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Do I Hear an Echo? Smart Home Devices Can Make Life Safer and Easier

January 29, 2021

by Alan Blitz

There is no better time than a pandemic to explore how technology can help make your life easier.

During the seminar, “Technology for Your Home and Lifestyle,” instructor Lee Huber looks for an “aha” moment among his learners.  “It’s kind of a twinkle in the eye,” he explained, “when the learner senses how technology can improve their lives.”  

Take advantage of the next opportunity to attend Lee’s “Technology for Your Home and Lifestyle” seminar being presented on-site at North Shore Senior Center on Monday, February 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. Registration is required. 

By attending the seminar, you will learn how technology will influence your home and lifestyle in the years to come.  In addition, you will find out about L.E.D. lighting colors, wireless thermostats, heating vents, front door locks and much more. What is a Smart TV and how do you stream videos through Netflix, Roku or Chromecast? Learn more about how to incorporate technology safely and at your own pace.

Start Small and Build Your Technology “Hub”

Lee believes technology itself is not intuitive. “As we get older, we are less patient. Shutting down while adapting to change is a normal response.”

Recently retired, Lee’s passion is helping seniors avoid “shut down” and, instead, adopt technology for safety and convenience. A self-described “tinkerer,” he is known as the “Tech-Medic,” making house calls and presenting seminars in the north and northwest suburbs. 

Maureen Joyce, a recent seminar attendee, proudly announced to fellow attendees she purchased her first smart phone in November 2019.  “I’m seeing the benefits of my new android phone and taking baby steps,” she said. 

She will take Lee’s advice and set up the core elements of a smart home device hub system.  Her cable company will install the “hub” consisting of an Internet router and Wi-Fi network. Maureen will then connect from the Wi-Fi network to her android phone.  The next step is installing the Amazon ECHO (‘Hello, Alexa’—sound familiar?) or Google Home automated system for remote (and voice) control of devices in the home.

“Start with pairing (connecting) Amazon Echo or Google Home to one device, such as turning on the lights or having music go live when you arrive at home,” Lee explained.  “Over time you can pair the Amazon Echo or Google Home to other functions such as doorbells for video monitoring, door locks, security video systems, thermostats, water heater sensors and garage door openers.  

“Your smart phone will easily enable you to monitor and manage all of these functions when you are away from home,” he added. 

One thing at a time!  Dorothy Schmidt loves her ECHO System which reminds her to wake up after naps and plays her favorite music. She announces commands such as “Alexa, play oldies music, grocery list set up.”  

As Lee had hoped, the seminar served as Dorothy’s “call to action . . . that twinkle in the eye moment.”  She is committed to expanding her use of Echo Home in making life safer and easier for her around the house.