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6 Home Automation Gifts Perfect for Parents

6 Home Automation Gifts Perfect for Parents

There are many things a modern “smart” home can offer, like added security, but one of the best things they provide is convenience. With home automation, you can stop worrying about trivial duties and spend more time on what’s important.

For instance, the Nest thermostat will change the temperature in your home without your guidance. This saves time and money. It can also turn down the air temperature when you’re on your way home from work, so the house is just the way you like it when you arrive.

If you need gift ideas for your parents, home automation tech is perfect. It can be used to make everyone’s lives easier, safer and ultimately happier.

August Doorbell Cam

What if you could answer your door without even opening it? What if you could communicate with visitors on your terms? That’s what the August Doorbell Cam is for. It syncs with a smartphone, so you can always see who’s at the door, even when you’re not home, and has a one-way camera to record the live feed in case you want to replay a conversation or view it later. You can even speak to people at your door, thanks to two-way communication.

It also syncs up with other smart devices via Wi-Fi – namely, the August Smart Lock. If you have both installed, you can answer the door with the Cam and then unlock the door through the lock. This allows you to let family or friends in while you’re away, or even emergency services.

The home automation comes into play while you’re away. The doorbell can send you alerts and notifications when someone rings it, or even when it detects strange activity. This offers added security and peace of mind.

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Get it: August Doorbell Cam[1] | $149-$199

    August Smart Lock

    There are several different smart locks available, but we chose the August Smart Lock because it pairs nicely with the Doorbell Cam. You can use the Doorbell to see who’s at the door and then you can use the smart lock to let them in – if you deem them trustworthy.

    But a smart lock can do much more than that. It also eliminates the need to carry around keys, because you can just use your smartphone to get into the house. It can also auto-lock if you forget to lock your door after a specified time. That also means it can auto-unlock as you approach, which is super convenient if you have your hands full.

    The Smart Lock keeps a detailed activity log of everyone that comes and goes, so you can see who’s been inside your home at all times. And you can issue digital keys to friends, family and anyone else you trust. The best part is it can sync up with Apple’s HomeKit, and other home automation systems, to keep your entire house in check and operating without input.

    Get it: August Smart Lock[2] | $199-$229

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    Canary

    Modern smart tech allows us to boost security in our homes for relatively affordable prices. Gone are the days where you need to pay for a pricey subscription.

    The Canary is an all-in-one security system that monitors your home and sends you alerts while you’re away – or when you’re home, too. It has a camera that’s also equipped with a night vision sensor, which works alongside the motion detectors. If the Canary detects movement or unusual patterns, it can send notifications and alerts right to your phone.

    This allows you to open a live video feed and see exactly what’s going on. It will record in 1080p HD video and audio, so you can use the record as evidence later if necessary. The Canary is also equipped with a speaker and emergency siren, which you can use to scare off burglars or at least put them on alert. Don’t worry, the Canary is also tamper-proof and the video is stored in the cloud.

    Get it: Canary[3] | $169

      LiftMaster MyQ Garage

      You might not think of the garage as a super high-tech area, but by adding an accessory, like an automatic door opener, it can be just as smart as the rest of your abode!

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      The LiftMaster MyQ Garage system turns any garage door opener manufactured after 1993 into a smart one. This means you can open and close your garage door remotely, all from a smartphone. You can also receive alerts when your garage door opens, or when it’s been open for too long. This is great if you leave the house and forget to close it.

      It works just fine with existing garage door openers, so if you have a custom system, you should be fine too. If your parents don’t have a garage door opener installed yet, Clopay has teamed up with LiftMaster, and can install extra bells and whistles such as automatic openers, remotes, and other accessories. [4]

      Get it: LiftMaster MyQ Garage[5] | $129.99

      Belkin WeMo Switch

      The Belkin WeMo Switch is nothing more than a power switch with Wi-Fi network support. Any devices or powered items you have connected to the switch can be activated remotely from a smartphone. So, if you have a light hooked to it, you can turn it on or off while you’re away. You can do the same for TVs, stereos, computers, fans, consoles and much more.

      If you use it in combination with an app like IFTT or home automation equipment, you can set up some pretty cool scenarios. For example, you could have lights turn on and off throughout the day to make it seem like you’re home. You can also use the plug to turn off power-hungry equipment that you might have left on by accident.

      Get it: Belkin WeMo Switch[6] | $29.99-$39.99

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        iRobot Roomba 650

        Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if my home could clean itself?” Well, certain chores like the dishes or the laundry may never be automated, but vacuuming and sweeping sure can be! The iRobot Roomba 650 is a smart “robot” vacuum that operates out of a charging cradle and is completely automated. It leaves the dock and cleans for an hour or so, before returning to charge back up.

        It can clean hair, dirt and dust from your floors without any input from you. Of course, when the dust bag is full, you still have to empty it – the robot can’t do that itself. Yet. This product has a lot of competition, admittedly, but we chose the Roomba 650 because it’s excellent and it’s affordable.

        The best part about having a robot vacuum is that once you set it up, you can truly leave it alone. It will send alerts and notifications to your phone occasionally, like if it gets stuck. Other than that, you can power it on and just enjoy your clean floors.

        Get it: iRobot Roomba 650[7] | $159.99-$375

        Home Automation

        With these six suggested home automation gifts, you can really turn your home into a smart home. Did we miss your favorite automation gadget? Let us know in the comments!

        Reference

        [1] August: August Doorbell Cam 
        [2] August: August Smart Lock
        [3] Canary: Canary
        [4] Clopay: LiftMaster Garage Door Opener
        [5] Liftmaster: LiftMaster MyQ Home Control
        [6] Belkin: Belkin WeMo Switch
        [7] iRobot: iRobot Roomba 650

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        Megan Wild

        Editor, Freelancer

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        Last Updated on July 8, 2020

        10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

        10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

        Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

        Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

        As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

        In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

        Projects and Tasks Management

        1. Monday dot com

          Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

          The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

          The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

          The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

          Check out the software here!

          2. Asana

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            The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

            The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

            Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

            Check out the software here!

            3. Trello

              Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

              Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

              Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

              Check out the software here!

              4. Jira

                The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                Check out the software here!

                5. Evernote Business

                  Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                  The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                  Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                  Check out the software here!

                  Communication

                  6. Slack

                    Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                    Check out the software here!

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                    7. Spike

                      Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                      Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                      Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                      Check out the software here!

                      Creation

                      8. Office 365

                        Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                        Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                        You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                        Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                        Check out the software here!

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                        9. Grammarly

                          Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                          Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                          Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                          Check out the software here!

                          Team Analytics

                          10. ActivTrak

                            ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                            The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                            Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                            Check out the software here!

                            The Bottom Line

                            Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                            More Productivity Tools

                            Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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