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Technology Around the Home – Study and Lounge

by Megan Iemma on May 28, 2014

This week, Megan Iemma continues her ‘Technology Around the Home series’, covering new and upcoming technology for your study and lounge.

Being the ‘geek girl’ in our house, I am always browsing through websites and catalogues to keep abreast of the latest innovations. This doesn’t mean I can buy them all – in fact we still have my husband’s grandfather’s television (One of those large boxes circa 1998)!

I think the biggest trend for technology in your study and lounge areas is increasingly automated and interconnected products, especially via your mobile devices.

Mounts for your devices (iPad or Android Tablets)

twelvesouth_hoverbar_hanging_hires

There is nothing worse when working with your tablet, than having it sit flat on the table, where in reality you need it at the height of your computer monitor. There are two types of products on the market where this can make a difference.

There are stand alone mounts for your device (mounted to a flat surface). These can be adapted for both Android or iOS and should allow you to charge your device at the same time. More specific products such as the Belkin Express Dock are specifically designed to hold your iPad in a portrait mode.

There are also mounts that can be attached to your desktop monitor, such as the HoverBar3. You can even use it in your kitchen, as it clips onto any surface up to 1 inch thick and comes with 3 clips.

Smart Plugs

wemo

There are some fantastic products on the market that help automate your lighting, heating and appliances. An example of this is the WeMo Switch. It plugs into your power point and can monitor energy use (great for heaters in winter), turn devices on and off (think television for saving power) and help prevent your devices from overheating. Everything is controlled from an app on your smartphone.

The Power of Great Sound

Photographers | We Are The Rhoads | Chris & Sarah Rhoads Client: Bose

Like with any entertainment area or lounge, great sound is a must. I have a sound system where my iPod Touch lives (and charges) which plays my music. When looking for products that can stream your music, also look for apps that integrate with these devices so you won’t need an extra remote control.

Speakers that use Bluetooth or AirPlay are standard, but find speakers that can charge a device if necessary. I would love a Bose SoundTouch™ 20 Wi-Fi ® Music System as it would allow me to stream my music via our Wi-Fi system (via iTunes) and Internet Radio.

Wishlist items (yet to be released in Australia)

Cube Sensors

cubesensors_hires_1cube_gramophone

This product helps you to understand how your home or office is affecting your health, comfort and productivity. You place one cube in each room and they monitor the following: air quality, temperature, humidity, noise, light, pressure. Shake them, and they glow, identifying the ‘health’ of the room. Of course, there is the smartphone/tablet integration which you can access from any web browser to see the status and make a change.

Smartthings Hub and App

smartthings-devices-2

Like with many of the devices we are using, it is great to simplify, rather than having one remote or app for each appliance or device. This is a hub which connects to different appliances from different companies and controls them via a Hub. There is then one app to control each of these appliances from the Hub dashboard. It is available for both Android and iOS.

As more products are developed, there will be greater collaboration between companies to innovate and invent products that will communicate and respond via home automation. At the moment, cost is a factor as most appliances require an individual device for each separate room of the house, making it more expensive to set these systems up. Until then, I suppose will just have to remember to turn the heater on when I get home.

What technology do you use and love in your lounge and study? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Featured Image: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast

Megan Iemma
Megan Iemma is passionate about adult learning and translating complex technology to real world situations for education, corporate and community groups. As an experienced consultant and trainer she has worked in technology consulting and training in addition to being a fully qualified primary/secondary music teacher. Megan set up “Tech Coach HQ” to fulfill her passion for technology and learning. She is a co-founder of the Slide2Learn Conferences (http://slide2learn.net/) which started in 2010. This is a world class Australian conference model with overseas attendees and presenters in the area of Mobile Learning in Education.
 
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