Tech is constantly evolving, which can lead to frustration if you don’t know how to get the most out of it. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to make tech more helpful.
For example, you can tap the search bar on your smartphone and find something quickly. Or you can save an attachment straight from an email to your Drive.
1. Upgrade your Wi-Fi
If you have a smartphone or a laptop, you probably spend a lot of time connected to Wi-Fi. That’s because Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that lets you connect devices to the internet without any wires. It works by transmitting radio waves from the router or modem through a Wi-Fi network to your devices.
Your broadband provider will likely have provided you with a router that is compatible with Wi-Fi. If it isn’t, it may be time to upgrade your home network so that you can enjoy the full benefits of Wi-Fi.
A WiFi network uses three frequency bands to deliver traffic from routers to devices. The two primary bands are 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The former is generally faster and less likely to suffer from interference than the latter.
To boost your connection speeds, try switching your WiFi router to a 5 GHz channel. This should help reduce interference caused by data packets traveling on neighboring 2.4 GHz channels.
Another good option is to invest in a mesh system, which is made up of multiple routers that are placed throughout your home to spread the Wi-Fi signal. These systems are particularly useful in larger homes or offices, where there isn’t enough room for a single Wi-Fi network.
If you’re interested in upgrading your WiFi network, the first thing you need to do is decide what you need from it. This will depend on the type of device you want to use with it and what type of connections you’re looking for.
If you’re not sure, you can check with your provider to find out if there are any limits on the data that can be sent through your home Wi-Fi network. Some ISPs limit the amount of data you can send through your WiFi so that they don’t end up spending money on rerouting or paying out fines for excess usage.
2. Switch to a smart thermostat
If you’re looking for a simple way to cut your energy bills and save time, then smart thermostats are the perfect solution. These devices allow you to control your home temperature from anywhere with an internet connection, and they can also help you automate routines for when you’re away from home or when you have visitors.
One of the most popular brands is Nest, which offers a user-friendly app and touchscreen display that can be controlled through voice commands. However, you might want to check out other models if you’re on a budget or need a device that works with a virtual assistant like Alexa or Google Home.
Another thing to keep in mind is that smart thermostats need a continuous supply of electricity. You’ll need to contact an electrician to determine if your house has the wiring to supply it with enough power.
Once you’ve determined if your home can support it, you can go ahead and install a smart thermostat. The process is relatively easy, but you’ll need to do a bit of research and reading about the model you choose.
You’ll also need to make sure that the Wi-Fi connection is strong. If it isn’t, you could experience problems with the device’s functions.
Ultimately, though, it’s worth it for the savings you’ll see over time. You’ll also be able to track your energy consumption and get insight into where you can improve.
You can also find some rebates or discounts on smart thermostats through your local energy provider. Depending on your location, you may even be eligible for government incentives to help you pay for your new device.
3. Go wireless
Aside from the obvious mobile and fixed wireless connections, there is a whole new world of wireless options waiting to be unlocked. Fortunately, for both business and personal users alike, the right tools and the right people are all you need to reap the rewards. Getting the right mix of technology is a science in itself, but if you take the time to learn what you need to know, you will be all set for the next millennium.
4. Invest in a smart light bulb
If you want to add a bit of smart home technology to your home, then smart light bulbs are a great place to start. They’re easy to use, inexpensive, and come with a ton of useful features.
If your goal is to cut down on energy consumption in your home, then you’ll need to look for LED light bulbs that work with timers and dimmers. These bulbs are about 90% more efficient than regular incandescent lights, which will save you money over the long run.
The most common way to control your smart bulbs is with a hub or bridge, which connects the bulb to the Internet. This lets you set up routines to turn your lights on and off automatically at a particular time of day, change the color, or tune the brightness.
Some smart lights can also be controlled via voice commands through a voice assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant. This can be really handy if you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night or you just don’t feel like walking to the living room when it’s time to turn the lights off.
There are many different smart lighting systems on the market, so it’s important to do your research and choose a system that works well with the other products you already own in your home. The main ecosystems to look out for are Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.
Philips Hue is the best-known brand for smart light bulbs, but there are also some great options from other companies. Lifx, for example, is one of the most popular and offers a best-in-class integration with IFTTT, which allows you to trigger customized fades with just a voice command. And Sengled’s Classic Smart Wi-Fi Multicolor Bulb is a solid option that offers the lowest price per bulb we’ve seen for full-color smart lighting.
5. Get a smart speaker
Smart speakers are a great way to get more out of your home without having to worry about using a computer or smartphone. They let you search the internet, make lists or reminders, play music, and control a wide range of smart home devices like lights, locks and thermostats.
These speakers usually work with a digital assistant, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Siri. These assistants can provide a variety of services, including weather forecasts, news, movie information and even scheduling appointments.
Most smart speakers also feature built-in voice recognition technology, which allows them to respond to your commands and interact with other devices and apps. It’s important to choose a speaker that works well with your phone’s operating system so you can use it easily.
The key is finding a smart speaker that offers good voice control and decent audio output. This is especially important for those who want a smart speaker that can be used in multiple rooms.
If you’re looking for a quality smart speaker that has superior sound, the Sonos One is one of the best options around. It’s compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, has support for Spotify and Tidal, and works with AirPlay 2.
You can also get a more affordable option with the Amazon Echo Gen 4. It’s a little less expensive than the Echo Studio, but it does a better job of understanding your commands and has a built-in Zigbee smart hub to allow you to control other smart home devices from your speaker.
There are also a number of other smart speakers on the market, including the Lenovo Smart Clock and the Lenovo Balance. Both of these speakers are small and light, making them a great option for anyone who wants a smart speaker that’s easy to carry.