As more and more women work from home, it makes sense to make it a place where you feel inspired and relaxed. Today I am going to tell you a little bit about the latest technology I use in my home – the technology transforming the way I live in 2014.
1. XBox One
I’m not much of a gamer, but I’ve found that the XBox One is much more than just a gaming console (AU$598). The XBox One connects with the TV, and it’s opened a whole new world for me through the internet. I was previously limited to video sessions on my notebook, but now I can watch Ted Talks with my partner or entertain guests with my personal YouTube playlist streamed onto my TV.
With its built-in camera and motion tracker, Kinect, it recognises me and welcomes me by name. Voice and gesture recognition make it a breeze to control the XBox One while I’m flopped on the couch after work and completely out of energy. It also helps keep me fit and healthy–there’s a free XBox Fitness app that provides me with instant feedback, precision tracking on my workout, and even measures my heart rate.
But my favourite feature has to be it’s connectivity with Skype. It helps me stay connected to my family, who don’t live in the same city. With the XBox One connected to my TV, they can see the entire house while I am walking around. The Kinect’s sensor follows me, zooming in and out. It’s as if I have a personal camera crew in my home!
2. Sonos – Wireless music system
Life is good when you’re surrounded with good music, but it’s even better if crisp, clean music literally surrounds you from every part of your home. My Sonos speakers link to my home wireless network via bridge, give me audio anywhere within range of the wireless router.
I started with Sonos Play 1, the smallest speaker within the range though powerful enough to fill my big lounge room with good quality music ($AU299 + free bridge). As everything connects wirelessly you can build the sound system gradually by upgrading more rooms in time. Once you have added extra speakers you can then group them into “rooms” to play the same music or program simultaneously from two speakers in a room for stereo. I usually access music online (Pandora, Spotify, iTunes etc), stream hundreds of free radio stations (check Tunein) or play music from my own library, computer or phone. Unfortunately it doesn’t connect to YouTube. With the controller app for a mobile phone I can now change the music without leaving my bed or, uh, bath. (As Sonos play 1 features humidity resistance, it makes it suitable for use even in bathrooms!)
3. StickR TrackR – Find Lost Items
I don’t know about you, but I’m always losing things around the house. My purse, my wallet, my phone… and let’s not even talk about the remote controls. The StickR TrackR is made for these situations. It connects to your phone using Bluetooth, and as long as it’s in range, the app will tell you just how close the TrackR is. It comes with a double-sided sticker and a loop of string, so you can attach it to most things. Mine sits in my purse, and it’s already saved me time a few times–I’ll wander around my apartment, phone in hand, playing a game of Hot and Cold as the app tells me I’m far, getting closer, close. It’s much better than spending half an hour tearing up my place and wondering where on earth I put my purse last night.
The other thing I like is that I can press the button on the TrackR, and my phone will ring. So if I have my purse but not my phone, it works the other way as well! (Editor’s note: This does not work with Android phones.) The TrackR, or your phone, can only be “called” from Bluetooth range. Once disconnected, I can’t ring the tracker. The app does, however, have a GPS locater which identifies the last place your phone was connected to the TrackR. Also note that if you use Android with a version less than 4.4, the app may be unstable, and can only connect to one StickR TrackR at a time.
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Kasia is the founder of Leaders in Heels. The XBox One was provided courtesy of the Microsoft Connection Program, and the StickR TrackR courtesy of Phone Halo.