When it comes to technology in our home and office, Geoffrey generally takes the reins. He's the first to order the next "life-saving" device, download that new time-saving app, and purchase cutting edge products for a "smarter" home. The good news is that I reap the benefits. Once I've transitioned to the new product—which I eventually do—I can barely remember how I lived without it. We use a variety of apps and devices to help us stay comfortable at home, save money, manage workflow, and have peace of mind when it comes to Sloan. Here are five ways we use technology to streamline our home and office:
1. Try Google Home as a central hub for a home or office.
When Geoffrey suggested we get a Google Home, available from the Google Store, for the office, I wasn’t sure how often we’d end up using the voice-activated speaker, but turns out we use Google Home all the time. You can ask it pretty much anything you’d type into search or give it commands to help manage your day. Want to know when you should leave for the airport, just ask, "OK Google, is my flight on time?" Curious about a trivia answer, just ask, "Ok Google, how far away is the moon?" (FYI, it's 238,900 miles from Earth) and the list goes on. It also connects with your calendar so you add appointments just by talking and you can now make calls over VOIP. It’s also impressive how, for such a tiny device, it’s able to produce a sound sufficient enough to fill our larger office.
2. Upgrade your network with faster Wifi.
When we moved into our office, which is three stories versus a flat loft, we realized that our cable company router wasn't going to be sufficient for dispersing wifi throughout the entire space. Google Wifi solves that problem with a simple device, available from Google Store, that provides incredibly fast, mesh coverage and looks good doing it (which is important since we have zero closet space and virtually no cabinets).
3. Use technology like Gsuite to make it easier to work from anywhere.
A million things have changed since I started this blog, but one of the most notable has been how easy it is to work from anywhere. While I'm still partial to hand-written lists, I love the convenience and flexibility of using cloud-based services. Our company backend is powered by GSuite (Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Drive) which allows us to access, share, and manage our daily work from anywhere and on any device.
4. Use a Nest thermostat that learns your routine.
When we first moved into our home, our electricity bills were out of control. It's an old house (over 100 years) that wastes a lot of power. In looking for a solution, we came across the Nest thermostat which learned our temperature patterns and began making adjustments to our usage. Within a couple of months, we saw an immediate impact on our bill, decreasing our electricity costs by almost 20%. The savings easily surpassed the cost of the thermostat and it took minutes to install. My favorite feature is having the ability to control the temperature from their app. If we're traveling home on a hot day and want to get the house cooled for our return, a few clicks and everything is set.
5. Invest in a Nest Cam to create peace of mind in your home.
We purchased a Nest Cam when Sloan was born, but we would have gotten it years earlier had I known the peace of mind it provides whether you have a child, a pet, or just want to be able to check in on your home. And as a working mom, I love that I can log into the app on my phone or computer any time of day to see what she's up to. One of the best features is the cloud recording, which allows you to rewind and save clips. The first time Sloan ever crawled, I was in the room with her but Geoffrey missed the moment. When he got home, we re-wound the Nest so he could watch it, then saved the video to keep the memory forever (and yes, I look certifiably nuts waving my arms around and shrieking with excitement). It shoots in hi-def and has an infrared feature and for those times when Sloan needs a little reinforcement at night, we can also talk through the speaker via our phone, which offers her just enough solace to fall back asleep.
Google Store's full suite of products has been incredibly helpful in helping us manage our own home—I'd love to hear your own stories on #HowToHome! Join me today for a live Twitter chat on @GoogleStore, starting at 10 AM PST.