Google has just made life easier with its smart speaker and home assistant called “Google Home”.
Gone are the days when you have to write on paper, pick up the phone, go online and type or click something to accomplish things. With Google Home, you simply use your voice to get things done.
Here are 7 things that you can do with this smart speaker and home assistant:
1. Plan Your Day
You can start your day with one of the features of Google Home called “My Day”. The moment you wake up, you can say “Ok Google, tell me about My Day”.
My Day gives you an organized summary of the information that you need for the day without the need of looking into your calendar or typing or clicking things online. It gives you daily snippet of the following:
It tells you about the current weather, whether it’s sunny, cloudy or rainy outside.
Through My Day, you can listen to news from your chosen news source.
Google Home gives you an estimated travel time from home to work based on the volume of traffic.
You can listen to your appointments for the day.
You can listen to the status of your upcoming flight, whether it’s still on schedule or delayed.
2. Manage Tasks
With Google Home, you can control your timer and alarm – check, set, pause, stop, and recur – with just the use of your voice.
3. Accomplish Tasks
With Google Home, you can effectively accomplish tasks. It allows you to complete the following tasks:
You don’t have to go to the nearby store to buy your everyday necessities – from groceries to food for your pet. With Google Home, you can order from Google’s participating retailers, including Walmart. To order from Walmart, for instance, you can say, “Ok Google, order dog food.”
To set-up your order, use the Google Home app. Go to “More settings” and look for “Payments.” From there, set your delivery address and credit card details.
If you’ve an unexpected guest and you want to cook something of this guest, you can ask Google Home to give you step-by-step cooking instructions. Google Home’s system has over 5 million recipes from Bon Appetit, The New York Times and Food Network.
If you want to call someone, you don’t anymore have to pick up the phone. With Google Home, you simply say, “Ok Google, call (supply the name of the person you want to call).”
For instance, you can say, “Ok Google, call Mom.” Even if other family members also use Google Home, it’ll call only your mom, not your hubby’s mom as the system recognizes specific voices. You can also make free calls to businesses and personal contacts located in any parts of the US and Canada.
4. Get Answers
With close to 20 years of experience of answering myriad of questions, Google is guaranteed to give informative answers to questions pertaining to anything under the sun and even beyond.
You can ask Google Home about the weather forecast for tomorrow, specific day, weekend or in the one to 10 days. You can also ask how the weather in certain location is. For instance, you can ask “Ok Google, will it rain tomorrow in Winnipeg?”
If you’re bad with numbers or you simply don’t want to use your brain to calculate complicated numbers, you can ask Google Home to do this task.
You can ask Google Home to translate for you words and phrases in supported languages. For instance, you can ask, “Ok Google, what’s ‘call me’ in French.
You can ask Google Home conversions of global currencies and unit conversions. Examples of questions you can ask include:
“How many Swiss Francs is a Canadian dollar worth?”
“How many liters are there in 5 gallons?”
If you’re on a strict diet, you can ask Google Home for nutritional content of certain products or natural foods. You can ask these questions:
“What are the foods rich in calcium?”
“How much sugar is there in a Diet Coke?”
Consider Google Home as your talking dictionary. You can ask it about the meaning things like El Niño, cryptocurrency or anything that’s unclear to you.
5. Watch or Listen to Media
With Google Home, you can stream video content to any TV that has Chromecast plugged in or Chromecast built-in using only your voice. You can also stream audio to any speaker that has Chromecast Audio plugged in or Chromecast built-in using only your voice.
6. Play Games
If you’re tired of watching videos or listening to music or podcasts but still want to be entertained, you can opt to play games using Google Home. With this smart speaker and home assistant, you can play games, such as “Lucky Trivia”, “Crystal Ball” and “Mad Libs”. You can also ask Google to talk like Yoda to you.
7. Control Your Home
Using only your voice, you can control other smart devices in your home using Google Home. Examples of smart devices that you can integrate with Google Home include August Smart Lock, Philips Hue lights, Chromecast, Sony Bravia XBR-A1E, Nest Learning Thermostat and iRobot Roomba 690.
By using IFTTT, you can also control other online services and third-party smart devices that aren’t directly integrated with Google Home. IFTTT, which stands of “If this, then that”, is a separate company from Google. Through IFTTT, you can, for instance, connect Google Home with your smart coffee maker or to your social media accounts. For instance, you can say to Google Home:
“Rise and shine, let’s start a new day,” and then your smart coffee maker turns on.
“Tell my friends I’m unavailable for one week,” then a status update is posted to your social media accounts.
There’s no limit to how many third-party smart devices and online services that you can connect Google Home with. This makes the possibilities of this smart speaker and home assistant limitless.
Connect with us today to learn more about incredible deals on Google Home, and other smart home devices
How a Canadian City Saves Water via Smart Water Sensor
The city of Guelph – situated just 100 km west of Toronto, Ontario Canada – is home to over 120,000 people. It’s a fast-growing city; its water supply, however, isn’t.
For its water supply, the city only depends on groundwater. This dependency on groundwater leaves the city low on water supply specifically during summer months and droughts.
Last summer, to reduce the city’s water consumption, the city commenced a water challenge to look for a partner that offers the best smart meter/leak detection solution that’s sold directly to consumers. The city sets the following criteria for the best smart meter/leak detection solution:
Reduce average residential water use in Guelph by 10L per day
Reduce damage and wasted water due to undetected leaks
Reduce billing disputes caused by undetected leaks, particularly for multi-resident buildings
Alert homeowners to potential leaks or other water use issues (e.g., unauthorized use)
Targeted at single-family and multi-residential dwellings
Provide timely access to water usage figures
Provide timely access to household performance metrics (e.g., water efficiency ratings, performance against comparable homes/customers)
Sold directly to customers and affordable for a main-stream market
Alert Labs responded to the water challenge by offering its Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor – water sensors that send real-time alerts to a customer’s smartphone for emergencies like floods or leaks. In September 2016, Alert Labs won the city of Guelph’s water challenge with its conservation tech: Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor.
The Flowie water sensor takes real-time readings from standard residential and commercial water meters. This water sensor can simply be installed in just 2 minutes by strapping it onto the water meter. It automatically connects to the cellular network. No need for a wi-fi connection. The sensor sends to your computer, tablet or smartphone real-time monitoring of water consumption, analyzes trends and reports valuable analytics.
The Floodie companion sensor, meanwhile, sends you alerts to your computer, tablet or smartphone whenever it comes in contact with water.
The city of Guelph has the Flowie Water Sensor Rebate program which covers the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor. Alert Labs, the maker of Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor, gives a $50 instant rebate for Guelph residents who install water sensors for their homes or businesses.
How the City of Guelph Saves Money via Smart Water Sensor
The city of Guelph installed the Flowie water sensor at the city’s Sleeman Centre and the West End Recreational Centre.
According to Mathew Newman, Water Services technician of the city of Guelph and an expert in investigating high water use issues with homeowners and businesses, when they strapped the Flowie water sensor onto the water meter of the Sleeman Centre, the sensor and data it provided gave the city “a lot of opportunities to show where we can save water and make the systems a bit more efficient”.
Newman similarly found that when they strapped the Flowie water sensor onto the water meter of the West End Recreational Centre, they were able to establish when exactly is the water peak demand, when exactly Zambonis are filled, when swimming pools are filled and when showers are used. By getting a clear diagnostic of what is being used, the city was able “to find ways to improve efficiency”, Newman said.
According to Newman, it’s not the only city government of Guelph that saves money as a result of using smart water sensor, but the city’s residents as well. He said one day, the owners of a local restaurant complained to the city’s Water Services about the sudden increase of the restaurant’s water bill.
When the Flowie water sensor was strapped onto the municipal water meter of the restaurant, the positive impact was almost immediate, Newman said. “It was clear as soon as we strapped it on that water was running constantly 24 /7, all throughout the night and all throughout the day,” he said.
He said that the minute-by-minute water data sent by the Flowie water sensor suggested a major leak. Further investigation by the city’s Water Services revealed a broken valve on the restaurant’s noisy ice machine, which resulted in 24/7 running of water into the ice machine and literally down the drain. When the broken valve on the ice machine was fixed, Newman said that the restaurant saved $630 per month in water costs.
According to Newman, water issues in homes are caused 95% of the time by a malfunctioning toilet or a malfunctioning water softener. “It really only takes one incident like a toilet flapper sticking or a water softener malfunctioning for the Flowie to pay for itself,” he said.
Flowie Sensor Applications
For your home, you can strap the Flowie water sensor onto your municipal water meter, while the companion flood sensor can be placed under or near flood-risk areas, such as hot water toilets, heaters, laundry areas, sinks, dishwashers and garages.
You can install these two conservation devices by yourself in just 2 minutes without the need of technical knowledge or tools. Unlike other smart devices that need to be connected to a wi-fi, these two devices connect to the internet without the need of a wi-fi.
In addition to providing you real-time information about water consumption, leaks and floods, the Flowie sensor also gives you the following real-time information to your computer, tablet or smartphone:
Property power status
Power outage notifications
Power restored notifications
Outdoor / Indoor Temperature
Outdoor / Indoor Humidity
Dropping temp warnings
Freezing pipe alerts
The Flowie sensor doesn’t just give you minute-by-minute status of your water system, power system and heating and cooling system. It also provides you with data analytics – giving you daily and monthly average water consumption, basement temperature versus outdoor temperature and many more. To receive minute-by-minute information from the Flowie sensor, as well as data analytics, you need to install the Alert Labs app on your computer or mobile phone.
The web and mobile dashboards of the Alert Labs app provide you with instant visibility of the different status of a number of sensors placed in different locations or properties. This visibility is ideal if you’re a property manager or a landlord.
Connect with us today to learn more about how to safe money and protect your biggest investment
Indoor air pollution is among the top environmental health risks, according to the World Health Organization. An air filter is one of the effective means to remove pollutants from indoor air.
When buying an air filter, make sure to look for the following features:
1. Capacity to Remove Particle Pollution from the Air
Particle pollution, also known as particulate matter, is a mixture of particles – tiny pieces – of solids or liquids found in the air.
Particles are categorized based on their sizes. PM10 are particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter and smaller. PM2.5 are particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. To visualize how small 10 micrometers is, think of a single strand of a human hair – the average size is about 70 micrometers in diameter.
Examples of larger particles include dust, pollen, some spores and mold fragments, some dog and cat dander, skin flakes, some dust mite body parts and cockroach body parts and droppings.
Smaller particles can come from tobacco smoke, burning candles or oil lamps, operating fireplaces, cooking – frying, broiling and sautéing. Sources of smaller particles also include bacteria, some spores and mold fragments, some cat and dog dander, some dust mite body parts and droppings. Smaller particles pose the greatest threat to human health as they can travel deep into the lungs and even into the blood.
According to CDC, particle pollution has been linked to eye irritation, throat and nose irritation, trouble breathing and lung cancer. The CDC added that breathing in particle pollution can cause serious health problems like a heart attack, especially in people with existing heart disease, with symptoms including chest pain or tightness, feeling out of breath, fast heartbeat and being more tired than usual.
“There are very few studies on the health effects of indoor particulate matter, but those available seem to link PM to respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and coughing, especially in children,” Health Canada said. “On the other hand, there are many studies on the effects of outdoor particulate matter on health. These studies show a wide range of respiratory and cardiovascular effects, especially in those who already suffer from a respiratory or cardiac condition.”
When buying an air filter, look for a product that can remove particle pollution. An air filter that’s specially made to remove particle pollution is the filter type called HEPA, short for high-efficiency particulate air filtration.
A HEPA filter is a screen that’s made of dense fibers. The effectivity of a HEPA filter is dependent upon these 3 aspects: 1) size of its pores or microscopic-sized openings; 2) thickness of the screen; and 3) speed of the air being forced through it.
HEPA filters trap molds, aerosols, radioactive particles, toxins, viruses, bacteria and other particle pollutants. This makes HEPA filters ideal for hospitals, pharmaceutical laboratories and similar facilities as these facilities require a germ-free and hygienic environment.
Not all HEPA filters are created equal though. When buying an air filter, ensure that the product isn’t just a HEPA filter but a “True HEPA” as well. For an air filter to be designated as a True HEPA, it must be able to trap at least 99.97% of 0.3 micron-sized of particles from 85 liters of forced air per minute in a test.
2. Capacity to Remove Chemicals and Odor from the Air
When buying an air filter, look for a product that can remove chemicals and odor. To determine if an air filter can remove gaseous pollutants like chemicals and odor, find out if the product has a carbon filter or carbon canister. A carbon filter is composed of black granules of carbon-rich materials like coal, wood or nutshells.
3. Flexible Installation
When buying an air filter look for a product that’s flexible enough to be installed or integrated into your home’s central heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system or as a stand-alone air filter.
4. Quiet Operation
When buying an air filter, look for a product that’s quite enough to the point that you won’t realize that the equipment is in operation. A completely insulated air filter ensures quiet operation. This insulation also lessens the heat loss and gain.
Lennox Healthy Climate® HEPA System Air Filter
If you’re looking for an air filter that can remove large and small particle pollution, consider the Lennox Healthy Climate® HEPA System air filter. Lennox air filters are true HEPA, removing 99.97% of air pollutants. In addition to its capacity to remove particle pollution from the air, Lennox air filters can also remove chemicals and odor from the air.
Air filters from Lennox can be integrated into your home’s central heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. It can also function as stand-alone home equipment. Most importantly, the Lennox air filters are virtually quiet.
3-Stage Air Filtration Process
The air that goes inside the Lennox air filter goes through a 3-stage filtration process.
Stage 1: Pre-Filter
The first stage is the pre-filter. This stage removes larger particles from the air. This stage is essential in order to prolong the life of the other filtration stage, the HEPA filter. After removing larger particles, the air then moves to the next filtration stage.
Stage 2: HEPA Filter
The second stage is the HEPA filter. This stage removes 99.97% of particulates or particles as small as 0.3 micrometers in diameter. The air which is now nearly completely free of particles then goes through the third filter stage.
Stage 3: Carbon Filter
At stage 3, the air that’s almost completely free from particles then goes through the carbon filter stage. At this stage, chemicals and odors are removed.
After passing through the 3 stages, the clean air is then pushed out of the air filter unit to become fresh air that you breathe.
Call us today to make sure that you and your family breath clean air.
During hot summer months and on the most humid days, your smart home isn’t complete without a dependable air conditioner.
Before renting or buying an air conditioner, check first if it offers the following important features:
1. Consistent Temperature
An ideal air conditioner is one that can maintain a consistent temperature inside your home. If you set a certain temperature, this temperature should be achieved and maintained throughout the operation of the equipment.
The temperature outside your home is bound to change from time to time. The temperature inside your home, however, doesn’t have to fluctuate by the shifting conditions outdoors. Your air conditioner should be able to provide consistent temperature just like cruise control in an autonomous car which provides consistent speed set by the driver, regardless of the road and weather conditions outside the vehicle.
2. Virtually Silent
The other requisite for an ideal air conditioner is its silence. What good does it do if an air conditioner is ultra-consistent in its temperature, and yet, it’s too noisy when turned on?
Some of us want some noise in our life like the sound of our favorite band, the laughter of our kids. No one, though, wants to listen to the noisy humming of an air conditioner.
When buying an air conditioner, find out if the unit is solar-ready. A solar-ready unit can harness the power of the sun. The sun is typically up during summer months and humid days. While the sun brings the temperature up, the heat it radiates can be harnessed as energy to power home equipment – and why not, the very equipment that cools our home.
4. High SEER
When buying an air conditioner, look for a model with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). SEER is a measure of efficiency and performance of an air conditioner. SEER particularly specifies the amount of energy required to provide a specific cooling output.
“Central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER),” the U.S. Department of Energy said. “SEER indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER ratings of 6 or less.”
When buying an air conditioner, look for a model that allows connectivity with your other smart home devices. In today’s interconnected world, your home equipment need not be set apart from the rest of your home devices.
Lennox Air Conditioner
The Lennox air conditioner offers consistent temperature, virtual silence and connectivity. It harnesses the power of the sun and has a high SEER.
1. Precise Comfort® Technology
The Precise Comfort® technology of Lennox air conditioner maintains a consistent temperature inside your home. This technology achieves this level of consistency by making small and continuous adjustments to its temperature output throughout the day.
In this sense, Precise Comfort® technology of Lennox operates similarly to the cruise control of an autonomous vehicle. Cruise control makes tiny and ongoing adjustments relative to the outside conditions of the car – road and weather conditions – at the same time providing overall efficiency.
Regardless of the weather conditions outside, Precise Comfort® technology of Lennox maintains the temperature level that you choose by conducting minute by minute adjustments to the airflow and cooling. Because of this technology, your indoor temperature stays consistently within 0.5 degrees of your chosen temperature, without any cold and hot swings.
2. SilentComfort™ Technology
Even though there are no financial savings for having a virtually silent air conditioner, having one directly affect your comfort. Most air conditioning systems today are quieter compared to those produced in past years. Lennox takes this development to the next level with its SilentComfort™ technology.
Compared to a standard conditioner, the Lennox air conditioner is 50% quieter. It also comes with an industry-exclusive composite fan design with insulated compressor compartment and variable-speed operation to help reduce sound levels.
3. SunSource® Home Energy System
The Lennox air conditioner – in particular, the Dave Lennox Signature® Collection – is solar-ready. This means that this particular air conditioning unit is designed to work with solar modules in Lennox’ SunSource® Home Energy System. You can use a few solar modules at first and add more (up to 16 modules total) when your budget permits.
The SunSource® Home Energy System of Lennox harnesses solar power – utilizes solar power first prior to using electricity from your utility company – to run your air conditioner.
SunSource® Works this way:
Solar modules harness energy from the sun and send it to your Lennox solar-ready air conditioner.
The harnessed energy is first used to cool your home.
The energy that’s left is utilized to run small electronics and appliances in your home.
The energy left can potentially be sold back to your utility company and earn you a credit.
Benefits of the SunSource® Home Energy System of Lennox include:
It cuts your cooling bills by up to half.
It makes you eligible for possible tax credits and rebates.
It can be installed with no major modification requirements to your home.
This solar system can be expanded by adding more solar modules whenever you want.
Harnessing power from the sun is environment-friendly. This reduces the need for electricity generated by power plants, which in turn results in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
4. High SEER
The Lennox air conditioner has an industry-high SEER rating of up to 26.00, saving you hundreds of dollars every year on your utility bills. The higher the SEER, the greater your energy savings. The typical SEER ratings of other air conditioners range from 13 to 18.
According to Natural Resources Canada, space cooling comprised 1.2% of the Canadian household energy consumption, 4.3% lighting, 14.4% other home appliances, 17.3% water heating and space heating 62.8%.
5. Connectivity to Nest Thermostat
Your Lennox air conditioner can be connected to your Nest thermostat. When paired with Nest thermostat, your air conditioner will familiarize your routine and adjust the temperature accordingly. Connect with us today to how to save money while installing a new AC.
If the safety and security of your baby, your pet and your home is your top priority, then owning a Nest cam indoor is worth considering.
Here are the top 3 reasons for owning a Nest cam indoor:
1. Nest cam indoor can be used as a baby monitor.
Some may argue that a baby monitor is unnecessary given that our generation and generations before us didn’t have this device then. This argument, however, pales in comparison to the number of accidents and tragedies resulting from neglecting to monitor babies.
Having a Nest cam indoor to monitor your baby’s room will give you peace of mind. Wherever you are, be it next door, in the kitchen, garage or even when you’re away at your office or out of town for a business trip, you can check on your baby and his or her nanny any time and in real time. The Nest cam indoor continuously records 24/7 everything within its 130° wide-angle view and in full 1080p HD video.
Download the Nest app to watch the live video feed of your baby. Through the Nest app, monitoring your baby can further be enhanced via the following features:
Zoom and Enhance
You can zoom in and out to that cute little face.
Talk and Listen
The Nest cam indoor has a speaker and a microphone. You can listen to your baby’s mumbling or breathing and you can talk – or sing if you want to – using the Nest app.
Turning On & Off Schedule
With the Nest app, you can schedule the turning on and turning off of the Nest cam indoor up to 32 times each week. For instance, you can turn on the cam from 8AM to 6PM – the time when you’re at the office; turn it off after 6PM to 10PM as you’re home at this time; and turn it on after 10PM to 6AM – the time when you’re asleep at another room. You can also schedule the cam to be turned off during Sundays – your day off from work.
Collective Family Monitoring
You simply can’t monitor your baby every time the cam is turned on. You can share this responsibility with other family members by asking them to get their Nest account for them to monitor as well your baby from anywhere in the world using their smartphone. During the time when the cam is turned on and you can’t get a break from work, you can ask other family members to take a look at the live video feed of your baby.
2. Nest Cam Indoor is ideal for monitoring and training your furry-haired family member.
Owning a puppy is like having a newborn baby. Like newborn babies, puppies can be needy, clingy, cry a lot when they’re alone, chew on things they’re not supposed to and generally need regular attention.
Spy on Destructive Behaviors
Using your Nest app, you can watch live video feed of your puppy. This device allows you to monitor destructive behaviors, including frantic scratching, chewing, howling, barking, excessive drooling or excessive pacing. You can spy on your puppy even at night as this cam has a night vision. Even at night, puppies are active, displaying destructive behaviors like excessive crying, pacing and whining.
This 24/7 live video feed, not only gives you peace of mind, it can also save the life of your four-legged family member. There have been many cases when these video feeds saved pets from injury and emergency vet trips.
Provide Long-Distance Training
Similar to humans, furry-haired family members form their good or bad habits at an early age. At this stage, proper training matters. The reality is you can’t be at home 24/7 to train your puppy. The Nest cam indoor allows you to train your puppy even when you’re far away from home.
With the cam’s 2-way audio – microphone and speaker, you can hear what your puppy is doing. Your furry-haired family member can also hear you. You can tell him or her to get off the couch, to stop barking or you can provide encouraging words for positive reinforcement.
Share Live Video
By default, your Nest cam’s video stream is private. You can share video stream of your puppy to other people in 3 ways:
Invite people to join your Nest home using Family Accounts.
Share the video stream with a password-protected link.
Stream the video publicly for anybody to see.
3. Nest cam indoor can solve crimes.
If your four-legged family member epically fails in protecting your home from burglars and intruders, you can have at least the Nest cam indoor to solve the crime.
Since the release of the Nest cam indoor, this device has documented criminals as they enter homes, including footages where break-in happened while family was home, when talk & listen feature of the cam scared burglars away and when burglars tried to steal Nest cam. Here are some of the concrete examples where the Nest cam indoor footages help to solve crimes:
“Because of the Nest Cam clip, the police were able to positively identify the criminals. All four burglars have been caught and identified.” – A.G. Massachusetts (February 2016)
“I was at home sleeping when I heard a crash. With this clip, the police were able to positively identify the intruders, who are now in jail for other crimes.” – Guelda M., Washington (November 2015)
“I saw the intruders with the Nest app and used Talk & Listen to scare them away. Authorities were able to find and arrest the suspects thanks to the clip.” – Lisa P., New Jersey (April 2016)
The “Talk and Listen” feature of the Nest cam indoor is like a video call. You can speak to the person in front of the camera and the person can reply immediately without touching anything. If you want to speak to the person in front of the camera, your baby or your puppy, you simply go to your Nest camera indoor live stream in the Nest app and press the Talk button to start speaking.
We make it easy to own the cam or a set of cam and protect your home and your family. Call us today to explore your benefits and get a great deal.