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Charge Your Home – And Your Portfolio

At times, I bet your home feels like one big chore.

You open the door and immediately have to perform a laundry list of tasks before you can even sit down and relax.

But no longer.

Today, many of those tasks can be accomplished by pressing a few buttons – often before you even pull into the driveway.

In some instances, no action is required at all on your part, assuming you’ve programmed your devices in advance.

Whether you call it a power house or smart home, residences are quickly growing more sophisticated.

And as investors, we should ask ourselves: Why just purchase these apps and devices when you can also profit by investing in the companies making it all possible?

Move Aside, Jane Jetson

Years ago, we watched Jane Jetson make a pizza, think up a perfect outfit, or steam clean her couch just by pressing a few buttons.

It all looked so cool and futuristic, but it was a lifestyle we could only dream of. Today, though, the Jetsons’ lifestyle is becoming reality.

Anyone can take control of a home using either a remote control or a smartphone and instantaneously communicate with coffee machines, ovens, locks, window coverings, entertainment systems, lights, thermostats, and fireplaces.

And many of these communicators can be set up on one whole-house platform.

Here are just a few of the devices that are now available, as well as some of the publicly traded companies that offer connected devices.

  • Amazon Echo – This fun, hands-free device not only maintains playlists and broadcasts your music with 360-degree omnidirectional audio, but it can also read the news, relay sports scores, and much more. Made by Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).
  • Nest Cam – This “seeing eye” streams live video straight to your phone. It’s made by Nest Labs, a company recently purchased by Alphabet Inc. (GOOG).
  • Google Chromecast – While we’re on Google, try out this fob that casts the entertainment you love from your favorite device to your HDTV.
  • Hue Go – Change the mood in your home instantaneously with a portable mood lighting device made by the Dutch electronics company Koninklijke Philips N.V. (PHG).
  • Heat & Glo Fireplace – Have a roaring fire ready and waiting for you before even opening your front door. It even helps cut down on gas usage. Hearth & Home Technologies is a division of HNI Corp. (HNI).
  • SmartThings – Are you concerned that your home may be burgled while you’re away? By placing this multipurpose sensor on your doors or windows, or by placing a motion sensor in your home, you can receive immediate alerts on your smartphone if someone is trying to break in. SmartThings is owned by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SSNLF).
  • Staples Connect – If all of these gadgets and apps are a bit daunting, why not automate your entire house with the Staples Connect Hub? This product combines the functions of multiple apps in one place. It’s offered by Staples Inc. (SPLS), of course.

Private Eye

If you take the private equity or VC route, there’s an abundance of new or privately held companies doing exciting things for the home.

They range from programming your shower’s temperature and spray sequence via a touchscreen system, to letting your mattress track your sleeping patterns and help you make decisions about your daily activities.

And now, without even touching your kitchen faucet, you can turn it on by waving your hand.

Thus, rather than investing in companies that make gimmicky or trendy technology, invest in names that are solving real life problems. Today’s focus on power homes provides investment opportunities in businesses that save effort and focus on practical and meaningful features.

So in 2016, make your life better and easier, reduce your global footprint, and make a bit of profit on the side.

Happy New Year and good investing,

Shelley Goldberg

Shelley Goldberg

, Senior Correspondent

View More By Shelley Goldberg