Smart technology helping upgrade homes
New smart technology is making it possible for people to control multiple items in their homes – all with the touch of a button.
But with so many options available, it can be difficult to determine if the technology is being used safely – and effectively.
New smart devices are bringing a sense of the future into the present, providing a hands-free approach to household items and tasks.
“It’s really cool being able to say ‘Hey Google, do this or that,’ and then, it be able to do that for you,” said smart device user Nicholas Pauls.
Voice-activated smart devices can connect wirelessly with other devices, through hubs like Amazon Echo and Google Home. It means people can use voice commands to start a timer, play music, make a grocery list or even order a pizza – no hands necessary.
Retailers have seen smart device sales take off. While cell phones are the golden key, smart technology is turning up everywhere.
“If you have a Samsung TV, it comes with some Samsung applications, starting with the most common ones,” said Best Buy manager Darin Vaza. “For example, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, some things like that. You also an application store that is very, very similar to what you have on your cell phones these days.”
SaskTel’s new Smarthome acts as a home security and automation service.
“We did just launch Smarthome in August,” said Michelle Englot, director of external communications with SaskTel. “We’re beginning to see people who are coming in and more interested in what it can provide.”
It allows users to remotely view who’s at the door, lock or unlock the doors or even just change the thermostat.
“We’re beginning to add new things, such as video doorbells and garage door sensors and openers,” Englot said. “Basically anything that is internet-connected and in your home can be monitored through our security monitoring service.”
But, new technology comes with new fears. Some people worry hackers will have access to all the information in their lives.
“There certainly is a privacy issue,” said Ronald Kruzeniski, Saskatchewan privacy commissioner. “It’s not covered by provincial legislation, but there is a significant worldwide or North American privacy issue.”
Kruzeniski said his office hasn’t received any complaints about smart devices yet. But, he feels users would be wise to look at what data is being collected by the devices and learn more about how to control it.
The approach to privacy with smart technology is similar to using a cell phone. Google Home has a mute function, while Smarthome is powered by Securtek.
“We’re making it more verbal and just easier to access to things,” Pauls said. “To be able to that, you have to be able to do the voice and the facial recognition. So, I think it’s just kind of where technology is going. You’ve just got to be careful about it and safe with it.”
“Be careful, read and study, analyze and reduce the risk,” Kruzeniski said.
As technology continues to expand, homes seem to be getting smarter – helping the average person with everyday life.
Based on a report by CTV Regina's Colton Wiens