The connected home: A look at smart home technology & independent living

Smart home gadgets are both changing how we go about our daily lives in our own homes and also how we operate as a community, looking after others using this new tech.

Mobility aid experts, Ability Superstore wanted to explore how this technology could also make a huge difference to the lives of those who struggle with mobility, but want to live independently. With so many household appliances becoming automated, the potential to improve accessibility and independent living is wide reaching.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

We are all regularly told to keep on top of the maintenance of our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as these small devices could help to save our lives. The latest technology here is wifi-enabled smoke and carbon monoxide monitors. These connect to a wifi network and then over to a centralised system which can alert someone if there is an issue.

This is especially important when thinking about friends or relatives with hearing issues, where the sound of traditional alarm might not be loud enough, piece of mind would come from an extra-loud alarm tone, a flashing light or even a vibrating alert pad placed under the mattress.

New technology such as the Nest Smoke Detector make it easy and simple to control tests remotely from a smartphone or mobile device.

Lighting and electrics

We all know the familiar, anxious feeling at the thought of leaving electrics on once we’ve left the house. With new switches, plug adapters or timers, you could switch off the power without even being in the room. With the press of a button in a mobile app, you can take away the worry that you’ve left the oven on, or simply run up a huge electricity bill.

With new smart bulbs, you’ll also be able to set individual timings for all the lights in your home. Save electricity and make sure you are only using the lights you really need as you move through your home.

Central heating

Central heating can be a tricky thing to get right, especially in the winter months. Ever rising energy bills can stop people turning their heating on when they feel they need to and for the older generation, this could have serious effects on their health.

New smart thermostats give you more control over your heating and allow you to control the temperature of your home through your smartphone. If you’re out in the cold for most of the day, make sure your heating is switched on and warming up before your return.

General housekeeping

No one enjoys dull housekeeping duties, but for those with mobility issues, chores like hoovering or ironing can be strenuous. Automated hoover robots have been around for awhile now and they continue to develop, helping those that can’t hoover, keep their floors clean and dust free.

With all of these smart technologies invading our homes, there are some questions around security risks. However, most of these gadgets are here to simply make life easier and a modern, connected home could change lives and help to make independent living easier, for longer.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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