3 Ways to Conveniently Control All Your Smart Tech

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One or two smart devices makes your life easier; suddenly you have slightly more control over your environment, and you have the time and energy to relish it. However, when you start filling your home with all sorts of smart tools, the convenience of the tech starts to wane. Suddenly, you are burdened by the responsibility of keeping track of every single device, frustrated and fatigued by the endeavor. Yet, if you’ve already invested in the tech, it feels wasteful to not use each tool to its utmost capability.

Fortunately, you can have your smart tech and use it, too — with a smart device manager. The following three solutions make it easier to keep track of your cadre of smart devices, so you don’t have to waste undue time and energy on tools meant to increase convenience and comfort.

Smart Assistant

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own personal assistant, following you around to keep your life in order? While you probably can’t afford to keep a living, breathing person on staff 24/7, you likely already have a smart assistant — a piece of software designed to understand and respond appropriately to voice commands.

Virtual assistants have been around for a few decades, beginning with an IBM program named Simon in 1994 but truly flourishing with Apple’s release of Siri in 2011 and Amazon’s Alexa in 2014. Known as virtual, digital or smart assistants, these programs primarily live on your smartphone or computer, but they can connect to a variety of programs and devices around your home. Because they can listen and respond with near-perfect speech abilities, smart assistants allow you to control your smart home hands-free — and, perhaps more importantly for many tech users, it makes the act of controlling your home feel more natural and convenient.

Smart assistants aren’t perfect. Many services, like Google Assistant, require you to train the machine with your voice before it will work properly. Others simply cannot understand you much of the time. Still, there is something to be said for telling your smartphone to turn out the lights and seeing it happen.

Smart Home Hub

Your smartphone or computer functions as a de-facto smart home hub already — that’s where you have downloaded all the necessary apps to control all your devices. However, if you are tired of bouncing amongst the app for your speakers, the app for your lights, the app for your security cameras and the app for your thermostat, you might need a true smart home hub. This device combines the functionality of your myriad smart devices, giving you a single app through which to control them all. Even better, you  can purchase remotes for your smart home hub and assign different functions to different buttons — or you can purchase a smart home hub that comes with a smart assistant installed, like the Amazon Echo or Google Home, so you can again use your voice to control your smart tools from a single location.

If you do use a smart home hub, you should treat it like any other connected device in your home. That means you need to update its software or firmware about once per month, change its login credentials from the defaults and find a place for it in your home where it isn’t accessible from outside. If some passerby can shout “unlock the front door” through your window to activate your smart hub, your home hub isn’t safe or secure.

Dedicated Tablet

If you live alone, using your personal smartphone to control your smart devices isn’t a problem, but if you are trying to share control for your smart tech with a significant other or housemate, you might need a different solution. Then again, you might not want a smart hub or smart assistant if you have kids (or talking birds) who can’t be trusted not to abuse the power associated with smart tech. In either case, you might opt for a dedicated smart home tablet, which is loaded with appropriate apps and remains in one location, ideally out of reach of little hands.

You don’t need a state-of-the-art tablet computer to serve this purpose; you might even look for a gently used or refurbished option on websites like eBay or Swappa. However, before you buy, you should know exactly what makes and models will integrate with your existing smart environment. Otherwise, you could waste your money on yet another smart tool that doesn’t keep your home conveniently controlled.

Smart tech is the future, but only if people figure out how to use it efficiently today. You should experiment with one or more of the solutions above to determine how best to run your own smart home.

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Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Vishal Gaikar is a professional blogger from Pune, India. If you like this post, you can follow him on Twitter, also you can add him on Google+.

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