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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 December 30, 2018

        18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

        18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

        No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. It’s undoubtedly allowed us to connect, perform, improve and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

        If you’re not taking advantage of one of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

        But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use? Well, this will depend on your needs, but we’ve put together a list of 18 of the very best time management apps that can help you with the most common time management challenges.

        Let’s dive straight into the list…

        1. Rescue Time — Use your time wisely

          If you have doubts that you’re using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. You may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

          Download Rescue Time

          2. Remember The Milk — Keep on top of all your tasks

            If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily, and reminds you of them – wherever you are.

            Download Remember the Milk

            3. Focus Booster – Boost motivation to complete tasks

              This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It’s designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures.

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              Download Focus Booster

              4. Toggl – Keep track of time spent on projects and tasks

                This is a great alternative to time-sheets, if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects. Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks, and then through analysis, working out how you can manage them more effectively.

                Download Toggl

                5. Dropbox — Store and send large files easily

                  There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices – but Dropbox is free and easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go.

                  Download Dropbox

                  6. Evernote — Keep all your notes in one place

                    Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes or images).  You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.

                    Download Evernote

                    7. Mind42 — Focus on tasks at hand with mind mapping

                      Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mind42 is the best free mind mapping app currently available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

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                      Download Mind42

                      8. SyncBackFree — Back up and sync your files effortlessly

                        This free software allows you to back up, restore and synchronize your files easily. It not only saves you time now – but also in the future. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this pivotal tool.

                        Download SnycBackFree

                        9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) — Manage your to-do lists effectively

                          Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, to work with your to-do lists, and to organize your goals. This task management system helps you to target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives. It automatically generates to-do lists, with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                          Download MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

                          10. 1Password — Have all your passwords remembered

                            This app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. It also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                            Download 1Password

                            11. Pocket — Keep your eye on the ball

                              When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. Use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time which will not impact on your immediate work.

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                              Download Pocket

                              12. [email protected] — Boost your attention span

                                This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400%! Ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working or reading.

                                Download [email protected]

                                13. Launchy — Interact with your computer in a smart way

                                  This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want.

                                  Download Launchy

                                  14. Forest — Boost your focus by growing a forest

                                    This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track. The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                    Download Forest

                                    15. Trello — Track your projects in a highly visual way

                                      This is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board (which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed) as your start, work on and complete the associated task.

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                                      Download Trello

                                      16. Wunderlist — Digitalize your to-do lists

                                        Purchased by Microsoft in 2015, Wunderlist is an easy to use, feature-packed to-do list app. From planning a holiday, to sharing a shopping list with a partner, or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist will keep you on top of all your tasks.

                                        Download Wunderlist

                                        17. TimeTree — Have a shared calendar with your family

                                          This app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments. So, whether you’re planning a party, or run a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                          Download Time Tree

                                          18. Todoist — Capture and order all your tasks and activities easily

                                            Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list. It’s available via browsers and apps, and lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as given a due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                            Download Todoist

                                            The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools. And the good news is – that many of them are completely free of charge! So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you – and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                            Oh, and one more thing… Take a look at a couple of our other articles that will help further streamline your time management:

                                            40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone and 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

                                            More Recommended Productivity Experts on Lifehack

                                            • Leon Ho — The Founder and CEO of Lifehack, which he share productivity hacks to make life easier
                                            • Carl Pullein — A renowned productivity and time management coach
                                            • Mark Pettit — A Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to achieve more by working less

                                            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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