Smart Home Technology – Accessibility at Home

Uncategorised / Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Smart Home Technology?

Smart home technology are devices created to automate our lives.

They have only started being used more in our homes and it’s that around 25% of the UK population have a minimum of one smart home device as suggested in a study by Data Select in 2016.

Smart technology can range from managing your heating to your lighting.

Examples of this include: Amazon Echo which works with your homes internet connection to give ‘house wide’ automation.

Smart technology devices usually do simple things, with added customisation options for products with dynamic or preference type features (changing heating temperature or lighting colour).


As someone with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, I believe that smart technology will be beneficial for those with physical disabilities, because maintaining every inch of independence is extremely important, even for simple things like turning the lights on or off.

My first experience was with smart technology was using the Phillips Hue and Amazon Echo Dot, these provided me with the perfect introduction of how it all worked.

Within weeks of use, I got used to the device and it instantly made life a lot more convenient, especially when I can use the smart home devices to suit my needs without help from anyone else. I also felt safe as I wouldn’t have to put myself through physical strain every time I forgot to turn my lights off.

Smart Technology Examples:

Here are a couple of examples of smart technology:

Phillips Hue Colour:

I use this device myself and I have to say that it has made using the lights in my bedroom easier, as these lights work on an app on my phone and by voice via Amazon Echo Dot

In addition it provides plenty of features for customising the lights to suit your mood, which is great if you need to have your lights dimmer or to help you relax before going to sleep.

Alternatively, for usability the app and voice commands work smoothly and make it easy for you to know which lights you’re using through the names you can assign to your lights and rooms you’re in.


Nest Smart Thermostat:

Nest is another great example of smart technology for automation.

This device aims to automate household heating, something which is essential for those unable to user a thermostat, without help of someone else to physically us it.

It learns about the environment you are in and sets the thermostat to a suitable temperature.

You are also able to manage the temperature through Echo/ Home or the phone app.

Within the app, things like water temperature it is set up so that the temperature turns down or off if the user is away from home.


Yale Smart Lock:

Image result for Yale smart lockFinally, Yale is a smart home device works by allowing the user to open and close a door lock with an app or Echo.

It is useful in terms of providing access to your home, especially if you need to let somebody in your house and can’t get to the door.

The only issue with this be security issues especially if an unauthorised person knows your pass code.


Somfy TaHoma Box:

If you’re wanting a system that works with a large smart home range, Somfy is for you.

It works with a series of motorised blinds for multiple rooms, suitable with different shapes and sizes of blinds/ shades to help with lighting and heating insulation (great if you need to save money on energy bills).

They also offer solutions for door security, surveillance, lighting, doors and heating maintenance (products like Nest and Phillips Hue and Yale).

All technology within this smart home system works with a device called TaHoma, compatible with a mobile app and various voice command systems (including Amazon Alexa).

Voice Command Devices:

Amazon Echo Series:

Amazon Echo comes in four models: Echo Show, Echo Plus, Echo and Echo Dot, all using the Amazon Alexa voice command software.

All these work with many other smart home devices on the market, making it perfect for those wanting to start out with smart technology.

The Echo show provides the user with a screen and central hub allowing smart home device management without the need of the hub.

On the other hand, the Echo Plus doesn’t have a screen but still acts as a central hub to help manage smart home devices.

Alternatively, the Echo and Dot don’t have a central hub installed inside of them.

Google Home:

Similarly, the Google Home and Google Home Mini works like the Echo in terms of the voice commands but differ in terms of what voice recognition software as Google Home uses  uses Google Assistant, which is found on various Android Smartphones like the Google Pixel.

Although, Google Home is more of a personal assistant due to the software being smarter in terms of learning about its users to improve use and is good at answering questions.

Another similarity is that Google Assistant works with many smart home systems that the Echo uses.

The only main difference between the Home and Home Mini is that they are of different size of sound quality.

Is Google Assistant better than Alexa?

When I have used Google Assistant, I always get an answer wherever I go.

Also, when using Google assistant with smart home devices, I also noticed that Google Home worked quicker when it came to voicing commands for the lights.

However, Google assistant did slightly lack when it came to working with music, with Alexa responding faster when it came to suggesting songs or radio stations.

Alexa in comparison to Google Assistant is the use of the Alexa App, which I find very useful when I need to add a .

Smart Home Conclusion

It is clear that there are a few Smart technology on the market, with various uses.

New Smart Technology is always being made, which will be available in the future.

I hope that many of these new Smart Technologies will benefit more independent lifestyles.

There needs to be more Smart Technology available being advertise to disabled people.

“Alexa, upload this blog!”

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What is your experience?