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Secure Home Automation Systems for Different Lifestyles

Secure Home Automation Systems for Different Lifestyles

As more home automation systems hit the market, customers continue to adopt the new technologies. More than a quarter of all Americans and nearly half of millennials own at least one smart home product, and 87% of people who have smart home products say these items make their lives easier. Within the large market of home automation systems made for the average American, there are several products that are ideal for specific lifestyles, from retirees to families with young children.

Pet Lovers

As a working parent of pets, you’re faced with the same tough decision every day: stick your pets outside in the yard — where there’s potential harm — or keep them locked inside and risk them making a mess.

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With electronic and magnetic smart doors from PetSafe, you can let your pets go in and out as they please without compromising the safety of your home. The smart door connects with a smart collar that holds a key. When the door reads the key’s unique signal, it will unlock for your pet to go through the flap. Once the smart door no longer senses your pet’s key, the flap locks back into place. The key is programmed to let pets wearing the connected collars use the door, so stray animals or burglars can’t enter through the PetSafe door. With this smart pet door, you can let your pets leave the house day or night, whether or not you’re home, and feel confident that your house is secure.

College Students

Life as a college student is like a four-year juggling act; you are balancing a million different projects at once. When you’re preparing last minute for chemistry class, you may accidentally leave the hot plate on in your apartment or forget to turn off a lamp in your dorm.

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The Belkin WeMo family of simple and customizable products makes it easy to remotely control and automate your daily tasks. The WeMo Insight Switch turns any electronic product into a smart device that you can control from anywhere. You can also use connected Belkin devices, from smart coffeemakers to security cameras to lightbulbs. Once your devices are connected, you can use WeMo’s app to remotely turn your lights on and off, set your coffeemaker to brew, monitor your living space, and more. With Belkin WeMo, you can boost your dorm or apartment security and simplify a few of college’s many daily tasks.

People Who Live Alone

Living alone has its perks. You can set the thermostat to your preferred temperatures, and your place can be as clean or messy as you want. But, sometimes it can be unsettling to come home alone late at night or after you’ve been away on vacation.

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Smart home security cameras, such as the Nest Cam, can help provide peace of mind and comfort with the knowledge that technology is watching over your home when you’re there and when you’re away. Thanks to advanced Night Vision, the Nest Cam provides 24/7 live streaming. The motion and sound detectors are smart enough to distinguish pets and background noises from irregular movements and strange sounds. Once the camera picks up movement or sound that’s out of the ordinary, you’ll immediately receive an alert on your smartphone. With a smart security camera in each room, you can have a second pair of eyes and ears in your home — all while enjoying life without a roommate.

Young Families

Whether the children are leaving for school or coming home from soccer practice, they’re constantly in and out of the house. There’s a good chance that your children will occasionally forget to lock the door or will lock themselves out.

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Smart locks can eliminate these safety risks. The Yale Keyless Deadbolt lock enhances the security of your front door and allows you to control your locks remotely from anywhere. Instead of physical keys, each family member is assigned a unique user code. You can add up to 25 user codes, which is a great feature if you regularly have friends or family stay over at your house. Provide guests with user codes that you can delete when they leave instead of making copies of your keys. You can also enable an automatic re-lock function, which is a great security feature when you have children who forget to lock the front door.

Retirees

The retired life is meant to be full of relaxation and enjoyment. You don’t want to worry about the safety of your home when you’re traveling or visiting family and friends. As a retiree, the ideal home technology is simple to automate and centered on safety.

Out of all the home automation hubs on the market, Samsung SmartThings has several features ideal for those who want to “set it and forget it.” Like other smart home hubs, you can control your home — from appliances to security cameras — all from one app on your smartphone. The SmartThings app also has features like Daily Routine and Slip & Fall that can be invaluable when older family members come for a visit. Daily Routine alerts you if someone deviates from a daily routine — whether it’s that the housekeeper has arrived early or that a caregiver is late — and Slip & Fall will alert you if an older relative slips and falls in any room monitored by a smart sensor. There are many other ways to customize your SmartThings hub and app so your home and family members stay connected and safe.

There’s a smart technology solution for every lifestyle, from home security cameras to intelligent pet doors. However you choose to live, you can use home automation systems to improve the security of your home and the simplicity of your daily tasks.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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