I believe that at the end of the day, technology should improve the way we live. It should make life easier. It should make life better.
Fortunately, there are so many great technologies and products on the market today that do just that. During this month of chaos (aka “the holidays”) I thought it might be good to remember the technologies that make each day a bit better. Here are some of my favorites:
Keypad Locks: I look forward to the day we no longer require a wallet or keys. In this regard, I’m a big fan of our keypad lock. We have this at the business. It is much easier then fiddling with a key each morning and night. It is also very easy to change, should we lose an employee. No more bad key copies that may or may not work. It’s a little thing, but it makes my life easier. I could say the same about my car fob. Keyless entry is very pleasant, especially when you have kids and groceries and backpacks. If my “fob” is on me, I just have to touch my car door and the doors magically unlock. Once inside, I press the start button and my car starts. No more key to fumble with (or lose). I just keep the fob in my purse, and there it lives.
A Solid Network: There has been much conversation about the home network, and how it will play a key role in the world of custom integration. I had not understood this completely until I experienced it myself. I had the typical D-link router with wireless built in, and it seemed to do the job just fine (I bet most customers feel this way today). This was until we reconfigured our home audio system so that we could play our music wirelessly. The system would crackle and skip. After some troubleshooting—which involved moving the router, and moving the source (in this case, my iPhone)—to no avail, we installed an enterprise-grade WAP. The system has worked solid ever since. It has not cut out once. I cannot begin to tell you how much I am enjoying my music. I always have my phone or iPad on me and now I can just “throw” my music onto my in-ceiling (wired) speakers and control the volume. It makes me happy.
A Good Remote: A solid, well-programmed remote can really improve your quality of life. This is because it is so easy to use that anyone can use it. The babysitter can use it, the in-laws can use it, and the wife can use it (even my kids use it). No more looking for multiple remotes. No more off-sync devices—just one piece that works, every time.
AppleTV: This unit is a must for any iOS user. Last night my husband threw a great Jimmy Fallon video from Facebook onto my big screen TV. Poof—and there was the video. Want to show your clients pictures of your last installation? Want to mirror a presentation from an iPad or Mac? AppleTV is your bridge. Having a birthday party for one of the kids? Create a slideshow of their life on your Mac and it's available on your TV (Look Ma, no wires!). I know there are many other devices out there that do some of the same features, but IF you're an Apple person, this device works seamlessly. I use it to watch the latest releases, find my favorite show that I may have missed (due to my crashed DVR), and more. And I swear Apple does not pay me. I don’t even make money off the units I do sell. It is just a product that has improved my life.
DVR: Yes the DVR has existed for awhile now, but it is worth the mention. It completely changed the way we watch TV. I remember a time in the late 90’s when many (including me) would run home on a Thursday evening to catch the latest episode of Friends. At that time, if you missed it, you missed it. Today, we watch TV the way we want it (now if we could only control the bill). I have a few shows I record, and when I go to sit down at the end of the day, they are waiting for me to choose. No more commercials. No more channel surfing. Just what I want to watch; when I want to watch it.
Smart phones: I save this one for last, even though it is a technology I touch and use most throughout the day. It is my office on the go, my to-do list, my music hard drive, my link to the world. This could be an article in itself. Here I will just say that it is a device that has improved my life and made it easier.
Now, I know there are life-changing technologies on a much larger scale—technologies that save lives. But my favorite technologies are just about making each day a little bit easier. What technologies and products have improved your quality of life? Please share!