector that can quickly and easily drape your home in cinematic digital decorations. The endlessly portable projector, which weighs under two pounds and features a built-in, 360-degree smart stand, is capable of projecting on to surfaces 40 to over 100 inches away—and comes with 12 holiday decoration projections, with hundreds more available for download from AtmosFX.com. Or you can find and create your own. The AtmosKIT is able to wirelessly mirror and project anything you can play on an iOS or Android device, meaning you can loop snowflakes falling on your window, or play the entirety of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on your wall.

The AtmosKIT Plus (M1) is available for approx. $448.

Meross Smart WiFi Indoor/Outdoor Plug

The holiday season is all about traditions and perhaps you have some decorations which you use every year; maybe they’ve even been passed across generations. Well, never fear—you, too, can take advantage of smart technology. The Meross Smart WiFi is a dual port, indoor/outdoor plug that works with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and can easily handle any of the weather conditions that mark the holiday season in colder climates. In addition to offering users voice control, app control and the ability to schedule when to power on and power off devices, the Meross lets you control each outlet independently—meaning you can power your decorations together, or decide to alternate between various holiday cheer scenes.

The Meross Smart WiFi Indoor/Outdoor Plug is available for around $40.

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House values continued to fall last month, but the pace of decline has slowed, CoreLogic reports.

In signs that the RBA’s aggressive approach to monetary policy is making an impact, CoreLogic’s Home Value Index reveals national dwelling values fell -1.0 percent in November, marking the smallest monthly decline since June.

The drop represents a -7.0 percent decline – or about $53,400 –  since the peak value recorded in April 2022. Research director at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said the Sydney and Melbourne markets are leading the way, with the capital cities experiencing the most significant falls. But it’s not all bad news for homeowners.

“Three months ago, Sydney housing values were falling at the monthly rate of -2.3 percent,” he said. “That has now reduced by a full percentage point to a decline of -1.3 percent in November.  In July, Melbourne home values were down -1.5 percent over the month, with the monthly decline almost halving last month to -0.8%.”

The rate of decline has also slowed in the smaller capitals, he said.  

“Potentially we are seeing the initial uncertainty around buying in a higher interest rate environment wearing off, while persistently low advertised stock levels have likely contributed to this trend towards smaller value falls,” Mr Lawless said. “However, it’s fair to say housing risk remains skewed to the downside while interest rates are still rising and household balance sheets become more thinly stretched.” 

The RBA has raised the cash rate from 0.10 in April  to 2.85 in November. The board is due to meet again next week, with most experts still predicting a further increase in the cash rate of 25 basis points despite the fall in house values.

Mr Lawless said if interest rates continue to increase, there is potential for declines to ‘reaccelerate’.

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