Top 5 Quick Fixes For Smart Technology

WiFi enabled tablet in persons handsLike any technology that is made to be used daily by consumers, Smart Home Tech can get a bit uppity, run slowly, crash or perform strangely. This can be caused by any number of issues, but mostly they can be easily fixed by following the mantra “Have you tried turning it off and on again!?”

(Here’s an interesting fact, Tommy Flowers, the man who designed and built Colossus, the bedroom sized computer which Alan Turing used to break the Enigma code recommended that his machine was never turned off, as it would take more than 3 days to start again! PC users know the feeling.)

But what if a ‘dynamic power cycle’ (unplugging it without turning it off) doesn’t have the desired effect? Is there anything else you can do or is your Smart device kaput?

Chances are that there isn’t really anything wrong with it at all, and here’s what you can do to fix many of the most common problems Smart Home Tech users experience. Read more

Is Smart Home Tech Still A Mystery? Here’s Your Brief Introduction

alexa, echo, echo dotAre you new to the Smart Home trend? Is all “Automated This” and “Synchronised That” a complete mystery to you? Then read on and find out what Smart Home Automation is, and what it can do to help you live a life of ease and leisure!

I was thinking “perhaps it’s just me, I work writing about Smart Home Technology, so I go looking for more information about it than most, do other people even think about it?” but then you see adverts on TV and even the Prime Minister speaks to the United Nations about it, speaking from the point of view of someone who’s watched one too many dystopian science fiction movies featuring the nightmare world of limbless chickens and mind reading beds.

It’s only natural for people to fear change, and if you watch those scary movies today you’re likely to see ads for Smart Tech during the breaks, so perhaps there is a reason why the conflation is made, so why not look at what the Smart Home is all about and how to stop worrying and learn to love it! Read more

Thinking of Boosting Your Home Security With CCTV Cameras? Here’s What You Need To Know

CCTV camera, smart CCTVCCTV cameras have been shown to be a fantastic deterrent against opportunist burglars targeting homes in Britain and abroad, making them one of the most popular options for many people boosting their home security.

When burglars plan a break-in it’s not usually well thought out with floor plans and circuit diagrams like the movies would have us believe. In many cases the planning aspect is simply looking a the property and thinking “is it worth me climbing in that window or putting in that door?” and if you own nice things and you don’t have obvious crime prevention devices, the answer is going to be “yes”!

Once inside your property the burglar will generally not spend more than 15 minutes collecting your possessions, putting them all in a sheet, and dragging them away. Opportunistic burglars don’t like to carry any tools or bags with them as they look suspicious, and ‘going equipped’ shows intent and carries a longer sentence in the event of a conviction. Once they have your valuables outside your house they’ll leave them somewhere secluded until they can return to collect them unless they live so nearby that they can get them home safely. If you have a car in the drive and leave your keys where they can be found, then that’s a different story. Read more

Why Buy A Smartwatch? All Your Apps On Your Wrist

Smartwatch Photo courtesy of Maxpixel.netEach watch and phone/computer manufacturer seem to be making their own versions of the Smartwatch. They’re convenient, user friendly, and absolutely packed with functions.

Wristwatches were only invented just over a century ago. Having a watch which you could just glance at to tell the time was critically important to men in the trenches who previously had to dig about in their tunics to find their fob watches to see whether it was time to launch an assault or expect a barrage of artillery fire.

Since then the wristwatch has always been something of a status symbol. Rolex and Cartier made the watch a statement piece, more jewellery than a practical means of keeping track of the time, but with mobile phones the popularity of watches was beginning to wane. There was no point having a watch if you had the time, a calendar and alarm clock all available on your phone. However, the reason why the wristwatch was invented became important again. Digging around in your pockets or trying to find your phone at the bottom of your bag is inconvenient, and having all that functionality on your wrist just makes sense.

Keep All Your Apps Close At Hand

Because we use our mobile phones for so much more than just making calls it makes sense to be able to have an interface somewhere upon us that is easy to get to. So what are the benefits of having a smart watch instead of simply taking your phone out every time it beeps? Read more

Smart Home Security Is A High Growth Sector, What’s In It For You?

burglar alarms, cctv systems, home security, security feature, security,Smart home security is becoming one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the Smart Home Technology sphere. It’s simple to install, easy to use, and is incredibly cheap compared to other home security systems.

Home security has always been a fine balancing act between effectiveness and access. Nobody wants to live in a house with security screens over the windows, steel doors and barbed wire fences surrounding the property, but neither does anyone want a house which anyone can simply walk into, notwithstanding the aesthetic.

And so a compromise has to be met. Of course reasonable precautions are quite sufficient for most of us. Sturdy doors and frames, toughened double glazing which not only keeps intruders out but keeps the heat in at wintertime keep us, our property and possessions safe. So where does Smart home security come in?

Smart home security systems become desirable for homeowners who embrace technology and prefer to boost their home security without compromising on style and aesthetic. Steel security grilles might tell a burglar “you’ve not getting in here today” but a Smart CCTV camera will send the message “you can try, but the police will be on their way and we’ll have HD footage of every move you make”. Read more

Kitting Out Your First Smart Home? Start With The Basics

We’ve all been there. We’re browsing online, popped into a shop or visited an exhibition stand at the mall only to be pulled in by a great looking ad or snappy sales patter, then coming away with a bit of tat masquerading as tech that never gets used.

You get it home, open the packaging, set it up and find that it’s nothing like as good as you thought it would be, it’s cheaply made, poorly performing and probably makes a funny smell if you leave it switched on too long. But you’re ashamed of yourself for being tricked, so, instead of sending it back and asking for your money back it just falls into redundancy or gets put in the cupboard under the sink/stairs/attic or garage in the hopes that you’ll either find a use for it or give it to the jumble next time they come looking for collections.

The problem is that the more technology which is available to go into our homes, the more rubbish there is blocking our view of the good, helpful gadgets and tools which would help make life that much easier. And different people have different needs. We’re sold on ‘lifechanging appliances’ but unless we actively want to change the way we live our lives, a bit of tech we can pick up for a few pounds at the supermarket isn’t going to make a huge difference to our lifestyle. Read more

Is Your Smart Home Really Smart Without Sensors To Tell It What’s Going On?

If you’re a recent convert to Smart Home automation you may be starting to think “well this isn’t all that smart at all, is it? I still have to tell Alexa everything I’m doing before she’ll help me with anything!” and you’d be right. But only because you’ve got Alexa’s ears set up, without sensors’ she’s got no eyes.

A truly Smart home system relies on sensors to be able to work efficiently. Sensors feed data back to the Home Hub enabling it to make decisions and obey commands which would have been set up in order to make the Smart Home system integrated and intelligent.

There are a wide range of sensors which will serve various different purposes, from fire and smoke detectors to thermostats and motion sensors which will tell your hub not only when you enter a room, but when an intruder breaks into your home. Making use of these sensors as part of the everyday home hub utility will vastly improve the intelligence of the system since you won’t have to tell it directly what you want to happen, and make you safer since you will be able to rely on your home hub to react to changes such as movement, smoke, fire, or gas and water leaks. Read more

Simple Security For Savvy Student

student housing, student accommodation, security, When I started at university I didn’t go into a dorm, I went straight into a shared house instead. The dorms were small, not particularly secure, noisy and too far away from town, making the campus an outpost rather than being integrated with one of the most popular tourist resorts on the south coast of England.

But that was over a decade ago and I’m sure they’ve improved no end since then. However, the problems with security on university campus persist. And for several reasons.

People arriving at university are leaving home generally for the first time. Aside from books, bedding and clothing the luggage they bring with them is likely to be computers and phones. Computers to study, and phones to call the Bank of Mum and Dad when funds get low. Knowing that each and every room in a dorm or shared house makes student accommodation particularly appealing for the professional thief. While uni dorms do generally have security on site, they also have thousands of people going from room to room socialising, having fun, and learning, making keeping tabs on who’s on site impossible.

Shared housing is worse. Students need cheap housing so they tend to gather in cheaper areas in poorly maintained housing. Landlords who rent to students know they will only be tenanting for a year at most before moving on, so they save money by not keeping the premises up to standard. Each house could have any number of keys cut, poorly maintained doors and windows with rotted or damaged frames and seals, windows which are left open to let damp out, or broken panes which simply don’t get fixed from one tenancy to the next. Read more

Light Bulbs Featuring Motion Detection, Speakers, And More!

GE LED+ LightingWhat if you want Smart lighting, but don’t want lighting attached to your Smart hub?

There could be any number of reasons why you want the advantages of Smart lighting but would prefer not to attach your lights to your home hub. Security is one issue. It has been found that in the past some manufacturers were not adding sufficient security to Smart bulbs, which left a huge hole in people’s security. You may want to keep your Smart Home hub sleeker, adding only the most necessary items to your portfolio of apps, but still with to take advantage of energy saving lights with offer more than just on, off or dimmed. Or you may not even have a Smart Home, but you like the idea of lightbulbs which have several functions.

If that’s the case then GE, Philips, Feit and Ecosmart have a range of LED+ lightbulbs which are intelligent enough to install into your home without needing to be added to your home hub.

What Do They Have To Offer?

Specialised LED bulbs are a relatively new addition to the market and offer several features and benefits which up until now had only been available through specialist retailers or via Smart Home technology. These features include:

Motion sensors

Bluetooth speakers

Colour control

Battery assistance and backup

‘Dusk to Dawn’ outdoor lighting Read more