Get Smart

Reprinted from PN May 2016

The growing trend of smarter and more efficient technology for the home is allowing people with mobility issues to enjoy more convenience and comfort

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Rather than rolling around the house to shut the shades, turn off the lights and lock the door when it’s time to go to sleep, how convenient would it be to just push one button from one location to do all that and more?

That’s exactly the type of convenience and control offered by what’s called “smart home technology.” The basic idea behind this ever-growing field of technology is to put control of an entire house right at your fingertips at any time from any place.

Smart home technology isn’t new. There are plenty of devices currently available at your local electronics store that work with a specific remote or a smartphone application (app) to control a particular item in your home, such as the thermostat or lights.

The Harmony Hub allows your TV to communicate with various smart home devises in your house. Photo courtesy of Logitech.

The difference now is that smart technology is being expanded to control even more things in the house. These smart items are part of what’s called “The Internet of Things (IOT).” The IOT is the network of the estimated more than 270,000 electronic objects such as TVs, cars and appliances that can talk with each other.

Smart home electronics are a big part of the IOT and that was easy to see during this year’s annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. There were roughly 90 companies among the event’s estimated 50 football fields of exhibition space showing smart home electronics.

From large systems that control almost anything in your home to devices that only function with specific things, CES offered smart home technology to fit virtually every need and budget.

Give Your Home A “Hug”

There are many smart home devices available, but sometimes it can be confusing to figure out which device or app controls what object. A French startup company may have solved that issue.

Sevenhugs’ Smart Remote is promising to let you control your lights, stereo, thermostat and other connected devices by just pointing the small, pill-shaped device at it. The remote recognizes at which type of device you’re pointing it and lights up with simple, straightforward commands to control only that device.

Point the Smart Remote at a lamp, and a light bulb icon appears on the remote screen that you tap to turn on. Point it at your stereo, and controls appear that allow you to turn up the volume by sliding your finger up the screen. You can even point the Smart Remote at the window to get the weather.

The Smart Remote comes with three connected light sockets that can be screwed on top of any lamp, with the bulb being screwed into the provided socket. The remote is currently compatible with Philips Hue lights, Sonos speakers and the Nest Learning Thermostat. More connected items should become available, as Sevenhugs says it’s providing the remote as an open-source technology. This allows other companies and developers to access the technology free of charge and incorporate it into their devices.

“It’s not only about creating a remote, it’s about merging the technologies that make the user experience for a smart home much, much simpler and easier,” says Louise Plaquevent, a growth marketing and communications manager at Sevenhugs.

The Smart Remote and the three light sockets cost under $200. Shipping is expected to start in September.

For more information, visit


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