3/13

Top Five Home Tech Trends

The pace of technological advancements in industrialized societies is traveling at warp speed; and there is no slowing it down.  Almost anyone would like to make their lives easier, have access to quick solutions for everyday problems, and maybe even add a bit more excitement to a ho-hum day – tech wonders can do just that.  Here are five high-tech ‘toys’ that fit the bill. What was once futuristic fantasy, has become very tangible, useable, interactive realities. Be ready to be amazed!

The Nest Cam

As the world continues to change in a myriad of ways, many families are becoming increasingly concerned about their personal safety.  An optimally-safe home environment includes embedded security systems – meet Nest Cam!  The Nest Cam security system is a third-generation of Dropcam; and it boasts of some impressive, indoor features.

The Nest Cam…

  • can be set up at, virtually, any location for 24/7 live video
  • can shoot video in 1080p High Definition, day and night
  • offers two-way audio – the built-in microphones sense audible activity; and the outgoing speaker allows one to verbally respond
  • has extremely-clear night vision and provides even-illumination of an entire room
  • has powerful digital zoom with a 130-degree wide-angle view
  • integrates with other smart-home products

 

When the Nest Cam detects inside motion, homeowners receive a phone or email alert, accompanied with an instant photo of the activity.  The WiFi compatibility of the Nest Cam means homeowners can receive notifications, regardless of whether the homeowner is at work or on vacation!  The Nest Aware program allows access to cloud storage, and so much more!

The outdoor version of Nest Cam is designed with the same amenities as the indoor version; it is completely weather-proof, and has 8 infrared LED’s for intense illumination.  Through Nest Cam’s app, the indoor and outdoor versions allow one to view,  listen and speak, in real-time – amazing!

Hello, Alexa!

There’s a new person in town; and Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ is your digital personal-assistant, extraordinaire!  Alexa is speech-recognition technology programmed to respond to a, virtually, limitless array of voice commands.

This digital device can inform you of the weather conditions in space (in case you might ever want to know), play any genre of music from Pandora, Spotify and other music-streaming services, make your grocery list, remind you of upcoming business or personal events, and perform mathematical equations quicker than you can say ‘Albert Einstein’.

These examples represent only a small tip of a very massive iceberg regarding how Alexa can interact with your everyday world!

If you are interested in getting a quick synopsis of what is taking place worldwide, Alexa can provide instant information from news outlets including NPR, BBC, USA Today, Associated Press and many more.  For those who love trivia, Alexa provides a plethora of trivia games, quote generators and fact and data storehouses.

And how about Alexa’s ability to link apps and devices with specific actions?  Alexa will adjust your Nest thermostat to a higher temperature when you inform Alexa that you’re too cold; and Alexa has the ability to initiate the cycles for Whirlpool’s Smart-Care Washer and Dryer Combo – Oh, the things Alexa can do!

Flex-Washer and Flex-Dryer

Not many people get excited about doing laundry; but thanks to Samsung, there’s a better way to deal with mounds of clothing and get it done quicker – meet the Flex-Washer and Flex-Dryer.

This astounding new advancement has invaded the listless world of cleaning clothes with a two-in-one washer built as an integrated unit that offers a 1-cubit foot upper washer, along with a 5-cubic-foot washer, below.

Delicate clothing or baby items, for example, can be gently cleaned with the top washer while towels, jeans, heavy work clothes, etc. can be placed in the larger, lower washer.  Both washes can begin at the same time or independently of one another.

When it’s time for drying, the dryer is equally impressive.  It offers a 1-cubic foot, non-tumble drying rack, on top, that provides soft-flowing, filtered heat that can be programmed, and will not exceed 95 degrees.  Additionally, in the lower front-load compartment, a 7.5-cubic foot dryer will accommodate heavier items.

“Super-speed” is one option that can be selected where one can wash and rinse a full load in as little as 30 minutes – 45% faster than traditional wash cycles.

Also, the Flex-Washer does not require two water lines but uses an internal separator that sends the front-load water one direction and the top-load water in another.  This means water from simultaneous wash cycles will not mix.  Washing and drying are completely customizable with an integrated touch-screen panel offering a vast array of detailed choices.

Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of Samsung’s Flex-Washer and Flex-Dryer is the Samsung Smart-Home App for Android or iPhone which allows the user to start and stop cycles from a smart phone or other compatible device, regardless of one’s location.  The Samsung Flex Washer and Flex Dryer offers a whole new meaning for the words ‘easy’, ‘efficient’, and ‘convenient’!

Knocki

If the idea of turning ordinary areas of your home (a door, table, wall, etc) into remote-control surfaces sounds far-fetched, think again, and meet ‘Knocki’.  Knocki is a small, circular, flat device that looks like a sophisticated hockey puck.  All you do is attach Knocki to, virtually, any surface in your home and transform that surface into a tech-advanced tool.  The surface can be wood, metal, stone, granite or drywall.

Here’s how it works:  Knocki’s Non-acoustic sensors interact with a wide array of devices such as Nest thermostat, PHILIPS hue, LIFX, SmartThings, IFTTT, WeMo Coffeemaker, Google Calendar, and Spotify.  Knocki will detect deliberate knock or tap patterns the user creates – one can tap three times on the kitchen counter, for example, and Knocki will understand that pattern and initiate an alert from a misplaced phone.

An individual who is wheel-chair bound can tap a table with 2 quick knocks to turn on lights and a TV in a select room; or 3 slower taps might lock or unlock doors or regulate the thermostat – any regular environment can be transformed into a user interface. The interactions with Knocki are, quite literally, limited to one’s imagination!

BOND

When you see the name ‘BOND’ you might be thinking ‘James Bond’; but even James Bond couldn’t do what Olibra’s BOND can do; and that is to turn existing appliances into SMART appliances in mere seconds.  Through its mobile app, the BOND integrates RF or IR appliances with one press of an appliance’s remote – in other words, BOND ‘upgrades’ more traditional, remote-controlled devices.

The process is amazingly simple:  1) download the app 2) point your old remote at the BOND and wait for the light to turn blue 3) control up to 6 different appliances from your phone or any smart device.

As mentioned, BOND offers smart-home integration for radio-frequency remote-controlled appliances and handles infrared, as well.  BOND is, also, compatible with multiple home-automation platforms including NEST, SmartThings, Honeywell, DIRECTV, iDevices and more.  Via BOND, mobile control of appliances is possible with appliances that, previously, were not connectible without the use of pricey hardware.

Ceiling fans, garage doors, and power-shades, for example, can be integrated; and the user can customize functionality regarding speed settings and temperature controls.  Additionally, the BOND integrates with Amazon Echo, allowing one to use voice commands to control devices, including iOS and Android.

Innovative ideas, conceptual leaps and even paradigm shifts are what tech advances are built around; and ain’t it grand?

Brandon Jones

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