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Smart Home Products for Parents

This one here goes out to the parents. The ones who love smart devices and products, making life easy and convenient.

Today, we’re looking at eight devices that make sense if you’ve got kids at home. By no means, all these devices are exclusively for parents. Each of them, though, will come in especially handy with children in the equation.
We’ll launch right in without further ado to give you some food for thought.

8 Smart Home Products for Parents

  1. Smart Garage Door Opener
  2. Smart Lock
  3. Smart Doorbell
  4. Indoor Wireless Security Camera
  5. Baby Monitor
  6. Smart Changing Pad and Scale
  7. Smart Thermometer
  8. Smart Speakers and Smart Displays

1) Smart Garage Door Opener

Returning home from a road trip
or shopping with hands full of bags and kids running everywhere. Sound
familiar?

By investing in a smart garage door opener, you’ll be able to replace the chaos above with an entrance controlled seamlessly from your smartphone.

Many of these nifty devices can open your door automatically as you arrive based on geo-fencing.

Say goodbye to problematic entrances and say hello to automated door control straight out of a sci-fi movie. Make your life easier before you set foot inside your connected home.

2) Smart Lock

When your kids start going out with friends, why not offer them a better alternative than a key?

Many children tend to lose keys, and hiding a spare outside is a security risk not worth taking. Certainly not when you’ve got options like the Ultraloq UL3 Smart Lock at your disposal.

One of the primary reasons we consistently recommend Ultraloq in a segment filled with the high competition is the varied modes of entry. It’s especially kid-friendly.

Give your children the chance to enter home using fingerprint recognition. The UL3 can store up to 95 sets of fingerprints, and there’s nothing for your children to remember. Just teach them how to gain access, and you’ve got total security.

If you prefer to give them a code
to punch in on the touchscreen, the anti-peep tech is a nice touch. Encourage
your children to enter the password somewhere within a string of random digits.
The Ultraloq will let them in while no passersby with ill intent can guess the
actual entry code.

Throw in access with your smartphone and mechanical back-up keys and Ultraloq UL3 is, in our opinion, the strongest smart lock on the market for parents.

3) Smart Doorbell

If your kids spend time at home alone before you get back from work, investing in Ring Video Doorbell Pro is a great way to enhance their safety.

When anyone rings the doorbell, your children can see who it is on screen and communicate with two-way audio before letting them in. You’ll also be able to intervene and communicate remotely in-app on your smartphone.

You can also get alerts on your phone whenever the sensor detects motion outside your home, and you’ll benefit from a live feed.

How about checking up on your children?

4) Indoor Wireless Security Camera

Monitoring your kids is probably the single most prominent use case for indoor smart security cameras.

Our favorite wireless indoor camera is the Wyze Cam Pan for delivering exceptional results at a pocket-friendly price.

When you’ve got kids, you can take full advantage of the sweeping view to see what they’re up to when you’re not around. With a 1080p live stream on your smartphone and cameras small enough to place wherever you need them, Wyze allows you to keep a close eye on your children as well as your pets when you’re not at home.

How about if you’ve got a newborn baby to consider? Well,
you’re in luck there.

5) Baby Monitor

HelloBaby produces one of the strongest baby monitors in a glutted vertical.

The dinky 3-inch display is ample for keeping tabs on your newborn as she sleeps. You can pan, tilt, and zoom so you can ensure everything is safe and secure.

Robust two-way audio lets you hear what’s happening in the
nursery. You’ll also be able to soothe your bundle of joy and sing her a
lullaby.

A room temperature display means you can be confident your
little one is comfy.

Night vision ensures you’ll remain connected with your baby
throughout the night.

6) Smart Changing Pad and Scale

If you’re looking for a multi-purpose gadget to make your life easier while helping you monitor your baby’s weight, the Hatch Changing Pad and Scale is an innovative and effective solution.

Now into its second generation, the changing pad makes
diaper time a little easier. Soft and pliable as well as easy to clean, the
added kicker is the integrated scale.

Use the companion app to monitor how your baby is growing
and developing. You’ll have access to all the data you need to make sure your
little one is drinking enough milk and putting on weight as required.

7) Smart Thermometer

This flexible smart thermometer from Withings allows you to store settings for up to 8 users, making it ideal for the whole family.

With 16 infrared sensors taking thousands of measurements,
precision is uppermost.

You’ll be able to monitor data in-app on both iOS and
Android.

This no-contact thermometer is the ideal way to get an
accurate reading even if your baby is grizzling and colicky.

We’ll round out now with a quick glimpse at smart speakers
and smart displays.

8) Smart Speakers and Smart Displays

Smart speakers and smart display perform one central general role: bringing voice assistants and hands-free control into the home.

How do these devices come in handy when you’ve got kids,
then?

Well, the cheap and cheerful Echo Dot Kids Edition is an excellent way of introducing your children to Alexa and all she can do to help at home.

Create routines to help your kids stay on track with their
chores. Allow them to enjoy streaming their favorite music and listening to
audiobooks thanks to a free year’s subscription to FreeTime Unlimited.

Parental controls allow you to stay in charge while giving
your kids a great introduction to smart speakers.

How can you make things even better?

Well, with the all-new Echo Show 5, you can throw a 5-inch screen into the mix. On one hand, it enhances media options for your children. The screen also allows you to place video calls to your kids or to use Echo Show 5 like an intercom so you can let them when it’s time to head down for dinner.

Furthermore opt for a Google Home smart speaker if you prefer using Google Assistant. Most noteworthy, these smart speakers are not so kid-friendly.

Final Word

You should now have no shortage
of ideas on how to improve your life as a parent. Perhaps you’re looking to
make your home safer now you’ve got a new baby. Maybe you’ve got teens who
would benefit from technology to give them a helping hand with their chores. Or
it might be that you want to give your home a general injection of smarts this
Christmas. Take your pick from the above devices, and you’re in safe
hands.

Bookmark our blog to stay abreast
of the latest smart home news.

The post Smart Home Products for Parents appeared first on Smarthome Blog.

How ultrasound sensing makes Nest displays more accessible

How ultrasound sensing makes Nest displays more accessible

Last year, I gave my 74-year-old father a Nest Hub for Christmas. Over the following months, I noticed he would often walk up to the device to read the information on the screen, because he couldn’t see it easily from across the room. I wondered if other people were having the same issue. 

My team at Google Nest and I started having conversations with older adults in our lives who use our products, asking them questions about ways they use their devices and observing how they interact with them. In the course of our research, we learned that one in three people over the age of 65 have a vision-reducing eye disease, and that’s on top of the millions of people of all ages who also deal with some form of vision impairment. 

We wanted to create a better experience for people who have low vision. So we set out to create a way for more people to easily see our display from any distance in a room, without compromising the useful information the display could show when nearby. The result is a feature we call ultrasound sensing. 

We needed to find a sensing technology that could detect whether you were close to a device or far away from it and show you the right things based on that distance, while protecting people’s privacy. Our engineers landed on one that was completely new to Google Assistant products, but has been used in the animal kingdom for eons: echolocation. 

Animals with low vision—like bats and dolphins—use echolocation to understand and navigate their environments. Bats emit ultrasonic “chirps” and listen to how those chirps bounce off of objects in their environments and travel back to them. In the same way, Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max emit inaudible sound waves to gauge your proximity to the device. If you’re close, the screen will show you more details and touch controls, and when you’re further away, the screen changes to show only the most important information in larger text. Ultrasound sensing allows our smart displays to react to a user’s distance. 

Directions on a Nest Hub

Ultrasound sensing allows your display to show the most important information when you’re far away, like your total commute time, and show more detail as you get close to the device.

To develop the right screen designs, the team tested varying text heights, contrast levels and information density and measured the ease with which people could read what’s on the screen. It was refreshing when, regardless of age or visual impairment, testers would make comments like, “it just feels easier to read.” It turned out that designing for people with low vision improved the experience for everyone.

Ultrasound testint

Testing ultrasound sensing during the design process.

Ultrasound waves

What ultrasound sensing “sees” on a smart display.

Ultrasound sensing already works for timers, commute times and weather. And over the coming week, your devices will also begin to show reminders, appointments and alerts when you approach the display. Because this is using a low-resolution sensing technology, ultrasound sensing happens entirely on the device and is only able to detect large-scale motion (like a person moving), without being able to identify who the person is.

After we built the ultrasound sensing feature, I tested it with my dad. As soon as I saw him reading his cooking timer on the screen from across the kitchen, I knew we’d made something that would make our devices even more helpful to more people. 

New Smart Home Devices (Holiday Edition)

For us, “Smart Homies” our favorite part of the holiday season, are new releases of smart home technology and gadgets.

As you might know, Amazon’s huge 2019 hardware event wrapped up. With a whopping 15 products announced, the vast bulk of the recently released kit we look at today comes from Bezos’s stable.

We’ll also touch on a handful of options from Google, but their recent product offerings don’t stand up to the onslaught from Amazon.

Amazon

We’ll kick off with the latest kit from Amazon. All of the following devices are either available now or due for imminent release before Christmas.

The Sweet, Sweet, Revamp of Smart Speakers

Amazon recently dropped a couple of retooled smart speakers.

The all-new Echo
Dot (Third-Generation)
now comes with a clock displayed on a subtle LED
display woven into the fabric surrounding the speaker. It’s great news if
you’re looking to minimize screen time in the bedroom. Also, since, “What time is it?” constitutes the most
common query from Echo Dot users, it should save you a job, too.

If you want a slightly beefier smart speaker, the overhauled Echo (Third-Generation) is now available for pre-order. This iteration boasts the neodymium drivers previously the preserve of Echo Plus. You’ll also get some new colorways to supplement the classics you’re used to. New privacy controls round out a winning package.

What if you want something a little more powerful, though?

Upscale Smart Speaker

The forthcoming Echo Studio is a high-end smart speaker Amazon is touting as the “most innovative speaker” it’s brought to market.

In competition with Google Nest Max and Apple HomePod, five speakers come together to create a vibrant and detailed soundscape.

You’ll enjoy all the usual streaming services on offer with Echo devices covering all main bases.

You can also take advantage of Alexa’s 85,000 skills to help to organize your day.

As with all Echo smart speakers, Echo Studio also gives you
hands-free control of other compatible devices in your connected home.

How about if you’re looking for a screen with your virtual butler?

Mid-Sized Smart Display

Now sitting neatly between Echo Show 5 and the original 10-inch Echo Show, Echo Show 8 goes head-to-head with Google Nest Hub and its 7-inch display.

As with all smart displays, this unit makes a great addition
to the kitchen. Alexa can now grab contextual information from recipes to help
when you’re cooking. You can keep one eye on your cooking and the other on the
screen.

Whether you want the new mid-sized Echo Show 8, the smaller Echo Show 5 for the bedroom, or the classic full-sized Echo Show (Second-Generation), Amazon serves you up screen size for all occasions.

For The Kids

Children already have a kid-friendly Echo Dot, but Echo Glow is a neat little smart lamp to ease your little ones into home automation safely and enjoyably.

You’ll be able to teach your kids how to change the color of
the lighting with voice commands and an Echo device. You can also create
colored routines with a Rainbow Timer to keep your children on track when
they’re getting ready.

Cheap, cheerful and available for pre-order now, why not brighten up your children’s bedrooms this Christmas with Echo Glow?

Take Alexa Everywhere

We recently took a look at what to expect from Echo Flex, so what will you get when Amazon’s smallest Echo device drops this month?

Echo Flex allows you to take Alexa, where access would otherwise be problematic. We’re thinking stairways, hallways and basements or attics.

All you need to do is pop directly into a power outlet then take advantage of the on-board mics to interact with the perfect Alexa.

Truly Wireless Headphones

With wireless headphones continuing to fly off the shelves, Amazon has finally entered the fray with Echo Buds.

Five hours of battery life is relatively robust. You can extend this to 20 hours with the charging case. You’ll be able to deliver a quick burst of charge in just 15 minutes if you run out of juice on the go.

With multiple eartips bundled, you should get a customized
fit.

Drivers give you crisp and clear audio while the Active Noise Reduction Technology from audio specialist Bose is a beautiful touch.

With Alexa thrown in, these truly wireless headphones are
likely to give Apple’s AirPods a run for their money this holiday season.

And we’re not done yet with Amazon’s impressive roster of
new tech!

Alexa-Packing Eyeglasses

If you’re hunting for some smart glasses, treat yourself to some Echo Frames. Currently available by invite only, are you on the list for these Alexa-enabled glasses?

Invite-Only Smart Ring

Another invite-only gem, Echo Loop, is a smart ring that delivers vibrations for notifications.

Bulky due to the pair of mics and haptic engine, this is more gimmick than attractive jewelry. Still, we’re interested to see the reaction from consumers as the invite-only roll-out gets underway and Echo Loop drops for regular release.

Smart Oven and Air Fryer with Alexa Capability

Smart ovens have often failed roundly to deliver. The Amazon Smart Oven (Works with Alexa) comes hard on the heels of the Alexa-powered microwave from last year.

You’ll now also be able to air fry and use convection
cooking.

Alexa weighs in to give you advice on cooking times if you
scan the barcode of your package.

This poky smart oven is available for pre-order now.

Mesh WiFi System

The foundation of any good smart home is a dependable WiFi connection.

If you’ve got a large home with flat spots or you just find the signal is not quite up to scratch, invest in the Amazon eero Mesh WiFi System, and you’ll notice a massive improvement.

You’ll be able to use Alexa to help you navigate settings,
set-up is over in 10 minutes flat and you’ll enjoy super-strong WiFi hosed from
corner to corner of your home.

Here’s some further reading on mesh WiFi systems and
why they work so well
.

Compact Indoor Security Camera

Ring Indoor Cam is a recent addition to the security specialist’s massive line-up.

You’ll be able to plug this tiny
camera in or run it on batteries.

With the all-new Home Mode, you
can disable video recording at will. This is a valuable touch if you’re
concerned about always-on devices.

So…

With that huge roll-call of
Amazon products put to bed, we’ll finish off with a few offerings from the
competition…

Google

To round out, here are a trio of
devices from the mighty G that might be worth popping on your Christmas list:

  • Google Nest Hub Max
  • Google Nest Mini
  • Google Nest WiFi

Google Nest Hub
Max

The rebranded Google Nest Hub Max
comes with a 10-inch screen pitching it head-to-head with the original Amazon
Echo Show.

Hub Max comes with a more
powerful speaker than you’ll find on Echo Show, and you’ll also get a mini Nest
Cam IQ onboard.

You can enjoy a live feed of your living room in-app, and you’ll also be able to make and receive video calls.

Google Nest Mini

Google Nest Mini, now into its
second generation, comes with uprated sound despite retaining the same tiny
form factor.

This is a highly affordable and
effective way to bring Google Assistant into your home.

Google Nest WiFi

In direct competition
with the mesh WiFi system from Amazon, Google Nest WiFi comes in a 2-pack
giving 4400 square feet of coverage.

For a dependable internet in your smart home, you should seriously consider a mesh network.

Final Word

Do any of the above devices tempt you? If so, why not sign up for our email
newsletter? That way, you’ll qualify for a 20% discount off your first order
here at Smarthome.

Bookmark our blog, too, and come back for more of the latest smart home devices Monday through Friday. We’ve got plenty lined up for the coming holiday season, so keep your eyes peeled for more handy guides and more of the finest products for your connected home. See you soon!

The post New Smart Home Devices (Holiday Edition) appeared first on Smarthome Blog.

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