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

Home Security While You’re Enjoying A Vacation

girl phone beach internet accessSummer’s here and as August turns to September it’s the perfect time to jet away to the Mediterranean, Europe or America for a holiday and return in time to pack the kids off to school.

But who is keeping their eye on your home while you’re away?

If it’s your neighbours, that’s fine. Neighbourhood Watch schemes are a great way for a community to look out for one another, working together to make our towns and cities safer places.

However, if it’s not the nice neighbours but the bad, that’s not such good news.

Burglars have been found to typically stay within a few miles of their own homes, and typically strike during the hours of daylight.

The reasons for these habits among housebreakers are logical when you think about it. While the expression has it “a fox doesn’t make a mess on its own doorstep” a burglar will. It’s not that they lack the common sense not to steal from their neighbours because they might be seen using the stolen goods. They have no intention of keeping any of their booty anyway. It will be sold for cash or drugs, and at a fraction of what you paid for it. Read more

Turning Your Family Room Into A Home Cinema

home cinema, family room, entertainment, home theatreWhen people think of a home cinema they probably think of a small bank of recliners, low light, big screen and an audio system most of us would have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford. And yes, such home cinema exist and we’d all love to be able to have one in our home if only we could, but what about we mere mortals who don’t have the kind of wallet that allows for a wing of the family pile to be given over to home entertainment?

What if we’ve got kids, a regular size house, bills and car payments to make? How do we get into Home Cinema?

First of all, think about which space you’re going to use and how you already use it. People don’t tend to keep the Front Room for best any more, nor do they have dining rooms which are only used to entertain guests. Often these spaces have been knocked through to provide a larger living space or made into family rooms where the kids can shout and scream until they wear themselves out in time for bed.

Aha! There’s the trick! If you’re going to use it for watching serious movies or playing until it’s your bedtime there is no overlap. Once the kids have vacated it it’s yours for the use of.

Read more

What’s Stopping You From Installing A Home Cinema?

home cinema, home theatre, projection screen, Unless you’re building a new home or have the luxury of being able to add an extension to you home just to facilitate your new home cinema you’re going to have to work with the layout of the room you’ve got when thinking about configuration & location. Windows and doors offer the biggest problems, followed by chimney breasts and fireplaces. Not only can you not place a projector screen or large format TV across a window or door, you need to be able to use them, and can’t put speakers in them either!

Chimneys and fireplaces offer their own inconveniences as a mantle is a great place to hang a regular size flat screen TV, but a large format is too big to hang where they can be seen without straining your neck while hanging a projector screen in front of the fireplace makes it a fire hazard.

And once you’ve found the right location for your TV or screen, where do you put the speakers to get the most out of your surround sound?

In order to get the most out of your home theatre you have to be both flexible, and imaginative. Windows, doors and furniture tell you where things can’t go, so you have to work that little bit harder to find the perfect spot where things can go.

Often placing the picture, be that the TV screen or projector screen is the least of your worries. You’ve got a perfect, UHD display, but now where to put the speakers to get the surround sound to finish off the full theatre experience? Read more

News For Nest Environmental Control Customers

Touch sensitive digital heating control panel mounted on a light coloured wall.Briant Communications have been installing Nest domestic environmental controls for a number of homes in the southeast since they first landed in the UK. Recently they have been going through some changes and that has had an impact on the way their devices can be used and operated.

Google owns the Nest brand and as such has taken the decision to incorporate the Nest controls and Google Home controls into one Google Nest. This rebranding and control overhaul will also be reflected in the Google Home Hub becoming the Nest Hub, which will be followed by the Google Nest Hub Max at some point in the future.

The only problem is that users don’t get to simply update the app or download a piece of software to complete the update. Instead you’ll need to manually switch from Nest to a Google account. Read more