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7 Future Home Technologies You Should Know In Advance

7 Future Home Technologies You Should Know In Advance

A lot of the futuristic technology we see in sci-fi movies is so amazing it’s hard to imagine that it may someday exist in our homes. In reality, it may exist already. Modern technology has advanced to the point where we can now control our TVs, lights and even our thermostats from our smartphone. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are seven future home technologies that everyone should know about.

1. Automated Robots

irobot

    We are still a long way from a full-featured, humanoid-like robot that can operate freely. That said, automated robots already exist and are being used in a lot of homes today. Devices like the iRobot and Neato are designed to autonomously travel around your home and clean the floors. That’s about as far as we’ve come for consumer-based robots anyway.

    Don’t fret, however. A prototype robot unveiled by scientists in Germany does quite a bit more than clean the floors. The one-armed and three-fingered device can pick-up items, tidy up, operate various machines and even serve drinks to guests. An integrated sensor system prevents the robot from clamping down around a human’s arm. Additionally, it can be controlled via an embedded touchscreen, though it also answers to voice commands. It will even respond to preprogrammed gestures.

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    Of course, this is just one robot that is currently in production. It won’t be long before we see more automated helpers moving into our homes.

    2. Smart Appliances

    smart appliances

      As our devices such as our phones, watches and even jewelry become smarter and smarter, we’ll all begin to realize the benefits of owning smart appliances. Imagine a refrigerator that can have a nice glass of water waiting for you when you get to the kitchen — ordered directly from your mobile phone. Think of how awesome an internet-ready microwave would be — automatically tweeting out your quick meal to the world. Okay, so that last example was more of a joke but you get the point.

      You can already purchase refrigerators, washers, dryers and other devices equipped with touchscreen displays and a bevy of sensors. A few of them are even internet ready, allowing you to install and use apps directly from the appliance.

      What’s most exciting about the idea of smart appliances is that they will become increasingly more convenient, learning your preferences and making lives easier. Although, it does bring up a few questions about what big data companies might track, such as what time you eat every day and information like that.

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      3. Lighting Controls

      NEST

        Turning on a lamp or ceiling light from a wall switch is old fashioned now. Provided you have the right setup in your home, lights can now be controlled from mobile devices, touchscreen panels or an automated system.

        NEST, a smart thermostat, can even be programmed to turn on lights in your home and cool the air inside as soon as you return from vacation. Imagine being able to program your system so that it turns on lights at various times of the day or night.

        Advanced lighting controls are becoming more commonplace, though many hope that the technology will soon be a standard feature in new homes.

        4. Power Tracking or Energy Efficient Tech

        Your car tells you when it needs an oil change, so why doesn’t your home tell you information like that? Think of an air conditioning unit that can send you alerts when the air filter needs to be changed.

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        Better yet, think of an energy system that can tell you when you’re going over your power budget for the month. Powerhouse Dynamics, a Maine-based company, has unveiled their Total Home Energy Management program, which does just that. It tracks a home’s energy consumption, associated costs and carbon footprint by the minute, in order to allow homeowners to better manage their usage. It can even analyze appliances and equipment being used in the home and tell owners when they need to upgrade to more energy-efficient products. Furthermore, it’s constantly being modified to add new functionality and become a more useful system.

        It won’t be long before there are more than just a couple competitors in the market and power tracking systems become a modern home standard.

        5. Smart Toilets

        It seems a little silly taking a pot that you do your business in and making it “smarter,” but it’s already happening. There are toilets in Japan that will perform a urinalysis after people do their business, and then inform them whether or not they have diabetes — or are at risk for it. It seems that’s one of the main uses for smarter toilets, keeping us healthy, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. You can learn a lot by analyzing stools and urine. Toilets may soon be able to tell women they are pregnant by analyzing urine, or that someone has colon cancer thanks to their stool.

        Of course, other smart features like automated deodorizers and flushing systems, or heated seats are also pretty useful. Especially that last one, because no one likes to sit down on a freezing cold toilet seat.

        It’s pushing the envelope a bit, but Kohler’s Numi toilet seat is one of the most advanced and “smart” toilets on the market. It includes an integrated foot warmer, heated seat, deodorizer, air dryer, bidet, motion-activated cover and seat, and of course an illuminated touchscreen panel with support for MP3 music playback. Yep, you can listen to music while you’re taking a … well, while you do your thing.

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        6. Centralized Entertainment and Streaming Devices

        Cable TV is overpriced, outdated and pretty inconvenient these days. Sluggish and buggy set-top boxes are only a small portion of the problem. It’s no surprise then that a streaming revolution is happening right now. The future of entertainment lies in a centralized streaming system which provides homeowners — and guests — instant access to their digital entertainment. Thanks to internet-based subscription services like Netflix, Hulu and even YouTube, homeowners can stream content live to their TV relatively cheaply. Of course, it does rely on a decent internet connection, which is a different issue entirely.

        That said, future homes will include a more centralized entertainment and streaming system designed to offer convenience and pleasure. For example, it’s about time we did away with cable outlets and moved to installing a closed ethernet network in new homes — it will happen soon, just wait.

        Additionally, tablet and mobile smartphone based remotes will become much more common as new technology emerges.

        7. Closed and Private Networks

        Just take a moment to consider how many of your devices are designed to be used with an active internet connection. Along with all the things mentioned in this list, that range of products will expand to include home appliances, tools, monitoring systems and much more.

        Future homes will include closed and private network access to connect all of those devices and allow communication between them. Sure, you may have to go purchase a router to get your devices up and running today but hopefully that won’t be necessary someday. Wireless devices will automatically be installed in newer homes, opening them up to a closed network.

        This ties in directly with a personal home security system, which can be used with the private network. Facial recognition software would allow homeowners keyless entry into the home or network. A CCTV monitoring system would allow them to patch in remotely and check their home’s status while away on vacation. You could activate an emergency alert mode via a mobile device if something goes awry. The possibilities are endless.

        Featured photo credit: Electrolux Design Lab via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on October 16, 2019

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

        Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

        Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

        In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

        1. ScheduleOnce

          ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

          ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

          ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

          Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

          Available on Web

          2. Calendly

            Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

            You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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            Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

            3. Assistant.to

              For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

              From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

              While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

              Available on Web

              4. Acuityscheduling

                Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                Available on Web | iOS | Android

                5. Pick

                  Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                  At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                  Available on Web

                  6. X.ai

                    For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                    This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                    Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                    Available on Web

                    7. YouCanBook.me

                      is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                      They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                      Available on Web

                      8. Doodle

                        Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                        It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                        You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                        While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                        Available on Web | iOS | Android

                        9. WhenAvailable

                          WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                          Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                          Available on Web

                          10. Rally

                            Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                            Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                            Available on Web

                            11. NeedtoMeet

                              Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                              NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                              While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                              Available on Web

                              Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                              In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                              To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                              Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                              A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                              Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                              If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                              Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                              With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                              The Bottom Line

                              Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                              Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                              Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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