Smart home gear is all about convenience. It saves you time and money and keeps you safe – but it's summer! Time to kick back and relax. So let smart home tech help you do that for all your outdoor entertaining.

If you've ever hosted an outdoor party, you know that one of the biggest hassles is simply wrangling guests from the street to the backyard as they arrive, two or three at a time, whenever they happen to show up. With smart home tech, you can actually keep an eye on the front door without leaving the party already in progress.

Installing a front door viewer, gives you a peephole for the connected age, allowing you to view whoever's at the front door via your connected smartphone. Better yet, if you combine a front door viewer with Z-Wave smart locks, you can just as easily use your app to let your guests in the front door as they arrive, and lock the door behind them once they're in.

And I hear what you're saying: "So, what, I'll be glue to my phone for the entire party instead of haunting the front door? That doesn't sound like a big improvement!" Remember, though: the real strength of Z-Wave smart home technology comes from the ability to connect ALL of your things and create true home automation. What if your outdoor sound system could tell you when someone knocked?

If you have a Sonos wireless music system, you already know it's a great way to distribute your favorite tunes in and around the home, and its speakers are perfectly portable enough to carry outside to enhance the party atmosphere during get-togethers. But did you know that a Sonos system can also be an extension of your smart home? Combine Sonos with a Z-Wave enabled SmartThings hub, for example, and you could easily have your speakers pause the music and play a little alert tone whenever someone rings the doorbell. Or, if you don't want to interrupt the music, you could easily (and temporarily) program an outdoor lamp to flash on and off when guests arrive.

Put it all together, and you'll wonder how you ever hosted a get-together without smart home products. And best of all, your guests will feel like they're partying in the future.