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7 Important Considerations Before You Buy Smart Home Tech  

Smart homes seem like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. They have lights that respond to your voice commands and thermostats that auto-adjust. Not to mention robot vacuums that clean your floors while you relax.

It’s all very tempting. But before you rush out and buy the newest gadget, there are some crucial considerations. Here are 7 essential things to ask yourself before diving headfirst into new smart home tech.

1. Does it Solve a Real Problem?

Not all smart home devices are created equal. Some offer genuine solutions to everyday problems. Others might be more novelty than necessity. Think critically about your daily routine. Identify tasks that you could streamline with smart technology. 

For instance, do you constantly forget to turn off the lights when you leave a room? Then, smart bulbs with motion sensors could be a game-changer. But a smart toaster might not be the most practical addition to your kitchen. Especially if your mornings are already a hectic rush.

2. Is It Compatible with Other Devices?

The world of smart home devices can be a bit like a high school cafeteria. Not all device brands play well together. Many smart devices rely on a central hub or app to function. So, ensure the gadget you choose is compatible with the ones you already have or plan to buy. 

Mixing and matching brands can lead to a frustrating user experience. Devices may refuse to communicate or need several apps to manage. Researching compatibility beforehand will save you a lot of headaches. 

PS: Help is on the way in the future. A new Matter standard aims to address cross-brand compatibility.

3. Is Your Wi-Fi Up to the Challenge?

Smart homes are like data-hungry beasts. They rely heavily on a strong and stable Wi-Fi connection to function properly. Is your internet slow, unreliable, or have limited bandwidth? If so, your smart home dreams might quickly turn into a frustrating nightmare. 

Just a few of the potential problems you might face with a weak Wi-Fi connection are:

  • Smart lights flickering on and off
  • Thermostats refusing to adjust
  • Voice assistants lagging behind your commands

Before investing in smart devices, consider upgrading your Wi-Fi router or internet plan. This helps ensure it can handle the increased data traffic.

4. Privacy Concerns Deserve Attention

Smart home devices collect data on your habits and routines. From the times you turn on the lights to the temperature you prefer in your home. These gadgets are constantly gathering information. Some companies may use this data to personalize your experience. But others might sell it to third-party vendors (usually advertisers). 

Before bringing a smart device into your home, take time to read the device’s privacy policy. What data does it collect? How is it used? Do you have any control over how your data is shared? Does the privacy policy raise red flags? Then, it might be best to look for a different device with stronger data protection practices.

5. Security Matters: Protect Your Smart Home

Unfortunately, the convenience of smart homes comes with an increased security risk. These devices connect to your Wi-Fi network. This means they can become vulnerable to hacking attempts. Hackers could potentially gain access to your home’s controls. As well as adjust settings or even steal sensitive data. 

To mitigate these risks, choose devices with strong security features such as encryption and two-factor authentication. Additionally, keep your devices updated with the latest software patches. This is crucial to address any known security vulnerabilities. Consider creating a separate “guest” Wi-Fi network for your smart home devices. This isolates them from your personal computers and other data-rich devices. The isolation gives you an extra layer of security.

6. Future-Proofing Your Smart Home

Technology evolves at a rapid pace. What’s cutting-edge today might be obsolete tomorrow. Before investing in a smart home device, consider the manufacturer’s reputation. You should look for details on software updates and long-term device support. Will the company continue to provide security patches and updates in the years to come?

If a device lacks a history of consistent software updates, it might be wise to look elsewhere. This helps to ensure your smart home doesn’t become outdated quickly.

7. Start Small and Scale Up Gradually

Don’t get carried away and try to automate your entire home overnight. Smart home technology can be a significant investment. It’s wise to take things slow. Start with a few key devices that address specific needs or pain points in your daily routine. 

For example, consider starting with smart lights or a smart thermostat. These help you experience the benefits of smart home technology but before diving into a full-blown home automation setup. This measured approach allows you to assess the usefulness of smart home devices. As well as identify any issues before committing to a larger investment.

Carefully consider these 7 essential questions before buying smart home devices. They’ll help ensure that your foray into the world of home automation is a success.

Need an Expert to Help with Smart Home Setup & Security?

Those “DIY” smart home setups are not always as easy (or secure) as they may sound. If you need help from a friendly technology expert, give us a call. We can help you craft a smart home that’s connected, secure, and truly helpful.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.

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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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Unified Smart Homes: How Matter is Setting a New Standard 

Is your smart home turning into a smart mess? Do your smart office devices speak different languages? You’re not alone. The current smart home and office technology landscape is riddled with incompatibility issues. This forces you to juggle several apps and deal with frustrating setup processes.

Smart home adoption is skyrocketing. Experts expect household penetration to be 18.9% in 2024. By 2028, that number nearly doubles to 33.2%. But these devices are not only becoming home standards. Smart speakers, sensors, and more are increasingly in use by businesses.

But fear not, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. A new standard called Matter is here to unify the smart tech world. As a homeowner or business owner invested in smart technology, “Matter” matters. Let’s break down what this means for you.

The Smart Home Struggle is Real: A Tower of Babel

Imagine this: you buy a fancy new smart lock. Then you discover it doesn’t work with your existing smart light bulbs. Or you try to create automated routines in your office. But your devices can’t seem to communicate with each other. This is the reality for many smart home and office owners today.

The culprit? A lack of a universal standard. Different brands use different protocols, creating a fragmented mess. There’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and others – each with its pros and cons. But not exactly working seamlessly together. 

This translates to:

  • Limited Functionality: Your devices might not work together as planned. This can hinder the potential for true automation.
  • Setup Headaches: Connecting and configuring a multi-brand smart system can be complex. You may end up with a time-consuming nightmare.
  • App Overload: Juggling several apps for different devices is a recipe for frustration.

Matter to the Rescue: The Unifying Force

Matter is a standardized language for smart devices. It was developed by a group of leading tech companies in the smart home space. This standard helps ensure smart devices can all communicate, regardless of brand.

Here’s how Matter benefits you.

Goodbye, Compatibility Issues

Matter-certified devices will work together flawlessly. This means your smart lights will finally talk to your smart lock. Your office thermostat can play nice with your security system.

Hello, Easy Setup

Setting up new devices becomes a breeze. No more deciphering complex protocols or struggling with different apps.

Peace of Mind with Security

Matter prioritizes strong encryption and device authentication. This keeps your smart home or office safe from potential security threats. This is an important consideration when choosing smart home tech. Not all manufacturers place security first. Just looking for “Matter-certified” on a label makes it easier to choose wisely.

Future-Proof Technology

Matter is designed to adapt and evolve. This ensures compatibility with new devices and technologies as they emerge. You don’t find your tech “aging out” of an entire smart hub system.

What Matter Means for Your Smart Space

As Matter adoption increases, you can expect:

  • More Choices: A wider range of Matter-certified devices will hit the market. This allows you to pick the best options for your needs. And not have to worry about brand compatibility.
  • Simplified Management: Imagine controlling your smart home or office from a single app. Matter makes this dream a reality.
  • Enhanced Security: Robust security features built into Matter provide peace of mind. You can have confidence your connected space is protected.

Embrace the Future of Smart: How to Get Ready for Matter

The Matter revolution is underway, but it’s still early days. Here’s how you can prepare:

  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye out for Matter updates and announcements. This can help you learn which devices are becoming Matter-certified.
  • Invest Wisely: Consider opting for Matter-certified devices when replacing existing ones. Or when adding new features to your smart space.
  • Be Open to Change: Prepare to embrace Matter-based solutions. Especially as Matter becomes more widespread. This helps you build a more unified and convenient smart home or office experience.

Matter is a game-changer for smart technology users. It paves the way for a more intuitive and user-friendly experience. This allows you to focus on the real benefits of smart tech. These include convenience, efficiency, and comfort. 

So, ditch the app overload and say goodbye to compatibility woes. Unified is the future of smart homes and offices, and Matter is leading the charge!

Improve Your Smart Home/Office Setup & Security!

Is your smart home or office giving you what you need? Is it letting hackers into your network without your knowledge?

Get some relief! Our smart tech experts can help you with a unified setup. We can also ensure that your devices and network are fully secured.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.

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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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What Were the Coolest Consumer Products Showcased at CES 2024?

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was an exciting one this year. It left us with a mind-blowing glimpse into the future of technology. CES 2024 showcased a smorgasbord of cutting-edge gadgets. Including transparent TVs and robot pet buddies. These gadgets promise to revolutionize our homes and the way we interact with the world.

With so much innovation on display, which products truly stood out as the coolest of the cool? Buckle up as we delve into the hottest highlights from CES 2024!

Beyond the Screen: Immersive Entertainment Takes Center Stage

CES is always a hotbed for mind-bending displays, and 2024 was no different. Here are some innovations that will redefine how we experience entertainment:

  • Samsung’s S95D OLED TV: Samsung touts it as the ultimate gaming TV. This device boasts the world’s first 4K 144Hz panel. It’s designed to enable gamers to react faster than ever. It delivers glare protection and has 20% higher brightness than last year’s model.
  • LG’s 4K Transparent OLED TV: Imagine a TV that blends in perfectly with any decor. This futuristic marvel from LG redefines the concept of a home theater. It has a 77-inch UHD transparent OLED display. The customizable design includes shelves of metal frame material. It’s designed to look like furniture, blending beautifully in any home.
  • TCL’s Mini LED TVs: TCL introduced the “world’s largest” mini LED TV. The 115-inch device is designed to exceed the highest performance standards. It has 20,000 Local Dimming Zones to bring otherworldly depth and detail.

These are just a taste of the mind-blowing display advancements showcased at CES. With each iteration, TVs are evolving into immersive portals for entertainment. They’re increasingly blurring the lines between reality and the digital world.

The Wellness Revolution: Gadgets for a Healthier, Happier You

CES isn’t just about entertainment. It’s also about harnessing technology to improve our well-being. Here are some health and fitness gadgets that caught our eye:

  • Evie Ring: This sleek, non-invasive ring is a game-changer for women’s health tracking. It monitors a wide range of important data. Including, sleep patterns, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and menstrual cycles. The Evie Ring provides women with a holistic picture of their health. Plus, it looks great too!
  • BMind Smart Mirror: Get ready to transform your bathroom into a personalized sanctuary. This AI-powered mirror attunes to your energy levels. It responds through lights, sound, and display. It’s the first smart mirror to incorporate cutting-edge AI. It can interpret expressions, gestures, and language. BMind even has an AI-driven virtual mindfulness coach.
  • LIPCURE BEAM: Amorepacific touts this as the world’s first beauty tech. It offers personalized lip and makeup care. Sensors incorporated in the tool offer lip-related diagnosis and treatment. LIPCURE BEAM reacts to specialized light spectrum. It can fortify collagen fibers in lips as well as establish moisture barriers.

These are just a few of the exciting advancements in wellness tech showcased at CES. The exciting products also included non-invasive health trackers and interactive workout experiences. CES 2024 highlights how technology is becoming part of achieving a healthier lifestyle.

The Future is Here: Unveiling the Unexpected

CES also throws some curveballs. This includes showcasing innovative concepts that push the boundaries of technology. Here are a couple of “out there” products that generated a lot of buzz:

  • Samsung’s Self-Driving-based Home Buddy: Move over, Roomba! Samsung unveiled a Self-Driving-based Projection System. It is the soul of the Home Buddy robot projector. It enables Home Buddy to move about a home and cast projections of videos, apps, etc. on suitable surfaces. This technology hints at the future. One where robots become integrated helpers in our daily lives.
  • Mymanu CLIK Pro Immersive Translation Earbuds: Ever wanted to speak another language? Mymanu’s CLICK earbuds put powerful translation capabilities in your ears. It enables users to communicate in over 50 languages. It offers an immersive experience to break down language barriers.
  • ORo Dog Companion: Why should humans have all the robotic fun? Ogmen Robotics introduced ORo an autonomous robot to keep your pets company. It can play, deliver treats, and even has a medication dispenser. ORo also integrates with several smart pet accessories. For the owners, it creates video stories for fun social media sharing.

These “out there” concepts may not be hitting store shelves anytime soon. But they showcase the relentless pace of innovation in the tech world.

Need Some Help Securing Your Smart Home?

CES 2024 gave us a glimpse into the future. Where technology becomes even more integrated into our lives. While smart homes are convenient, they also pose risks. Especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

Do you need help ensuring your smart home is safe from hackers? Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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This Article has been Republished with Permission from .

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Smart Tips for Building a Smart Home on a Budget

Imagine a world where your lights turn on automatically as you walk in the door. Your coffee starts brewing before you even crawl out of bed. A simple voice command adjusts the temperature to your perfect setting.

This is no longer just something out of a sci-fi movie. Today’s smart technology seamlessly integrates with your daily life. It can create a more convenient, comfortable, and even secure living space.

But wait, haven’t smart homes always been synonymous with hefty price tags? Not necessarily. Some high-end smart home systems can indeed cost a small fortune. But building a smart home on a budget is absolutely achievable.

Here are some tips to transform your humble abode into a tech-savvy haven affordably:

The Wellness Revolution: Gadgets for a Healthier, Happier You

1. Start Small and Scale Up

You don’t need to overhaul your entire home at once. First, identify areas where smart tech can make a significant impact on your routine. For example, do you constantly forget to turn off the lights? Smart bulbs are a budget-friendly solution. They can automate lighting as well as sync with a voice assistant for hands-free control.

2. Think Beyond the Big Brands

Major tech companies dominate the smart home market. But there are many affordable alternatives from lesser-known brands that offer similar functionality. Explore online marketplaces. Read reviews to find smart plugs, sensors, and other devices that fit your needs and budget.

3. Embrace the Power of DIY

For the tech-savvy individuals out there, consider DIY smart home solutions. There are readily available kits that allow you to build your own smart switches or sensors. Look for readily available online resources. This approach does need some technical know-how. But it can be a rewarding way to create a customized smart home experience at a fraction of the cost.

4. Repurpose What You Already Have

Before you jump on the smart home bandwagon, take a good look around your house. Can you repurpose existing devices into smart devices? For instance, you can transform many older TVs into smart TVs. All they need is the help of a budget-friendly streaming device like a Chromecast or Fire Stick.

5. Get Crafty with Automation

There are creative ways to leverage existing technology to add a touch of smarts to your home. For example, you can use smart plugs to control table lamps or coffee makers. This creates a basic level of automation. You skip the need for expensive smart appliances.

6. Leverage Free Smartphone Apps

There are a ton of free smartphone apps that can add smart functionality to your home. Many don’t even need any extra hardware. Use sleep cycle tracking apps to mimic the sunrise and sunset. Download smart weather apps. Many can trigger adjustments to your thermostat based on the forecast.

7. Explore Open-Source Options

The open-source software community offers a treasure trove of possibilities. It’s a great place for budget-conscious smart home enthusiasts. Research open-source platforms like Home Assistant. They allow you to connect various smart devices from different brands. It puts them under one central hub. This eliminates the need for expensive proprietary systems.

8. Think Security First

While affordability is important, you should never compromise security. Do your research before purchasing any smart home device. Make sure they have proper encryption protocols and security updates in place. You want to ensure they protect your data and privacy.

9. Consider Subscription Services

Some subscription services deliver smart home functionalities. These services might offer bundled features. Such as cloud storage for security camera recordings. Or access to a wider range of voice assistant routines. Carefully check the subscription costs. Weigh them against the value they provide before signing up.

10. Be Patient and Play the Long Game

Building a smart home on a budget is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time. Research different options and focus on the features that matter most to you. New and more affordable smart home products often hit the market. You can gradually add functionality and create your dream smart home one step at a time.

By following these tips, you can transform your home into a smart haven without breaking the bank. A smart home doesn’t have to be about the latest gadgets and gizmos. It’s about utilizing technology to enhance your comfort, convenience, and security. And doing it in a way that fits your lifestyle and budget.

Need Help Building a Savvy Smart Home Network?

Are you looking for a smart home guru to help you build your dream? Our expert team is pleased to help. We’ll work with you to plan an affordable smart home deployment as well as providing expert security and technical support.

Contact us today to learn more about our smart home services.

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Radius Technology Solutions Limited Spearheads Innovation in IT Services Under New Brand Identity

North East based IT solutions firm, Radius Technology Solutions Limited, has launched, seeking to disrupt the traditional IT service market.

The business, formerly known as Clive Owen Technology Services, is headed up by Lee Huck and Ian Jarvis, who have more than 30years’ experience between them.

With demand for flexible business solutions high, the duo made the decision to rebrand and innovate the service offerings to provide a range of IT solutions for businesses including ad-hoc offerings and tailored solutions for any size of business.

The rebranding heralds a new era of commitment to excellence and adaptability in meeting the digital needs of UK businesses, after celebrating two decades of service in the same year that Clive Owen LLP marked its 40th anniversary.

The company’s transformation represents a deep-rooted change in how IT services are delivered. As a Managed Service Provider (MSP), Radius Technology Solutions Limited distinguishes itself by going against the conventional long-term, restrictive contract model in favour of providing clients with the flexibility to adapt their IT solutions as their business needs evolve. This approach is designed to empower businesses, offering them the agility required to navigate the rapidly changing technological landscape without the constraints of lengthy commitments.

The company’s comprehensive portfolio, which includes hardware procurement, software development, cybersecurity, and cloud infrastructure, among others, is underpinned by strategic partnerships with leading technology firms including Microsoft, Dell, HP, Huntress and ESET. This extensive range of services and solutions, coupled with a commitment to flexibility and adaptability, positions Radius Technology Solutions Limited as a pioneer in the IT services sector, challenging the norm and setting new standards for service delivery.

Lee Huck, managing director of Radius Technology Solutions Limited, said, “Radius Technology Solutions Limited aims to lead a shift in the IT services industry. We are moving away from the traditional, inflexible contract models to offer our clients the freedom and flexibility they need to thrive and quickly adapt to new technologies in a digital age.

“Our affiliation as part of the Clive Owen LLP group of companies enriches our offering, enabling us to combine reliability and expertise with innovative, client-focused solutions. We are setting a new benchmark for what businesses can expect from their IT service provider.”

As Radius Technology Solutions Limited forges ahead under its new identity, it remains committed to leveraging its expertise, experience and partnerships to provide cutting-edge IT solutions. This commitment, combined with a revolutionary approach to client service, cements Radius Technology Solutions Limited’s position as a disruptor in the IT services industry, ready to meet the demands of modern businesses seeking flexibility, innovation, and excellence.