Freelance Journalist, Author, Consultant and Host of “Tech Impact”
As people have been more confined to their homes this year, interest in smart homes has increased and the technology is adapting to our new normal.
“At the start of COVID we were already on a path towards a smarter home that adds convenience and cost, but it was embraced even more so,” said Marc Saltzman, a freelance journalist who has been reviewing consumer electronics for over 25 years. “Adding smart tech to your home can enhance your productivity, it can shave money off your monthly utility bills, and it can add some conveniences like hands-free interactions, schedules, and timers.”
Smart tech is now adapting to address the needs posed by COVID-19. “The biggest difference would be more touchless technology,” Saltzman said. “I’ve had readers of my column write to me and say, ‘I want to use my voice rather than touch my phone.’ People like more touchless technology, using your face to log in instead of your fingerprint, just to avoid the possible spread of coronavirus on surfaces.”
One piece of touchless home tech is smart faucets. “They have a sensor built in like a restaurant or bar would, where you wave your hand underneath to start the flow of water, but it goes above and beyond that. You can use your voice to start the flow of water. It works with Google and Alexa, so if you say something like ‘wash my hands,’ it will give you lukewarm water for 20 seconds and then turn itself off.”
While the technology continues to innovate, Saltzman said that the foundation of any smart home remains one of the most basic and overlooked: strong WiFi. “Without that infrastructure, you’re going to have a bad experience across the board,” he said. “Whether you’re streaming Netflix or working remotely or schooling remotely, you need strong WiFi.”