For many high-end homeowners, the primary residence is an urban dwelling where outdoor space is, to say the least, at a premium.
While they may not offer the same exterior entertainment opportunities as an expansive country estate or lakeside retreat, outdoor spaces are prized possessions for residents of a metropolis—sources of pride, respite and stunning cityscape views.
Below we’ve identified smart technology that will let you transform your balcony or terrace into an urban oasis.
Eye in the Sky
Video surveillance is a given for most of today’s luxury apartments and condos, but access to the cameras is often restricted to the building’s management—or is entirely limited in scope (and quality), like a fixed view above their front door to identify who is knocking.
But what about homeowners who would rather have a camera for celebratory rather than surveilling purposes?
Enter the iSensor HD Patio.
This weatherproof camera streams live HD video to the smart device of your choice—which means you can carry your enviable city views with you wherever you go. Think of it as a business card, but for life.
Besides allowing you to showcase your lifestyle to whoever asks “Where do you live?” —a top-five question whenever city dwellers meet for the first time—the iSensor HD Patio provides a few utilitarian functions that would be useful for urban residents.
iSensor owners can control the device via an app, allowing them to rotate the camera for a 240-degree viewing area and zoom-in-and-out on live video by performing the actions that should be familiar to any touchscreen user—swipes and pinches.
— Mansion Global (@MansionGlobal) June 8, 2017
Which is to say you can see if your Uber driver has actually arrived while you’re still preparing for your evening out. Or—thanks to the iSensor’s 8GB embedded memory and 24 hour-cloud storage—identify the license plate of the vehicle that scuffed your car while attempting to parallel park.
The iSensor also comes equipped with audio, light and motion sensors—so you can receive alerts in real time and chastise your offspring for overwatering the plants as it happens.
The iSensor is available in black and white models for $159.
Now You’re Cooking
One of the advantages of outdoor space is that it offers homeowners a diversity of cooking techniques. Backyard grilling abounds at abodes the world over, weather-permitting.
But for the city-dwelling balcony or terrace owner, this issue is a bit trickier—namely, finding a grill that provides the proper power and features while taking limited (and multi-purposed) space into consideration.
Here the Asado Uber-Q aims to help.
Lightweight, portable and designed to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Uber-Q can transform a small portion of your terrace into a temporary kitchen—and can be easily stored out of sight (and mind) when the food preparation is done.
Better still, the Uber-Q comes with a couple of clever features that will allow you to focus on entertaining or relaxing.
The Uber-Q includes a rotisserie attachment with built-in thermometer, which, via an accompanying app, will let you know when your when dinner is ready, allowing you more time to use your pied-à-terre for its intended purpose—finishing a crossword puzzle or admiring humanity’s towering architectural achievements.
Become a BBQ master w/ smart grill tech (feat. @Charbroil @LynxGrills, @WeberGrills, @grillbots, @CinderCooks) https://t.co/AnxFEEYL8C pic.twitter.com/JXN4cXx1C0
— Mansion Global (@MansionGlobal) May 23, 2017
The rotisserie attachment also includes a Bluetooth/USB-capable speaker so you can pair music to your cooking process—slow-cooked pork loin and the Pixies’ “Doolittle,” for example.
If these smart, space-saving and sound-based grill features intrigue you, you’ll want to contribute to Uber-Q’s Kickstarter campaign, which has not yet hit its funding goal of $84,866 with 16 days to go. A £135 (US$176) pledge will secure you an early bird order of the Uber-Q, with more features and add-ons included at higher pledge levels.
Made in the Shade
The confined nature of a balcony or terrace can lead to some constraints on the use of the space—whole portions of the day may be sacrificed because the glare of the sun, and its oppressive heat makes the exterior area unusable. Where homeowners would just move to another part of the yard, no such respite is available to the city dweller.
Unless you avail yourself of the latest in sun-mitigating technology.
The markilux MX-1 compact is a solid solution for anyone looking to make use of their terrace, regardless of time of day.
This German-engineered retractable awning offers the best in both design and function. Stylish and sleek, the MX-1 comes equipped with sunlight and wind sensors allowing it to auto-deploy and retract when it registers a change in the weather. Owners can override this feature and exercise complete control over the MX-1, via the device’s accompanying remote control.
For the frequent balcony patron who requires a bit more privacy, or simply a greater shaded space, an upgrade is available that includes the addition of a front-profile awning, descending from the end of the smart screen.
The MX-1 won’t just be a hit during daylight hours. Owners can equip their models with LED lighting features that will provide a comforting glow during evening awning use.
Visit markilux.com for model configuration and pricing.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
One of the finer things afforded to homeowners with land-rich estates is the opportunity to grow and cultivate food-producing gardens—an opportunity that has largely escaped city-dwelling flora fans.
Bucharest-based startup Urban Gardener has built an eponymous device that allows balcony-owning building inhabitants to enjoy fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers—including lettuce, tomato, broccoli, strawberries, basil, oregano, lavender and more—all year long.
A vertical, fully automated aeroponic gardening system, the Urban Gardener uses a series of sensors (temperature, pH, humidity, ambient light) and cloud-based monitoring to ensure all plants receive the proper amount of nutrients.
The end result is a soilless, city-based garden that produces fresh vegetables and can grow up to 30 plants a month, while using 90% less water than traditional farming.
The Urban Gardener Starter Kit is available for pre-order for €200 (US$261) and includes the tower, seeds, nutrient solutions, pH water test and an app for monitoring plant growth.
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