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Is your home smarter than you? How smart technology can change your day-to-day life
You’ve probably heard about new technologies that are being used in ‘Smart homes’ to help take care of everyday tasks and activities. But how useful are they ?
While some of us are wary of having too much tech in our homes, these products can offer great benefits for older people or those of us who struggle with mobility or vision.
Here are a few of the new products that are available that you might find useful:
These voice-activated devices have artificial intelligence built into their speakers, so you can ask the device to do a range of tasks, like make to-do lists, play music or news, create and remind you of calendar appointments.
It can even answer general questions, so if you asked, ‘what is the weather today’, the speaker would find and reply with the answer - like a speaking Google search. The devices can also be linked up with other smart devices in your home like a TV or fridge.
At the moment, smart speakers include Google Home, Amazon Echo or Alexa, and the upcoming Apple HomePod.
As the devices add more features, it’s expected that they will take a more proactive role in your home – giving you reminders and predicting what you might like.
But for now, the real advantage is in having the devices perform simple tasks that may be difficult for you to do yourself. Using voice commands you can do things like:
You can compare different products here: www.techradar.com/news/best-smart-speaker-which-one-should-you-buy
Smart or video doorbells let you see, on your mobile device or smartphone, who is at your front door before you open it.
Different options offer different features, but these devices usually include live video, motion or human detection, night vision, high video quality and a 2-way communication option. Some will even sync in with your other smart appliances, like the speakers above!
While there’s definitely safety and security benefits to these doorbells, many people will like being able to let the person at the door know if you just need extra time to get there.
You can compare the different versions here: www.safewise.com/resources/smart-doorbell-buyers-guide
Smart locks are basically door locks that rely on a code, rather than a key – so you don’t need to worry about losing your key or having to rummage around in your bag at the front door!
You can also control these locks with a smartphone, letting you check that the doors are locked from inside your home – even from your bed at night.
Depending on the device, these locks may include monitoring features or the ability to assign special privileges to friends, family or carers. Some of the more sophisticated models even speak in multiple languages.
You can compare the different versions here: http://au.pcmag.com/surveillance-cameras/44061/guide/the-best-smart-locks-of-2017
For peace of mind, you may like to consider using a personal alarm.
Our personal alarm is a small emergency pendant that can be worn discreetly around the neck or wrist. It’s lightweight and water resistant, and works anywhere around your home and garden.
The pendant contains a button which, when pressed, automatically calls our emergency response team.
When you use your personal alarm to contact us, our experienced operators will answer your call, view your medical history and get you the help you need.
New ideas, devices and gadgets are emerging every day and there’s lots of options for people to investigate. Have you found a smart device that has made life easier? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org !
You might also like: How to stay safe online – security tips for seniors