Improving Independence for People with Disabilities with Smart Home Technology

By Allison Halliday | August 29, 2017

An article in Optometry Times highlights how smart home technology can help people who are visually impaired, pointing out that the latest mainstream technology includes accessibility features that are built-in from the start.

technology lifestyle concept: hipster on the sofa with home automation control app

This newer technology doesn’t exclude people who have disabilities and the most popular items purchased last year included smart home devices such as Google Home smart speakers and Amazon Echo. As well as playing music, the smart speakers are voice-activated and can be used as a personal assistant, enabling users to search the Internet, set alarms, make lists, control devices and play audiobooks. For most people, these functions are merely fun and entertaining, but for people who have limited vision or other disabilities or who are elderly, smart home technology can mean much more, increasing independence within the home.

As with any type of technology, it takes time for it to catch on and not surprisingly it’s people living in urban areas and millennials who have been quickest to adapt. However, many stores now have smart home devices and by 2020 it’s estimated there will be more than 26 billion connected devices.

The idea of having a smart home isn’t new as the article points out that fall detection devices for seniors began to come into use as early as the late 1990s to early 2000s. Homes incorporating smart home technology can have devices that improve energy efficiency such as programmable thermostats or automatic blinds or they can be made safer with the use of security systems. These devices can include cameras and some have technology that can help the elderly or anyone unsteady on their feet by detecting a fall. Home surroundings can be enhanced with lighting or music and it’s even possible to change the color of indoor lighting based on the weather. Smart home assistants provide convenience and can track supplies letting the homeowner know when something needs to be replaced. Shopping lists can easily be created by voice. Smart home technology allows users to control the TV and to play music.

Most times setting up these devices is simple which is ideal for anybody with a disability or who doesn’t have much technological know-how. Several stores also offer to come and set up these devices for a fee.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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