This past year has come as a revelation to most of us. We’ve become so used to science and technology being a reliable source of solutions to all of our problems that when something completely new and unpredictable comes along it turns out we’re as defenceless as newborn babes. Most of us have been forced to cope because there was simply no choice. We found that our networks of friends and family were easier to reach than ever before thanks to social media, video conferencing and instant messaging, and we found that many of our jobs could be done from home, even if the distraction of being at home and not “at work” was baffling, frustrating and frankly annoying!
It seems like networking has never been so important, from our connections with friends and family, to our local communities, to work and colleagues, and to sources of news and current affairs, being able to gather and absorb information quickly, in a way that’s easy to achieve has become part of our everyday lives. Even for people who are naturally technology resistant, the last year has meant that they have embraced that which they would normally ignore. Necessity has driven that for some: if they can’t shop online & they’re considered to be vulnerable it can be difficult to get shopping done, especially if they don’t have young, fit, active people in their Bubble. Read more
I like to think of myself as an intelligent guy who can spot phishing and fraudulent attempts to scam me into handing over my personal information, and for the most part I’m successful. I get so many calls from scammers using private numbers or from places with area codes I’m not familiar with that I know what’s going to happen as soon as I pick up: either the line goes dead or I’m told by a robot that my Amazon Prime account is going to be renewed, that I was involved in a car accident which wasn’t my fault, or that BT Internet has discovered my neighbours are stealing my data and I need take action immediately to stop them.
Just for fun, since it costs me nothing and I’m interested to see how the scam works I go along with it. The scams are so incredibly obvious it’s astonishing they can work, yet some poor, overly trusting marks must fall for it, else they wouldn’t keep using the same old methods.
The Amazon fraud works by telling you that you’re going to be charged for something you don’t want. So naturally you talk to the ‘customer service representative’ and press 1 to fix it. They tell you to go to a website which is hosted on Wix, a perfectly respectable web hosting business which is in no way connected to the scam. The problem with the fraud is that the scammers are too cheap to even pay for hosting so the website they use has a .wix suffix and has adverts for their other premium services popping up during your visit. Not something you’d expect from a multi-billion dollar company such as Amazon. The rep tells you to click on a link, except the link is a download for software which is sure to damage your computer and give up your details. I don’t know what is supposed to happen next as I gave up my pretence of credulity and told them off for having such a pathetically obvious scam, and that I would be ashamed if I was to try anything so amateurish. Read more
Christmas 2020 won’t be much like any others we’ve ever known before. In some ways that’s a sad thing, and in others, a clear benefit. You may doubt it right now, but I’ll explain: You may not be able to jet off to sunnier climes since social distancing, two lockdowns and a general concern with being in a tin can breathing recycled air would put anyone off air travel. You may not be able to go skiing for much the same reason, and the thought of putting extra stress on local hospitals if you break a limb when they’re busy dealing with people who are sick because of Covid seems unfair. But a year of social distancing and lockdowns has taught us to be resilient, to rely on our common sense, and to embrace technology as our friend instead of an inconvenience which must be overcome. Broadband internet is here to save Christmas!
Perhaps I’m preaching to the wrong people, and it’s technophobes and traditionalists who really need to get the message, but there seem to be fewer and fewer of them around since connecting with digital communications, and therefore each other is becoming increasingly easy.
With a virus with no cure as yet affecting almost everywhere on Earth it’s important that you keep yourself and your loved ones safe from Coronavirus infection and contamination. Our customers’ safety and health is naturally one of our primary concerns, as is that of our staff, including protecting our staff of engineers and our office staff from COVID 19 too.
In order to carry out our work while protecting ourselves and you we ensure that we undertake all the hygiene and social distancing protocols that the government and SAGE recommend. Current COVID advice, even under the current lockdown conditions is that maintenance and installation can take place provided PPE is worn and people take all reasonable precautions when a tradesman is visiting your home.
Fortunately for us, much of the work we undertake takes place exclusively outdoors so there is no need to worry about coming into contact with coronavirus unnecessarily. If, as happens on occasion, the engineer does have to come inside the property, then you can rest assured that they have been properly trained and advised about how to carry out their work safely, minimising the risks to themselves and you.
All of our engineers have a stock of facemasks and disposable gloves on their vehicles which they use whenever they come into your property. They have a plentiful supply of hand sanitiser and surface cleaning wipes which they use to clean their hands whenever they touch anything and to clean the van in order to minimise the risk of transporting contamination from one place to another.The good news is that there appears to be a vaccine which is 90% effective and safe for use according to the government public media speaker from shakespearecomms.com.
Working and learning from home, Zooming, Skyping, and all forms of social media have shown us that fast, reliable, unlimited data isn’t a luxury or something that only a certain group of people use, it’s become important for everyone to be able to get on line for work, for school, and for health, both mental and physical., however the bad new is that it may not be available for everyone until spring of next year, so in the meantime there’s still an onus on us all to protect ourselves and follow the latest SAGE advice: Hands, Face, Space. That means that Christmas and the New Year are going to be like no others, but that doesn’t stop the wind from blowing, or the rain and the snow from falling. Keeping the family entertained while it’s not possible to go on traditional Christmas treats, treats as simple as visiting Santa at the shopping centre or going to the Christmas market, and being stuck indoors instead make it all the more important to have distractions and boredom busters on demand. Read more
It’s less than a month until the last Christmas day of the decade, and of course that means we’re going to give you Briant Communications‘ recommendations for the best Smart Tech Automated Home devices which are currently available.
Smart technology really is a practical application for many people as it allows almost unlimited management through very simple interfaces that almost anybody can use. If you’re able to speak or use a touch screen then you’re probably going to be able to control many, if not most Smart home devices, making them perfect no only for the too-busy-to-do-stuff but those with disabilities and who may not have the strength to get up every time they need to answer the door, turn on a light or adjust the heating. Read more
One way out of the current housing crisis, the most obvious one some would say, is simply to increase the housing stock with affordable new homes so that people on median incomes can afford to put down roots and set up a home of their own. There are currently many brownfield sites both inside and skirting towns and cities throughout the UK which would benefit enormously from the stimulus of having housing available to people who are currently spending up to half their income on rent. But what does this have to do with Smart Home Technology Solutions?
While this housing stock will need to be build with cost savings in mind, it will also need to have technology which will adapt as future needs change. No builder today would forego wiring or pipework on the understanding that “if anybody wants running water or electricity they can put it in themselves!” And equally builders, architects and specifiers need to start thinking about media in the same terms.
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
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
We talk a lot about “Home Automation” and then go on to speak about how we can control our home environment via our apps, computer, control panel or voice, but surely that’s negating the entire ethos of ‘Automated’? For a full automated home you need sensors. With a little time and patience when setting up you can let your sensors take care of many of the mundane tasks which you do every day. Tie them in with Smart or If This Then That (IFTTT) devices then the simplicity and elegance of a fully automated home is on the horizon.
There are a range of different sensors which detect one, several, or many of the following:
As we age we have to accept that we generally start to lose our faculties. It’s natural and accepted that our hearing will go, our eyesight will become weak and our cognitive skills will also be less sharp from our middle age onwards, compared to our youth. Spectacles and hearing aids are no longer the cumbersome, unattractive ‘utility over aesthetic’ devices they once were. Now they not only serve their primary function of helping your see and hear, they look stylish (or are virtually invisible) and actively improve on what nature gave us.
My case in point here is Smart hearing aids and Smart glasses. I recently went to stay with family and noticed my uncle has Smart hearing aids. I’m not certain he’s got the hang of them yet as he was watching TV very low and told us off for talking too loud while we were watching England snatch victory from certain defeat at the hands of New Zealand. Read more