Smart technology enables this generation's appliances and devices to do much more than the single task originally in their job description. Today, everything from faucets to light switches to showers are multi-tasking thanks to Wi-Fi, the Internet and communication technology.

Smart Water Monitor: According to Forbes, the electricity sector is advanced and prepared, with smart grids and smart meters installed across the country. The water utilities, however, are lagging behind with horribly out-dated infrastructure that leaves providers and customers ill prepared, uninformed and unaware of potential problems until they occur. But a person's home doesn't have to remain vulnerable. Smart water monitors use sensors and the Internet to tell consumers when water is more or less expensive throughout the day. They monitor water flow, waste, and can detect potential leaks and blocked or frozen pipes.

Floor Plan Light Switch: When a home features a central panel of light switches on a wall — each of which controls different lights in different hallways and rooms — even people who have lived there for years often have to find the right light through trial and error. A floor plan light switch, on the other hand, features a diagram of the house with individual rooms, foyers and hallways. Tap the room and get the right light every time — even guests can figure it out on the first try.

3D Printers: A few years ago, 3D printing was a novelty reserved for back rooms in university labs and government defense experiments. Now, the jury is no longer out. 3D printing is here to stay and it is no longer just for commercial applications. An in-home 3D printer can precisely create essentially any shape or pattern and produce physical objects out of resins and polymers that will last longer than most things on Earth. Need a new coat hook? How about a doorknob or some hangers or a Christmas tree stand? Just print one!

Smart Shower: A smart shower is a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth-enabled, voice-activated device that regulates water flow, water pressure and water pattern (massage, wave, etc.) in cycles, such as shampooing and rinsing. It regulates the temperature of the water and monitors the time someone has spent showering — oh, and it also plays their favorite tunes or videos.

Touchless Smart Faucets: Touchless faucets automatically dispense water through a motion sensor. What's the big deal, right? They have those in gas station bathrooms. Right, but when smart technology is added, the faucet can adapt to specific tasks (filling a vase vs. washing your hands), changing the temperature and water flow automatically.

Wireless Thermostat Control: Now that smartphones nearly ubiquitous, apps can be used to interact with a home’s temperature control system. With the right setup, a homeowner can adjust their unit’s set point or run-cycle from anywhere their cell gets service. We have a few controllers that are Wi-Fi compatible, and our app is available on the iTunes store.

Everything from showers to light switches have gotten better at their jobs thanks to technology. The internet of things is enabling today’s top innovators to redesign those devices that serve them, creating better homes and better living around the world.

This article and its content are sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric US Inc., Cooling & Heating Division.