With many of us spending so much more time at home than ever before, it is no wonder that investment in home security and hands-free gadgetry boomed in the height of lockdown. After all, implementing smart technology throughout the home can enable users to avoid commonly touched areas like TV remotes, while devices such as smart locks and doorbells can ensure deliveries are securely received with no face-to-face interaction required.
With global shipments of smart home voice control devices predicted to increase by 30% in 2020 according to ABI Research, gadgets that were once seen as ‘nice to have’ are now being consumed as essential items for living. JLife takes a look at some of the most popular additions to our teched-up homes…
Portal from Facebook
You are sure to have seen the adverts for this on TV: grandparents keeping in touch with grandchildren via video calls on their Portal device or grown-up children competing for their mother’s affection by buying her Portal. Essentially, it’s a screen that you hold or display like a picture frame and can videocall your contacts on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
For those who want to videocall but would rather not hold a phone to their face, Portal is a helpful solution. It even has a smart camera function where it automatically pans and zooms to keep up with the action of whoever you are speaking to and knows when to widen the frame for when someone enters the shot! Nifty!
This is truly for the home that has everything! For the beer aficionado who wants to save themselves a trip out, this smart home brewing kit from BeerWulf is the number one choice. The all-in-one, multi-functioning machine allows you to brew premium quality beer all the way from grain to glass at home – all you need is a water supply and a Wi-Fi connection. Easy to install and setup, there’s even an app to guide you through the whole brewing process. The results should be fresh, cold and shareable…exactly how beer should be enjoyed!
Starter pack incl. MiniBrew Base Station and SmartKeg: £1,173.96
Panasonic Smart Home Monitoring & Control Kit
Panasonic has entered the world of smart home technology with its Smart Home Monitoring and Control Kit KX-HN6012EW, which aims to combine ease of use with priceless peace of mind. It’s designed to allow you to monitor your home using a combination of a wireless security camera and security sensors.
Whether you use it to monitor your home while you are away, or simply to switch your appliances on and off automatically, it gives you the ability to monitor and control your home from the convenience of your smartphone or tablet. You could even use it as a baby monitor, should you need to keep check of your little ones. However you wish to use it, the easy installation and simple interface means you can start protecting your home and family straight away.
The move to work at home also saw an upswing in investing in ergonomic and incredibly useful tech to help you remain just as, if not more, productive.
HP Wireless Business Slim Keyboard and Mouse
Serenity is key, and these ultra-quiet computer accessories will mean you’ll never miss the clickety-clack of the office ever again! This keyboard is made with low-profile keys ensuring the typing is quiet and even comes with adjustable legs, so it can be adjusted to allow for an optimal typing position. One of the greatest benefits these products have to offer is wireless capability, meaning you can use them up to 30 feet away from your computer. Plus, the wireless mouse is designed to be used in either hand (hurrah for left-handers!).
Argos Home Orion Ergonomic Office Chair
Many people would rather not spend too much money on equipment they need for work, especially when they don’t know how long they’ll be able to work from home. The joy of this Argos Home Orion office chair is that it looks more expensive than it actually is, compared to how much you could be forking out for just a chair!
The faux leather look goes well with chrome-and-black stand and castors, and while it isn’t the most stylish of furniture pieces, the tall back – which stretches as high as 128.5 cm – ensures good support for your back and neck.