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Smart Hubs Review

Smart Hubs Review

The main idea behind using best smart home devices, like video doorbells, lights, smart thermostatssmart security cameras and etc. is to make the process of doing simple day-to-day tasks even simpler. But if you’ve multiple smart devices installed in your home, it is very easy not to remember which app manages the thermostat or which once can be used for dimming the lights. But the advancements in smart-home technologies have a solution for this problem as well; however, you’ll need an extra device for the same a hub. Home automation hubs unify all your connected gadgets and devices and allow you to manage them from a single app, rather than to use many. Different automation hubs are compatible with various connectivity technologies, and while purchasing a hub, it is crucial to choose one that is compatible with the gadgets and devices you use. Bluetooth LE, Z-Wave, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi are some of the most commonly used connectivity protocols. So, while buying an automation hub, it is important to ensure that it supports as many of these protocols as possible. To help you make a smarter decision, we’ve created this to help you make a smarter decision, we’ve created this Best Home Automation Hubs Reviews post with detailed information about the different connectivity technologies, some of the smart home automation hubs, smart home systems, and a lot more. So, let us begin our journey to search the best smart home hub, by first talking about some of the most popular connectivity technologies.

Different Types of Home Automation Connectivity Technologies

If you are planning to buy a smart home device for the first time, the abundance of technologies and products in the markets are sure to confuse you. Right from Bluetooth-enabled smart locks, Wi-Fi compatible thermostats, to ZigBee-connected lights and Z-Wave-networked alarm sensors, there is a full gamut of options to make your home smarter. But why do you need these different technologies while they more or less, offer the same functionality? While this might initially look like a reasonable question, after digging these technologies a little, it is very easy to see that the question is similar to knowing the difference between a mallet hammer and a sledgehammer. While both of them are used for banging on to things, you cannot use a mallet hammer where a sledgehammer is required and vice versa. Similarly, all the different connectivity technologies have their respective roles to play in upgrading your home into a smart home. While there are automation hubs that are compatible with almost all the popular connectivity technologies and thousands of smart devices, such hubs are still in their nascent stage and are usually very expensive. So, until you buy such a home automation products, it is important to know the difference between these technologies.

Bluetooth Smart Hubs

Bluetooth technology is commonly associated with transferring files between Bluetooth-compatible mobile phones or connecting phones to desktop PCs, laptops, and headsets. In short, Bluetooth allows you to develop secure connections with devices in proximity. Even in home automation devices, you’ll find Bluetooth in devices which require you to stay close to the devices. Bluetooth technology makes use of frequency hopping as well as encryption to make sure that no one can unscramble or intercept your communications with a Bluetooth-enabled smart home products. As a result, Bluetooth devices are usually considered very secure. Moreover, the data bandwidth of Bluetooth is higher than Z-Wave and ZigBee, allowing Bluetooth devices to do much more than detect movement and flip switches. The newest version of Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) uses a lower amount of power as compared with Wi-Fi. Moreover, Bluetooth LE can also be used for creating “Mesh Networks,” enabling it to enter the race between Z-Wave and ZigBee technologies. With the help of this mesh networking ability, Bluetooth LE devices can receive and send networked signals to further enhance the network’s range. As a result, this new technology is getting popular among homeowners looking to upgrade to smart devices. Bluetooth technology makes use of frequency hopping as well as encryption to make sure that no one can unscramble or intercept your communications with a Bluetooth-enabled smart home device. As a result, Bluetooth devices are usually considered very secure. Moreover, the data bandwidth of Bluetooth is higher than Z-Wave and ZigBee, allowing Bluetooth devices to do much more than detect movement and flip switches. The newest version of Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) uses a lower amount of power as compared with Wi-Fi. Moreover, Bluetooth LE can also be used for creating “Mesh Networks,” enabling it to enter the race between Z-Wave and ZigBee technologies. With the help of this mesh networking ability, Bluetooth LE devices can receive and send networked signals to further enhance the network’s range. As a result, this new smart home technology is getting popular among homeowners looking to upgrade to smart devices.

Wi-Fi Smart Hubs

Wi-Fi can be defined as a complete home network. It is usually used at homes for streaming media, browse the internet, and other activities that have heavy data consumption. Wi-Fi is a high bandwidth-type network which is highly powered intensive as well. This is the reason due to which a lot of smart home device manufacturers avoid using Wi-Fi connectivity as they’ll be required to design their devices with batteries that can last for a long duration or dedicated source of power. This is also the reason due to which majority of the Wi-Fi security cameras also come with a cord that you need to connect with a power source. Another reason for developers to avoid using Wi-Fi is the fact that until now the Wi-Fi chips were expensive, and using it, will affect the total cost of the product. Thus, the developers turned to other technologies in search for a cheaper alternative.

Z-Wave and ZigBee Home Automation Hubs

Both Z-Wave and ZigBee are wireless technologies that need a very small amount of power. As a matter of fact, many of the smart devices that are based on these technologies can work for years on a simple watch battery. Moreover, they have excellent networking meshing ability, which can only be found in the advanced Bluetooth LE devices. Through the meshing ability, these technologies can offer a wider range. Can’t you extend the range of your Wi-Fi devices with the help of a Wi-Fi extender? Yes, you can. But there are major differences between extending your existing network and using a mesh network. For instance, extenders do pass the signals to larger distances, but only half of the data rate can back out. So, while they do increase the range, they do so by negatively affecting the performance. On the other hand, Z-Wave and ZigBee devices do not suffer from this signal loss problem as they are of low-bandwidth. This makes them an excellent choice for simpler devices, like smart switches, motion sensors, etc. that only need a data connection to work. But the problem with Z-Wave and ZigBee devices is that they cannot be directly used from a PC, smartphone or tablet. As a result, you’ll need a home automation hub which you can connect to your Wi-Fi network. So in short, if you want to use a Z-Wave or ZigBee device you’ll be able to do so through an app on your mobile phone which will pass the signal to the router, then to the automation hub, and then finally to the device. It is also crucial to know that Z-Wave and ZigBee are clubbed together here only to make the explanation simpler. They are different from each other, and as a matter of fact, they are not compatible with each other. While they usually have a similar range, power, and price, they have some technical differences that allow the developers to choose one between the two. So finally, which among the technologies mentioned above you should choose for home automation? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to it. All these technologies are still evolving and are sure to evolve for years to come. Improved data rates, reduced power consumption, and falling rates are some of the things that we’ve seen in the past couple of years in all these technologies, and the advancement is sure to continue in future as well. While Z-Wave is certainly more popular currently, closely followed by ZigBee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi technologies are also making their presence felt. However, to make things simpler for you, we’ve reviewed some of the home automation hubs. Understand the functioning of each of these hubs, the technology they are compatible with, their pros and cons, to understand which hub will truly be perfect for your needs. Let us delve deeper into home automation comparison of some of these devices. Review blog extract from the housetech review - To check out the latest range of smart hubs,  check the smart homes & business section
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Smart Thermostats

Smart Thermostats

A thermostat is a handy tool which aids in maintaining the comfort level of your home and controlling the energy consumption. When it comes to choosing a thermostat, the type of HVAC system that you have installed in your home, features that you want in your thermostat, budget, and how you wish to use your thermostat, are some of the most important considerations.

Types of Thermostats 

  • Low Voltage and Line Voltage – If your home is old or uses electric resistance heaters or baseboards, you’ll be required to buy a line-voltage thermostat which is directly installed in the electrical system of your home to allow you to control your cooling and heating units. However, the majority of the homes now have oil, gas or electric-powered heating systems and a low-voltage thermostat will be required with such families. An ideal way to know whether you have a low voltage or line voltage thermostat in your home is by checking the wiring. Low voltage thermostats have thing wiring, just like the one that is used in your speakers, whereas line voltage thermostats have thick wires.
  • Programmable Thermostats ($20 to $200 and even more) – Majority of the modern thermostats are programmable. These thermostats allow you to pre-set an upper and lower limit of temperature, based on which, the thermostat will turn your air conditioner of the heater on and off.
  • NonProgrammable Thermostats ($20-$50) – Also known as mechanical thermostats, these thermostats do not provide you with the ability to pre-set temperatures. They only offer basic control of house or room temperature, and you need to adjust them manually to control your cooling and heating unit. Moreover, the non-programmable thermostats that use bimetallic strip are known to respond slowly to temperature variations. Also, remember that not every digital thermostat is programmable.
  • Smart Thermostats ($200-$800) – What is a smart thermostat? The latest addition to the world of thermostats are learning thermostats. These are programmable thermostats that do not require you to pre-set the temperature limits. Learning thermostats, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, learn about your preferences over time and then adjust themselves accordingly to offer enhanced comfort. They can be connected to the Wi-Fi network of your home and can be easily managed from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Moreover, many of them are internet-based and allow you to control the thermostat through a mobile application even when you are away from home. As they offer a large number of innovative features, the cost of a new thermostat of this type is generally higher than all the other types of thermostats.
Review blog extract from housttechhomes To check out our latest range of smart thermostats and heating products, select Smart Home & Business > Smart Hearting
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Smart Robotics Vacuums

Smart Robotics Vacuums

Types of Robot Vacuums

There are many ways to categorize robot vacuums, mainly due to the vast diversity of the various products available in the market today. However, even with all the unique features, it all boils down to two distinct group based on its cleaning patterns.

Random Pattern

As the name suggests, this type of robot vacuum will clean your household area in a seemingly random pattern. This type doesn’t have a built-in mapping technology, thus, you will only have a limited control over the cleaning area. One thing to remember, although this type doesn’t have any mapping technology, all robot vacuums have some form of avoidance technology. We will discuss the different types of avoidance technology further below in the key features section. One common reason to purchase this type is that it is significantly more affordable. If you will only be using the robot vacuum in a small area, or your house only has a small number of rooms, this type might be a better overall choice.

Mapped Pattern

As we have briefly discussed above, this type of robot vacuum has some form of integrated mapping technology. As a result, this type of robot vacuum cleaners often has better cleaning efficiency. The automation process is also often better, both in the sense of time and placement. There are many different mapping technologies utilized in robot vacuums today, but commonly it can be divided into two big groups: laser mapping and visual mapping. Visual mapping technology, commonly utilizing digital cameras, is deemed the superior one, mainly because laser mapping usually has issues with shadows and can falsely recognize obstacles. The latest visual technology used in robot vacuums is known as Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), where the robot can simultaneously keep track of its position while mapping out new terrain in real-time. As a result, the robot can avoid obstacles much better, while also increase the overall efficiency of the cleaning process. As the downside, robot vacuums with mapping technology are often more expensive. The better the mapping technology used, the more expensive it will be.

Key Features

With the wide array of different robot vacuum products available in the market today, it’s hard to keep track and list all the unique features of each product. However, here are some of the key features you might have to consider before making your purchase.

Avoidance Technology

As mentioned above, not all robot vacuums have their integrated mapping technologies. However, having at least the simplest form of avoidance technology is a necessity for any robot vacuums. There are many forms of avoidance technology utilized in various robot vacuum products. However, at a bare minimum, a robot vacuum will have cliff sensors to avoid cliff surfaces, such as stairs. Older models often utilize bumpers as the most basic technology to avoid obstacles. With bumpers, the robot vacuum will recognize after it has hit an object, and then will move to another direction. Newer models utilize all sorts of different technologies, such as infrared sensors. Some robot vacuums also combine the avoidance technology with their integrated mapping technology, using digital and infrared cameras. Newer high-end robot vacuums even utilize ultrasonic frequency technology.

Mapping Technology

We have discussed how robot vacuums utilized the mapping technology above, so refer to the Types of Robot Vacuums section.

Cleaning Features

While the most important feature of any robot vacuums is the ability to move around effectively while avoiding obstacles, the second most important feature is the ability to clean. As with the avoidance and mapping technologies, there is also a wide array of diversity in robot vaccums’s cleaning technology. Some of the most common ones are:
  • Traditional brush – Quite similar to what you usually find in a traditional upright vacuum. Plastic or nylon hairs are utilized to sweep up dirt and dust. Commonly found in most lower end robot vacuum products.
  • Bladed Brush – In this type of brush, rubber ‘blades’ are incorporated into the design. These rubber blades are more effective in cleaning up pet hair.
  • Combo Brush – While the bladed brush is better in cleaning pet hairs and similar dirt, traditional bristle brush is better in cleaning smaller dust particles. This designed combined the both of them to gain both benefits.
  • Brushless – As the name suggests, no brush is utilized by the robot vacuum in its cleaning process. In its basic principle, the brushless robot vacuum will operate like a suction hose. This design is a bit rare and is not as effective on rugs or carpets.
Other factors that might affect the cleaning process are:
  • Suction Strength – The strength of the motor and the overall design will affect the overall suction strength. Although on hard surfaces, the difference is minimal, it will be noticeable on carpets, rugs, and similar surfaces where stronger suction is necessary, On the other hand, stronger suction strength might increase the noise level of the robot, which might be disruptive for some. Higher end models usually have several strength settings to tackle this issue.
  • Brush Position – There are typically three common positions for the primary brush: front, center, and back. Although the effectiveness of the position will vary depending on the technology used, in general, the front position is the most effective. The key disadvantage of placing the brush in the center or the back is that the dirt material will touch a significant amount of the robot vacuum surface before the brush or suction hole. Thus, the dirt will collect on the underside of the vacuum, and will require regular cleaning and maintenance.
  • Dry/Wet Mop – Most of the robot vacuums available nowadays are using dry mop feature, using a microfiber cloth or similar material to collect dust and dirt. Some robot vacuum products are offering the wet mop function, using a moistened cloth designed to clean the area more thoroughly.However, of all the robot vacuum products available today, none are offering a significantly useful wet mop function, mainly because of the lack of downward force necessary for an effective wet mopping.

Smart Connectivity

A relatively new feature found on the newer robot vacuum products is the ability to wirelessly connect to smartphone or tablet, along with the inclusion of the companion app. This allows a better range of personalized control, such as smart scheduling, monitoring, and remote control. Some robot vacuums even provide live video feed straight to the mobile app. Lower end robot vacuums often use basic radio frequency connection with a simple remote control. Although not as useful as having a smart app to assist, a remote control will certainly help to avoid having to constantly move the robot around.

Battery Power and Charging Station

Even the best and the most expensive robot vacuum products nowadays can only manage roughly the maximum of 2-hours of active time before it will need to charge itself. Remember, robot vacuums work much slower than a traditional upright vacuum, and with an average battery power of 1 to 1.5-hours, it might not be enough to clean your whole household. With that in mind, having an automatic charging function is certainly a plus point. Some robot vacuums have the ability to return to its charging station on its own and resume its operation once it’s fully charged. Review blog extract from thehousetechblog To check out the latest range of Smart Vacuums, select the link Smart Home &  Business > Smart Cleaners
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Smart Cameras Review

Smart Cameras Review

Types of Smart Wireless Cameras

Indoor Smart Security Camera

As the name suggests, this wireless surveillance camera is intended for indoor usage. For indoor cameras, durability and waterproofing shouldn’t be an issue, as well as wiring. Arguably, the most important qualities for indoor cameras are size, and how easily it can be installed and used. If you have children or pets in the household, you might also need to consider the safety, and how it will be mounted.

Outdoor Smart Security Camera

For outdoor applications, things get more complicated. First and foremost, wireless outdoor security cameras should be waterproof and weatherproof to withstand rain and snow. They can also benefit from having a wire-free installation from a built-in battery. Considering it might be located relatively far from your Wi-Fi router, a strong Wi-Fi receiver is also a must.

Key Features You Should Consider

Video Quality

Being a camera, video resolution should be your first consideration. 720p is the standard nowadays and will provide you with a nice balance of quality and speed (depending on your internet connection). There are products offering 1080p, or even 1440p resolutions, which is, of course, a nice luxury to have. You should also consider how they performed at night. All of them should have some sorts of night vision technology, either with Infrared or native night vision technology.

Sound Quality

If it’s outdoor home security cameras, it’s good to consider whether the camera has some form of noise cancellation technology.

Smartphone App

Being a ‘smart’ security camera, it should be able to be monitored and controlled from a smartphone app. The quality of the app will vary with different manufacturers, and should also be a thing to consider. Check how intuitive the smartphone app is, and how easy to monitor and control the camera. Can the app integrate with other smart home products or control several cameras at once?

Ease of Installation and Use

There’s no use of a smart security camera with all the rich features if it’s overly complicated, and will only add more headache instead of being practical. Some of the smart security cameras will come with a wire-free approach, some wired. Nevertheless, it should be simple enough to install, integrate, and control. Review Blog extract from thehousetechreview To check out the latest range of smart cameras, select the link, Smart Security - Smart Cameras
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Wireless Doorbells Review

Wireless Doorbells Review

Looking to get the best wireless doorbell, but unable to choose between so many different options? We got you covered! We compared and tested the top available models.

Nobody could ever be safe in their homes or offices without the help of security technologies. Thankfully, these technologies are being mass-distributed to give an equal chance to the public to protect their homes and offices and secure their assets in one place. It also offers convenience and assurance that the home will remain as a haven for the family to relax and have fun. As for offices, security technologies can stop theft and illegal activities on the company grounds. Nowadays, wireless technology is becoming popular. Wires are common eyesores or nuisances in one’s home or office. Furthermore, improper handling of wires could endanger the property and the people in it. Wireless home intercom systems are convenient to use and easy to install. Despite an expensive price tag, wireless technologies are indeed the thing of the generation.  The absence of wires makes the setup simple and hassle-free. Furthermore, criminals won’t be able to detect hidden security technologies if they do not see the wires in the first place. One of the security systems that rely on wireless technology is the long range wireless doorbell. A conventional new doorbell system commonly wired into the electrical system of the house. It depends on internal wiring to doorbell ringer the chime box when a visitor presses the doorbell. Nowadays, security wireless doorbells have no internal wiring and could be installed with minimal tools. Since it relies on wireless technology, the chime box should be placed within the range of the doorbell transmitter to ring. The wireless doorbell only has two components. The first is the doorbell transmitter, which is connected to the bell’s button. Once it is pressed, the second element rings. This is called the chime box receiver that receives the frequency emitted by the battery-operated doorbell transmitter. The signal is detected, and the chosen electronic tone will be triggered. Owners can use more than one chime box, and all of them could still get the transmission of the doorbell transmitter and ring simultaneously. Chime boxes could play distinctive sounds or a standard chime, depending on the user’s preference. If privacy is desired, there is also a silent feature. Choosing the best wireless doorbell intercom systems for the home can be tricky because of a wide price range, A variety of functions, and quality differences. It is best to list down the features that you need, such as customizable chimes, self-limiting radio frequencies, wireless intercom systems for home, and remote access. Take note of the quality and installation process also. Invest in the best value-for-money doorbell to improve the convenience and security of your homes. Here are the following product suggestions that might strike your fancy.

Wireless Doorbells

Wireless technology has changed the way we live. So much so, that no one wants to go through the trouble of having anything wired in their homes or offices. This has led to many intriguing discoveries in the field of wireless equipment. This has also triggered the need for better doorbells. Whether you need a Loud wireless doorbell or not is completely your choice. And these are not just ordinary models that you can find everywhere and anywhere. But these are doorbells that make are completely different and are more technologically advanced. Not to forget, they also come with more expensive price tags. We bring you some of the elitist models in the world of doorbells, reviews, and comprehensive reports on what makes this medium of home security specialists. Check out the review of some of the top wireless doorbells options.

Types of Wireless Doorbells

  • Motion Detectors  – Many models today come with visual alert icons that can be connected to door contacts or motion sensors.
  • Self Learning Code  – This is a very efficient wireless doorbell system. The doorbells wireless comes with a self-learning code system, and you can easily reduce any interference from the outside. This also enhances security every time the door is answered.
  • Plug-in – Some come with a built-in strobe light, and all it needs is to be connected to an electrical socket via a plug. This is a great power saver and works when you do not want to waste time installing the wireless doorbell. This is one of the many features that save electricity too. These usually come with adjustable volume levels features and are great.
  • Adjustable Audio  – Some models in office door chime offer you changing volume levels. Which means you are not relying on only a handful of steps or volumes which are being offered. Instead, you can adjust the volume just like any CD. This is handy when you do no want a deafening chime.
Summary extract from Techhome review. Check out our latest wireless doorbell range within the security > smart doorbells -  
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6 Ways to Use Your New Smart Speaker for Greater Independence

6 Ways to Use Your New Smart Speaker for Greater Independence

Smart home technology is earning an important place among the ranks of assistive technology. There are a variety of devices and seemingly endless configurations that can increase independence, productivity, safety, and health both at home and elsewhere. People with disabilities and older adults are using these technologies to control their environments (lights, fans, and thermostats), access entertainment (TV, music, and internet), monitor their homes (video doorbells and video services), and control who can enter (smart locks and door openers). But, while complex smart-home setups with multiple devices are impressive, don’t forget that the humble smart speaker can be powerful all on its own. These little virtual assistants – such as Amazon Echos, Google Nests, or Apple HomePods – can help you stay organized and connected. And, with all of us spending so much time at home these days, what better gift this holiday season than one that makes day-to-day activities at home easier?
Photo of Google Smart Speaker Device on a shelf in a home
Google Home Mini
Whether you are the lucky new owner of a smart speaker for the holidays or you have had one for years, here are six ways you can use your virtual assistant to improve your life without any extra “smart” equipment:


Imagine you are in bed about to fall asleep and suddenly remember you have an appointment first thing in the morning… or was it the next day? With a smart speaker, all you have to do is ask “What’s on my calendar tomorrow?” You can also add appointments to your calendar, change them, cancel them, and even reply with calendar invitations to other people all with your voice. Check your device’s instructions for details on how to integrate it with your calendar. Note: Amazon Echo can integrate with most calendars, including Google, Microsoft, and Apple, while Google Nest and Apple HomePod currently only integrate with their respective calendar apps. Did You Know? Amazon EchoGoogle Nest, and Apple HomePod are all capable of learning different people’s voices and linking each individual with their own account, making it easy for multiple people to control their personal calendars, make and receive phone calls, play their own music, and shop from their own accounts all through the same device.


Whether you want a daily reminder to take your medication at a certain time or a one-time reminder to take the chicken out when you get home, your smart speaker has you covered. Reminders and alarms can wake you up in the morning, help you stay on schedule, and make sure you don’t forget something important. Using Amazon EchoGoogle Nest and Apple HomePod, you can set a reminder by time of day or by location (for example, set a reminder to check in with your boss when you arrive at work). You can also set reminders to be recurring or one-time-only, and you can select which device you want to play the reminder.


Just as easy as accessing your calendar with your voice, you can listen to and reply to emails using your smart speaker too. Amazon Echo has this functionality built in, all you have to do is connect your device to your account (Amazon currently connects with Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail and Google Nest, on the other hand, doesn’t officially offer this feature yet, but there are a few possible workarounds.


Whether you want to know what the weather forecast is for the day, what the score was from the game last night, or how to spell “quarantine,” your smart speaker is ready to find the answer and report back to you. What’s even more impressive? You can teach your Amazon, Google, or Apple device more about your preferences and you’ll get more personalized information when you ask. Did You Know? You can set up routines with most smart speakers to combine several actions together. For example, if in the morning you always ask to hear the weather, then your calendar appointments for the day, and finally a certain radio station, you can link these actions together with one verbal cue such as, “Alexa, what’s my morning update?” Read about routines for Amazon EchoGoogle Nest and Apple HomePod.


Perhaps one of the most powerful features of your smart speaker is its ability to help you communicate with others by making phone calls. If you use Amazon Echo you must associate your calls with your mobile phone for contacts and caller ID purposes. However, you are technically making the call through Amazon’s free Internet cloud services for the connection, not your phone, so your minutes are spared. Google has various methods to use phone numbers for caller ID and, like Amazon, there is no charge. A story from Suria, a member of our Smart Home Technology Advisory Committee who has a spinal cord injury, demonstrates just how impactful this can be: “This morning I was in the shower chair and about to fall off – I can’t move, I can’t grab the phone, it won’t hear me – Echo was the only one there. All I had to say was, ‘Echo, call Kirby.’ It dialed his Echo and his cell phone and I was able to tell him, ‘Come back! It’s an emergency.’ I almost fell to the floor, but thankfully I have a superhero,” Suria said, “It’s my Echo!” Did You Know? There are two other communication features you should know about: Announcements and Ask My Buddy. Amazon Echo and Google Nest both have an announcement feature that makes it possible to broadcast a message via multiple devices throughout a home at one time – anything from “Dinner’s ready” to “Help, I’ve fallen!” Ask My Buddy is an independent service available for both Amazon and Google smart speakers that lets you create a personal alert network. If you have an emergency, all you need to do is ask your smart speaker to “Ask My Buddy to send help” and a notification will be sent by phone, text, and/or email to a list of predesignated contacts. Ask My Buddy also has a way to contact emergency numbers like 911. 6. CHECKING IN ON A PERSON OR A LOCATION Before we dive into this topic, let us be clear: it is PATF’s belief that monitoring should only be pursued after receiving full, informed consent from the individual who may be impacted. While some people find the idea of monitoring to be invasive, others have expressed that they appreciate giving another person – family member, caregiver, or friend, for example – the ability to check in on them using their smart speaker. With Amazon Echo’s Drop In feature, another person can listen in from afar to make sure everything is OK. This feature is even more powerful if you have a smart display like an Amazon Echo Show with its built-in camera and screen. Please note that before connecting, an Echo Show will blur the screen and play a notification which allows the person receiving the Drop In to cancel it by saying “Alexa cancel/stop/hang-up/reject” if they do not want to accept the Drop In. You can also turn on Do Not Disturb to temporarily block Drop Ins on a device. Note: Smart displays, such as the Amazon Echo Show family of products or Google Nest Hub, are smart speakers with the addition of a camera and touch screen. If you have one of these, here are a few extra things you can do with your device: Show and Tell feature with Amazon Echo Show – If you are blind or have low vision, you need only hold up an object in front of your device’s camera and ask “Alexa, what am I holding” to find out what it is. Make video calls – Just like you can use your smart speaker for phone calls, you can use your smart display for video calls. Stay connected with your friends and family, access your physician for telehealth, or give a loved one the ability to check in on you from afar with video calling on the Amazon Echo Show line of products. Entertainment – Connect your smart display with a streaming account to watch TV shows, movies, and online content. Just check your device to see which content providers it can connect with: Amazon and Google.. The above blog contains affiliate links and is an extract from smarthome made simple.
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Gadgets for Winter

Gadgets for Winter

The following contribution is from another author. It’s getting cold outside and there’s a definite chill in the air – with winter fast approaching the temperature is going to continue to drop. So here are 5 little gadgets to help keep you nice and warm and toasty even on the coldest winter days.
  1. A heated blanket If you’re yet to experience the joy of a heated blanket then you’re missing out. The traditional heated blanket sits on top of your bed under the sheet and above the mattress and can be used to pre-warm your bed before you get in or to keep you toasty on a cold winters night. As the popularity of heated blankets has grown you can now buy heated blankets for your car or even for while you’re snuggled up on the sofa. Easy to use and easy to store in the warmer summer months, a heated blanket simply plugs into the electricity, and with an automatic cut off they safe to use while you sleep and will never get too hot.
  2. An electric fire starter There’s something so lovely and comforting about the warm glow and gentle heat of a real log fire in the winter months. The only thing that’s not so lovely is the difficulty getting the fire started, but with an electric firestarter this never needs to be a problem again and you can get a fire roaring no matter how poor your fire building skills are. Electric firelighters aren’t just useful for winter indoor fires but are perfect for getting the BBQ going in summer too. Click here to learn more about how they work and to read a review from Grill Seeker.
  3. Touch screen gloves With so much of our lives now involving technology wearing gloves in the winter can be a real pain – taking them on and off or just simply deciding to suffer from frozen fingertips. But not any more thanks to the wide variety of touch screen gloves which with their electro conductive technology can enable you to use your smartphone and other touch screen devices as normal whilst keeping your hands nice and toasty.
  4. Bluetooth earmuff headphones Earmuffs are a great way to not only look stylish but keep your ears warm in the colder months, but that can be a pain if you’re an avid music listener. Not any more thanks to Bluetooth earmuff headphones! That’s right you can now listen to your favourite tunes through a pair of fluffy ear muffs, and with Bluetooth technology, you remain wire-free, so no one would be any the wiser.
  5. Heated gloves If your fingers are still cold even while wearing gloves then give them their own little heat source with a pair of heated gloves. Rechargeable and waterproof heated gloves will keep your fingers nice and toasty even on the coldest days, perfect for people who spend a lot of time outdoors or ride bikes or motorcycles in the cold.
  6. A mug warmer A nice hot mug of tea or coffee can help warm you up from the inside out, but on cold winters days if you don’t drink them quickly they soon go cold – which is where a mug warmer comes in. A simple heated plate for your mug to sit on a mug warmer will keep your drink hot while you get back to those important emails.
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Health Gadgets

Health Gadgets

The Home and Health Gadgets

The latest tech can have a massive impact on your home and your health, providing you use in the right way. While technological innovations have changed the way we work and socialize, the way we take care of ourselves has also evolved. With the right gadgets, you can monitor your health, enhance your fitness and boost your immunity. If you want to create a healthier home and boost your own wellbeing, take a look at the gadgets that can help you…

Pain relief

If you’ve sustained an acute injury or are dealing with a chronic condition, you may be experiencing a considerable amount of pain. Although physicians may be able to prescribe pain-relieving medications, these aren’t always the best course of action. With the right health gadget, however, you can opt for a natural form of pain relief. Advanced TENS machines stimulate your nerves with a small electrical current. When you place the machine’s pads over the affected area, it will minimize pain sensations and can even eradicate your pain completely. If you want to avoid the potential side effects associated with strong painkillers or need a long-term solution for pain, a TENS machine could be just what you’re looking for. With the latest wireless options, you can use a TENS machine while you’re on the go and control it from your smartphone! Often used to minimize joint pain, muscle strains, menstrual cramps, and backaches, there are a variety of conditions that could leave you needing a drug free form of pain relief.

Sleep enhancers

The quantity and quality of your sleep have a considerable impact on your life. Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is all dependent on your ability to sleep well. If you’re sleep deprived or experience insomnia, for example, it won’t take long for you to feel the effects yourself. From memory loss and irritability to headaches and raised blood pressure, there are a number of issues associated with poor sleep quality. People have been looking for effective ways to enhance their sleep for centuries, but technology may have given us the answer. As well as tracking your sleep, the latest tech can actually improve the quality of the sleep you get. Combining comfortable wearable tech with the latest advancements, manufacturers are producing sensitive headbands that are capable of monitoring the wearer’s sleep habits. When the device processes your sleep data, it subsequently produces tones that are designed to enhance and lengthen REM sleep. This slow wave sleep can make you feel more rested and more alert throughout the day. While you’ll still be accountable for how much sleep you actually get, the latest health gadgets could certainly improve the quality of your sleep and, therefore, minimize the negative effects associated with poor sleep.

Cleaner air

You may be highly conscious about what you eat and drink but what about the air you’re breathing? If you live or work in a high traffic area, you’ll already be aware of the harm that pollution can cause. However, you might be surprised to learn that the air in your home can be extremely harmful too. Like the air we breath contains a significant number of pollutants, our bodies are continually trying to remove them from our systems. This places extra strain on our internal filtration systems and makes our immune systems work harder than they should have to. Despite this, we still suffer a myriad of health issues associated with the quality of the air we are breathing. If you want to minimize the risk of allergies, asthma, infections, eye irritations, and chronic conditions, you can use the latest tech to do so. With an air purifier, you can successfully remove a substantial number of contaminants from the air. As seen on, air purifiers are effective at cleanser the air in our homes or workplaces. When used regularly, you can drastically reduce the number of contaminants your body is forced to contend with. Furthermore, an air purifier could successfully reduce the transmission of viruses and infections. Any illnesses which are airborne rely on you breathing them in so that they can infect your system. By cleaning the air with a purifier, you are removing these harmful airborne droplets or particles from the air and reducing the risk of contracting an illness.

Heart monitors

Despite the importance of heart health, few of us really know how well our hearts are functioning. Fortunately, you can now rely on technology to keep you informed. With a wearable heart monitor, you can track your heart rate, monitor your blood pressure, conduct an ECG and even access a digital stethoscope. By paying attention to your heart health, you can ensure that this critical muscle is functional well. Critically, you can also seek professional help at the first sign of trouble. While many people are unaware of issues without their heart function until they experience a serious medical episode, early intervention could increase the success of any treatment you need. When you combine tech with heart health, you greatly increase the tools that are available to you. In addition, you gain access to a variety of accurate information. With monitoring tools to help you manage your heart health and even improve it, this is a health gadget that should be used on a daily basis. If you have the opportunity to improve your heart function using technology, be sure to make the most of it.

Enhance Your Health with the Latest Tech

Technology has revolutionized the medical industry and it is continuing to facilitate major medical breakthroughs. As well as giving clinicians the tools they need to diagnose and treat patients, technology is enabling us to take more control over our own health. By giving us the chance to monitor our own health, we can identify when something isn’t right more quickly and seek treatment at the earliest opportunity. In addition to this, technology is reducing the risk of experiencing health issues by making our homes and bodies safer. When it comes to living in a digital era, the impact on our health and homes has got to be one of the most important aspects of technological evolution.
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5 Reasons to have a Smart Home

5 Reasons to have a Smart Home

The following contribution is from another author. If there is one term being thrown around in the interior design world most recently it’s home automation. It used to be reserved for those who were in a wealth category, but it’s not something for everyone. It’s come a long way, and given our reliance on technology today, it’s not surprising. We rely on technology for everything: work, personal life, transport. There are home solutions available from the lights to the heat and even the cameras outside the house. Is smart technology for the home something that you need? Well, yes! To be able to be a part of the future, you must embrace it in as many ways as possible. You wouldn’t live without a TV and a refrigerator, so you shouldn’t live without automation in your home. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five reasons you need to turn your home into a smart one. It’s More Efficient. A smart home works for you. With one touch of a button, you can control your home from wherever you are. You can set the thermostat and the lights to come on and off as you need it. You won’t find it hard to get out of the house in the morning and you’ll be able to save electricity, too. An efficient home is a safe one, and you can rely on your smart home to keep you that way! It’s Convenient. Is there anything more convenient than being able to switch on the home heating from your bed so your lounge is warm when you wake up in the morning? You can manage several of your devices at once from one other device and you will be able to do it from wherever you are in the world. You can even draw the shades and check on how secure your home is! It’s Comfortable! It’s so much more comfortable to have a home that responds to your need for heat, cooling, and lighting. You can even control the entertainment in your home, too! It’s Safe. You can prevent your home from being broken into, and you can monitor windows and doors and even keep an eye on water leaks in the home. It’s Customizable. You can choose anything in your home to customize when you want. You can fit your smart system to your lifestyle, and you can have a professional tailor the home to your exact needs. You can touch a button and have your home respond to you in the way that you want. You want a smart home that will be beneficial to you. You can simplify things and make your home respond to your touch. A smart home is new and it’s one way to step into the future. You can save yourself from trouble and discomfort, while also finding the most high-tech solutions for your house.
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Smart Home and its Risks

Smart Home and its Risks

Smart Home Technology and the Risks Associated With It

The following contribution is from another author. What if all the devices in your home were fitted with communication technology that allows for some level of remote control or automation? Well, as technology continues to revolutionize our daily lives, today’s homes are fitted with the most stellar internet of things (IoT) devices that make modern lives easier, more comfortable, and more convenient. Here’s a look at the recent smart home trends that are transforming our way of living: Smart home hub This device allows you to unify your connected devices and control them from one app. The Amazon Echo, Apple’s Home app, and Google Home are some of the popular choices in the hub category with voice-activated features to make your everyday living simpler. Robots This trend started with robotic vacuum cleaners, which have revolutionized how we clean our homes, and now there are robot lawn mowers. With advances in AI, we can expect more domestic robots that will help out with day-to-day tasks. Smart lighting Smart home lighting gives you total control over the lights in your house. You can now change the color, dim or brighten the lights, and some even allow for scheduling and geofencing. Smart heating and cooling systems These devices feature multiple built-in sensors that effectively monitor and control the temperature of every part of your home. They also have larger display monitors and geofencing support and can be controlled remotely via an app.


Smart home systems sound cool, but are they safe? Well, there are two major concerns when it comes to using smart home devices: Cybersecurity threats Any device connected to the internet is susceptible to cyber-attacks. Imagine all the things smart home systems know about you: when you are home or away, your daily routine, and so on. Cybercriminals can hack your router and gain access to personal information and even host all kinds of viruses and attacks on your entire network. Health concerns Every IoT device emits small amounts of Electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which the WHO says is possibly carcinogenic to humans. Although the radiation emitted from these devices is very low, it all comes down to exposure levels. If you have many smart home systems you are probably being bombarded with EMF radiation from multiple sources in your own home. Those who are more sensitive to EMFs may experience headaches, poor sleep, or brain fog.

Counter measures

The risks associated with smart home systems are mostly online. To mitigate these risks, ensure you use strong passwords and update software to have the latest security patches that eliminate known loopholes and vulnerabilities. Using a VPN router to secure your smart appliances is also necessary. This encrypts any data sent over the internet, thus shielding your online activity from prying eyes. EMF protection measures EMF is emitted by all forms of technology, so it’s difficult to avoid it completely. Plus, there are plenty of natural sources of this kind of radiation, including the sun, lightning storms, and the earth itself. The best solution is to turn these devices off when not in use and where possible, connect via an Ethernet cable as it’s much safer. You can also use an EMF shield for your mobile devices.


Smart home technology is a force to be reckoned with. It still offers significant advantages despite having some drawbacks. And as technology advances, it will be interesting to see how these systems offer domestic help in more innovative ways while being able to mitigate the risks.
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