Modern homes and developments, such as Ancoats Gardens in Manchester, are now full of a variety of modern technological devices and appliances, so it is worth pausing to take stock of how these devices have changed the way we all interact with this technology in our homes and what difference they have made. Many may find it surprising how much of this modern technology they really have in their homes as it builds up gradually over time.
Smart televisions, tablets, virtual assistants, smart meters, CCTV, smart locks, smart glass, and a growing array of sensors are just some of the technologies that live alongside us in our homes.
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Broadband Internet Connection
The archaic dial-up connections are now a distant memory in the rear-view mirror, at least for most people, thanks to high-speed broadband internet connectivity. A multitude of devices and people living in the same house can now stream movies or music on several platforms, surf the internet for gift ideas, make Zoom video calls, and download hefty files all with a few clicks of the mouse.
Broadband is an enabler technology that has paved the way for other useful technologies in the home to be viable. This gateway technology is reliable and fast; it allows for smooth and effective use of many other technologies that rely on its speed and capabilities to function
Smart, or Connected Televisions
These days, it’s hard to find a home that does not have a smart TV. Indeed, go to any large electrical retail store and see how many older-style TVs are available for sale. As a corollary, see how many modern homes still have DVD and video players as a result. And of the ones that do, how many are used?
Of course, smart TVs are not just TVs in the traditional sense; they are also devices for streaming programmes and music. You can even use your TV to browse the internet, watch YouTube, or connect to your phone and do Zoom calls with family and friends
By looking at the Ofcom figures, we can gauge how much and how fast the smart TYV has entered our homes in the UK by looking at the 2012 figures: in 2012 there were only 5% of UK homes that had one. By 2017, it was nearly half of all homes. In 2021, it was closer to 70%.
Gaming Devices and Streaming
I remember the days of Atari and the Commodore 64, when games were simple. I remember getting excited when my parents “upgraded” my tape deck to a floppy disk for faster game loading. It was quite frustrating to load a game on the computer with a tape deck only to have it crash halfway through and need to start again.
Today’s consoles and PCs are a different kettle of fish altogether; Star Trek level technology compared to what I used as a kid. Not only are the graphics and sound quality a million times better, but you can also now test your gaming skills and strategies by playing other players from all around the world in real time.
Furthermore, e-sports are now very popular, and the top players can earn eye-watering levels of prize money. Take the teenager who won $3 million dollars, for example, by playing the popular game Fortnite.
Smart metres are more than just a useful device that helps homeowners gain much more control over their energy use and, with real-time information about their energy use, they also play an important role in helping homeowners and renters reduce their energy use and cut waste. This will help consumers reduce their bills and play a part in reducing CO2 emissions.
Streaming from the Web
No need to traipse down to the video store and mull over what VHS and then DVD video to rent, and then discover that all the copies of the movie you want are currently out. Remember those days? Those days are truly well and gone. Although… it was nice to bump into friends and colleagues sometimes while browsing and having a good chat about the latest episode of Star Trek Voyager. Yup, I’m showing my age now.
From a smart TV, tablet, or mobile phone, you can stream a range of media without any hassle. There are many streaming platforms available for a monthly fee that is equivalent of renting about two DVDs in the good old days. That’s right, for what we used to pay to rent two or three DVDs, you can now get a month’s unlimited streaming.
Virtual assistants are growing in popularity. These “techno helper” wizards are useful pieces of kit that react to voice commands and carry out some basic tasks on our behalf. “Alexa, play some Herbie Hancock jazz music please” and the faithful assistant jumps into action.
And of course, they aren’t just about playing a spot of jazz from time-to-time. In fact, they can connect with and control over 30,000 different devices and appliances, ranging from our Smart TVs to controlling our home temperatures via the smart metre app.
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