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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

5 Ways Tech Can Make Your Life Easier

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When was the last time you went a day without using your iPhone or getting swallowed by your couch for an hours long Netflix sesh?

The technology gods gave us FaceTime, Emoji Blitz, and binge-worthy shows because we deserve nice things, right?

Obviously, technology is a big part of our lives. You probably can’t imagine not immediately whipping out your phone to check your latest Facebook alert—even if it's only from your weird aunt who comments on all of your photos. But, here’s the thing, those devices can be even more deeply integrated into our lives to make things easier.

You want your fridge to tell you when you’re running low on milk? How about playing your favorite playlist without scrolling through your phone and waiting for Spotify to load?

The future is here, and these are the devices you need to take advantage of it.

The Smart Speaker

More than 47 million Americans currently own a smart speaker, and after this Christmas, it’s believed that half of the US population will own one. It’s not difficult to see why—it’s the kind of device that’s meant to integrate into every part of your life—the nearly-invisible personal assistant you’ve always wanted. You can set alarms, add an event to your calendar, or make a grocery list, and it’s all voice-activated.

You can also do away with those morning news shows if all you want to hear about is the weather or how bad the morning commute is. It can even tell you a joke. Want to turn on your TV? Alexa or your Google Assistant can do that. Want to hear the latest Beyonce single? Sonos has your back.

The best part about these devices is that they are often the gateway for accessing your other smart products. About the only thing they can’t do is provide meaningful friendship, but we’re pretty sure that's right around the corner.

The Smart Fridge

If your definition of a fancy fridge means crushed ice, then you’ve never fiddled with a Smart Fridge. The refrigerator can scan the barcodes of what’s in your fridge and, based on that data, tell you when you're about to run out of something or if something is going to expire soon.

You can also connect your Alexa or Google Assistant to the fridge so you can easily order whatever you’re running low on. If you own other smart appliances like a vacuum or washing machine, you can control those devices from the refrigerator as well, all while playing music...from your fridge.

Smart Lighting

Some people still think that The Clapper is one of civilization’s greatest inventions, but that’s just because they don’t know what smart lighting is.

When you screw a smart light bulb into one of your existing lamps, that bulb is wirelessly connected to an app on your phone or tablet which you can control from anywhere, even while you’re, say, parasailing in the Bahamas.

Can’t wake up in the morning unless every light in your bedroom is turned on? That’s what smart lighting can do for you. Not only can you schedule all of your lighting throughout the day, but some will even change colors. If you have the Phillips Hue Bridge—a device that connects all of your smart lighting—you can add up to 50 lights.

Smart Thermostat

There are some terrible, no-good mornings where it's so cold, you have to swaddle yourself in every blanket you own just to drag yourself out of bed to turn up the heat. But what if there was a way that you could control the heat from your phone? And what if it could also learn from your behavior and make intuitive decisions on its own?

Once you install a smart thermostat, it learns to adapt to your temperature preferences throughout the day as well as the current season. It also knows when you head to the office so it can go into energy saving mode. According to a study by Nest, on average you save 10-12% on your heating bill and 15% on air conditioning with a smart thermostat.

Smart Locks & Doorbells

Smart doorbells and locks are exactly what the movies promised us the future would be. We want to know who’s knocking on our door, but we don’t want to get up to check the peephole. With the doorbell app, you can see who’s outside on your phone and speak to them all from the comfort of your couch.

There are other (less lazy) perks, too. The smart doorbell is particularly handy if a package is delivered to your home. Once the delivery person rings the doorbell, they’re immediately connected to your smartphone, and you can instruct them on what to do with the package.

And the smart lock makes keys a thing of the past. If the lock is voice-activated, just say “unlock the door,” and voilá. Even better, in the event of a fire, if your smart lock is connected to your smoke alarm, your doors are automatically unlocked.

While some of this stuff may sound like it’s out of a futuristic movie where the technology suddenly takes over, the benefits are too good not to test these devices out. Even using just a few can save you time and money. So, what are you waiting for?