West Virginia Assistive Technology System

WVATS Quarterly Newsletter

WVATS Summer 2018 Newsletter Cover

Smart home devices make life easier

Smart home devices offer an affordable way for people to increase independence in their homes. People can control their home with their voice or smartphone. These devices can increase access, comfort and security in the home. Smartphones and systems such as Amazon Echo and Google Home allow people to build smart home abilities a little at a time. Users can start with areas or tasks they need to increase independence. Over time, additional pieces can be added to these systems.

Here are some smart home items that could help increase home accessibility:

  1. Automated Personal Assistants

    These devices allow the user to manage devices connected to the system with their voice. They can also be controlled using a smartphone app while on the go. These devices can be used to set alarms, reminders, timers, lists, make phone calls, play music, find out the news and weather, complete internet searches and many more tasks.

  2. Smart Lock

    A smart lock can be an alternative to a keypad lock for a home. They may be useful if caretakers, housekeepers, nurses, or therapists need access to the home. Smart locks use the user’s smartphone as a key. Others can be provided temporary, guest, or administrative access to the home. Smart locks can also restrict the times guests can access the home. The apps can monitor and track who enters the home and when. The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt, Kwikset Smart Lock and August Smart Lock are a few examples of smart locks.

  3. Smart Doorbell

    A smart doorbell has a motion sensor camera. Using the companion app on a smartphone or tablet, the user can see who is at the door. Smart doorbells also have 2-way talking capabilities. This feature allows the user to talk to the visitor even when they are away from the home. A smart doorbell may be helpful to those who are unable to see out of their windows from wheelchairs or who have limited mobility. The Ring Smart Doorbell and Zmodo’s Greet Smart Doorbell are a couple of options available.

  4. Smart Thermostat

    Smart thermostats allow users to keep the home at a preferred temperature. The thermostat learns temperature preferences over time. It will automatically maintain preferred temperatures. The user can change the temperature using their smartphone even when away from home. Smart thermostats can give information about temperature, humidity, and light to allow better use of the system. There are varieties of smart thermostats available including Ecobee, Nest and Honeywell.

  5. Smart Lighting and Outlets

    Smart lighting can help reduce the risk of low visibility in a home and increase accessibility. A smart light bulb such as Phillips Hue or a smart plug can allow lights to come on with a touch of a phone screen or a voice command. There are varieties of smart light bulbs that can function beyond “on” and “off.” Some allow the user to change colors or dim the lights to reduce sensory overload. Smart plugs can also be used to control other devices and appliances such as fans or electric blankets.

Read the full Summer 2018 Newsletter

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