These days, even the most gregarious people-person has to stay locked up like Rapunzel in her tower. We're in an unprecedented situation, and it’s understandable if not everyone is adapting to it seamlessly.
But what better time is there to learn all about the untapped potential of your home technology? While we’re all sitting at home trying to think of things to do, your phone or other gadgets might be right next to you, bursting with possibilities and things to make your life that much better!
Let’s have a look at what these devices can do.
Firstly, there are lots of home devices which serve a specific purpose that can not only improve your life during self-isolation, but also your life in general. There are more in-depth descriptions of individual products in our dedicated article, but here is a quick summary of some noteworthy tech:
- Smart TV/stereo: Background noise begone! Connect your headphones or hearing aid to these nifty devices and have the sound streamed straight to your head
- Smart security systems: Maybe not the biggest concern since you’ll be home all day in the first place, but smart security is still a good idea – especially when paired with traditional security measures
- Smart lighting: Use your phone or voice commands to control the intensity or even the color of your lighting
- Smart doorbell: These have all made sense so far, but a smart doorbell? How does that work? If you want to know, read on!
Doorbells are nice at the best of times. Rather than having to wait by your door for a knock, you can instead be busy in any nook or cranny of your home, and hear the presence of a new visitor echo through your halls.
Make this run-of-the-mill doorbell a smart doorbell, and now you’re cooking with gas! A smart doorbell can be a huge help when you’re taking isolation seriously. If you’ve ordered a delivery and the doorbell rings, you can use your smart doorbell to communicate with the deliverer, to tell them where to place the package or give other instructions.
This technology minimizes your chances of contact with anyone who you don’t already live with – some welcome help for those trying to social distance! Our article on smart doorbells goes into further depth about smart doorbells, and introduces the ones we'd recommend.
Using Amazon Alexa at home
Now we get to smart assistants. Amazon has really branched out in the past few years, with one of their advancements coming in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
Alexa has a lot of handy baseline functions. She can give you the day’s news, updates on the weather, and your own schedule or reminders. She can also hook up to your smart lights or music collection, just in case you want to set the mood.
What's more, she can also come with a screen! The Amazon Echo is like a visual Alexa, allowing you to watch Amazon Prime television or read news articles while you eat your meal.
And since these are Amazon products, you’ll be able to order whatever you need through your smart speaker, with a simple voice command. If you connect her to everything she’s compatible with, she’ll be an unstoppable assistant!
Using Siri at home
You could argue that Siri was the first smart assistant. Rather than having a physical little box that you can talk to, Siri is installed on any Apple product, such as an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer.
Since it (or she?) comes installed on any Apple product, it’s entirely possible that you already have access to it/her. In other words, if you have an iPhone or iPad, Siri is free.
Siri doesn’t offer as many functions as other smart assistants, but she can still tell you the weather, give you news updates, and offer directions (not that this will be of much use when you’re stuck at home.) She has other capabilities too, so when you’re bored at home, it can kill a bit of time experimenting with her functions.
Siri can also tell you awful, terrible jokes. For example: “Why did the cow go to the West End? To see the Moosicals!” Atrocious.
Using Google Home at… well, home
Finally, we have Google Home – a solid white block of coordination and intelligence that can sit on your kitchen counter.
The Google Home can do a lot of cool things. Starting with the basics, the Home can do pretty much everything we’ve already mentioned: it can give you weather, news, and directions (again, a bit pointless for now), and tell similarly awful jokes. But there are a lot more possibilities when it comes to Google Home!
For example, Google Home allows you to make hands-free calls. Why would you ever need to do this? Well, you might be cooking using some of Google Home’s recipes! That’s right, Google Home has access to hundreds of recipes that it can dictate to you while you cook. And if your hands get messy, the hands free calls will allow you to chat to whoever you like.
Speaking of dictation, you can use Google Home to read your audiobooks aloud. So if you’re doing a home workout or piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, you can fill the air with some Vonnegut or Rankin.
Finally, and maybe most impressively, Google Home has Voice Match technology. Being able to get your daily schedule is nice, but if you live with someone else, they might want to use Google Home to serve the same function for them.
If a husband and wife lived together, the husband’s voice would activate his calendar, while the wife could use her voice to ask for her calendar. Pretty nifty!
It’s not hard to become one with your house – there are all kinds of ways to connect and enhance your familiar surroundings! Soon we’ll become so integrated with our homes, we won’t want to leave when the quarantine is finally lifted!
Although actually, come to think of it, we probably will.