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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 June 12, 2019

Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor

Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor

Humor and laughter provide so many rewards. Studies have shown 20 seconds of laughter yield the same benefits as 3 minutes of hard rowing. A Robert Half International study reported 84% of executives believe a worker with a good sense of humor does a better job. Incorporating humor more effectively in the workplace allows you to defuse difficult situations, reduce stress, create attention for new ideas, build rapport, and be a more approachable and memorable leader.

With those benefits, it behooves you to hone your workplace comedic skills. So in the tradition of David Letterman, here are the top 10 ways to more effectively lead with humor!

#10. Look for Joy in Life

An important step is continually looking for joy throughout your life. This happens in a variety of ways:

  • Focus less on yourself and more on helping others. Need help? Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the classic by Dale Carnegie.
  • Laugh more – kids reportedly laugh 400 times per day vs. 15 times for adults. Aim for laughing 40 times daily to be at least 10% of your former self!
  • Regularly read humorous comic strips and look for quips and funny comments in your reading.
  • Even in challenging situations, hunt for something funny or humorous you can take away.

#9. Learn What Makes You Laugh

If you’re trying to laugh 40 times daily, it’s important to know what makes you laugh and have ready access to laugh-provokers. Figure out 107 things which make you laugh. Unrealistic? Hardly! Why 107? Because 107 is funnier than 100! Here’s a recipe for listing what makes you laugh by simply identifying:

  • 13 Movies
  • 11 TV Shows
  • 5 Words or Phrases
  • 19 Personal Stories
  • 5 Cartoons
  • 7 Audio or Video Pieces
  • 11 Comedians
  • 7 TV Personalities
  • 7 Funny Photos
  • 7 People You Know
  • 15 of Anything Else
  • TOTAL = 107 Funny Things

Collect & save these humor starters in a “Smile File” when you quickly need a laugh or comedic inspiration.

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#8. Use Your Own Comedic Material

Personal experiences are the most genuine humor sources for effective leadership. Look for humor in situations from your own life:

  • Funny things you have said or others have said to you
  • Pratfalls, be they mental, interpersonal, & physical
  • Embarrassing moments or unexpected happenings
  • Times of change or learning
  • Difficult life events (yes, even these can be humor sources)

When turning personal situations into comedic material, remember lessons learned from a childhood humor staple: Knock-Knock Jokes. These simple jokes work because the knock-knock structure highlights familiar situations, uses only essential words and phrases, and clearly signals a laughing opportunity. They also demonstrate how humor springs from surprise. The laughs come from not knowing who or what exactly is behind the door based on the initial response to “Who’s there?”

#7. Adapt Somebody Else’s Material

Beyond your own experiences, there’s a tradition of “borrowing & adapting” (I didn’t say stealing) funny stuff from others. That’s why old-time comedian Milton Berle was called the “Thief of Bad Gags.”

Part of borrowing successfully is using easily accessible humor sources in ways many don’t consider. Beyond simply Googling “funny” in front of quotes, one-liners, definitions, pictures, or videos, here are two other common sources you can adapt:

  • Cartoons – You can use cartoons in various ways by showing one in a presentation, telling the cartoon’s story (potentially making yourself a character) without any images, or using its punch line as a starting point for new humor.
  • Comedians – Mainstream comedians’ jokes or catch phrases are another source to modify and adapt to your personality or work situation. Watch lots of comedians and learn how professionals do it so well.

#6. Understand Your Audience

Using humor in a leadership position requires understanding boundaries on its proper use. It all starts with really understanding your audience by:

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  • Paying attention to top management’s attitudes toward humor.
  • Knowing the audience’s composition – this directly affects which humor types are appropriate.
  • Loving your audience as much or more than you poke fun at them.
  • Inviting others into humor since you can’t assume they share your same humor sensibilities.

In case you’re contemplating using ad lib humor, completely knowing your audience is even more vital. Ad-libs have the potential for going horribly wrong because audience sensibilities have been misjudged. It’s very beneficial to actually plan and rehearse ad libs. It may sound odd, but identify common work situations you encounter and think through what usually goes wrong or provides a source for potential humor. Work out some “safe” funny comebacks to use as “planned” ad libs.

#5. Know the Rules and Boundaries

There are blatant humor no-no’s in the workplace which are quite acceptable for an onstage comedian. At work, avoid harmful practical jokes or pranks, heavily sarcastic comments, and humor rooted in religious, sexual, ethnic, or racial themes. Think you know your work setting well enough to tread on this dangerous ground? Here’s some advice: DON’T. The way questionable humor will be perceived by a workplace audience is too much of an unknown to take big risks when your career is at stake.

Use this checkpoint to actually see if your intended workplace humor is SAFE. To pass the SAFE test, all of these statements need to be true regarding your joke, comment, or image:

  • I can Say/Show this to my mother.
  • It wouldn’t Anger me if I were the butt of the joke.
  • This wouldn’t trigger an FCC violation
  • Everyone in the audience will be able to get it.

With even a hint of one false answer, dramatically modify your idea or better yet, abandon it and start over.

#4. Get over Yourself

Effective leaders don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re comfortable laughing at themselves and letting others be funny as well. Leaders should become adept at appropriately using self-deprecating humor, i.e., self-directed humor downplaying your own talents, stature, or accomplishments

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You don’t want to use self-deprecating humor on simply any topic, however. It’s most effectively & appropriately used in:

  • Situations where you’re comfortable & self-confident
  • Areas where your credibility & competence are clearly established
  • Ways that fit your known personality & sensibilities

Remember – when trying to borrow someone else’s self-deprecating humor, you need to share that person’s perspective & situation. If not, it’s simply deprecating! I once heard a decidedly non-technical Marketing VP call out “data geeks” in the audience. While that’s what they called themselves, she wasn’t a part of their group, and her comment, intended to build affiliation, fell completely flat.

#3. Need Humor Ideas? Just Look Around

The workplace is filled with situations lending themselves to comedy. Humor springs from exaggeration, wordplay, misunderstandings, ambiguity, contradictions, paradoxes, pain, and inconsistencies. If you work in any type of business or organizational setting, there are plenty of these situations to go around!

As a leader, it’s your role to use the proper opptunities to encourage and employ humor successfully by ensuring that:

  • Your humor makes others feel good about themselves.
  • Hurtful fun isn’t made of those less tenured than you in the organization.
  • You don’t use humor when agitated since it can lead to apparent meanness.

#2. Surround Yourself with Joy

If you’re looking for more joy and levity in leadership, surround yourself with joyful people. These are people who are funny, easily spur laughter, and routinely cheer people up through their presence.

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Cultivate relationships with these types of people. Spend time with them, learn from their successful uses of humor, and emulate elements of their approaches that work for you.

Beyond basking in the joy these people create, select 3 or 4 of them to be an informal comedy team. As your comedy team, solicit their opinions to help you generate and refine humor ideas. They can also provide perspectives on potentially questionable humor material that makes it through the SAFE test, but still feels like it might not be right for a workplace audience.

#1. Dive into the Fun

Ultimately, the most important part of successfully using humor as a leader is actually sharing it in the workplace. Here are a few final tips to keep in mind:

  • Practice your humor in appropriate, low-risk settings to find out what works before trying it out with a bigger audience.
  • Signal a laughing opportunity through your words, actions, and tone. It’s also a good practice to give people “permission” to laugh in the workplace.
  • Finally, be earnest in using humor; don’t focus on laughs so much as lightening and adding fun into work settings.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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