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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 September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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