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Technology Trends For 2019

Apple Watch

Apple launched Apple Watch Series 4 the fall of 2018, and it may be a game changer for those of us who want to continue to live independently as long as possible.  The watch features a fall detector, and according to the press release,

“Fall detection utilizes a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures up to 32 g-forces, along with custom algorithms to identify when hard falls occur. By analyzing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration, Apple Watch sends the user an alert after a fall, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services. If Apple Watch senses immobility for 60 seconds after the notification, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with location to emergency contacts.”

The watch also features an electrocardiogram (ECG) which can monitor for Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, irregular heartbeat, and notify you if it occurs.  The watch may also be set to tell you if your heart rate exceeds, or falls below, a certain level.

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With a third party application called Dexcom, the Apple Watch will continuously monitor your glucose levels to help you track/check your diabetes.

The Apple watch performs other duties which are “old hat” to us by now – acts as a cellphone, runs your calendar and to-do list, as well as running Siri.  Oh, and yes, the Apple Watch does tell time.

WiFi Extenders

Do you notice that there are areas of your home where you don’t get good WiFi reception?  Perhaps you’re using your iPad in the far corner of your dank basement while you list those rare figurines that you want to sell on LetGo.  The WiFi in that corner is a bit spotty and you’re getting frustrated that you can’t quickly upload the shepherdess statue photo and move on to the shepherd. It sounds like you may need a WiFi extender in your house.

WiFi extenders do just what you imagine they’d do.  They expand WiFi coverage to all areas of your home.  They’re relatively simple little gadgets, costing around $60-$150, and just plug into an electrical outlet. They relay the wireless signal from your router to your laptop or tablet.  What you gain in coverage throughout your home will give you a slightly slower signal through the extender.

Video Doorbells

We touched on video doorbells earlier in mentioning AI assistants, and we’ll cover them in more detail in our home security chapter.  For now, we’ll just say that these are really gaining in popularity.  There are many different types on the market.  One type is hardwired into the house’s electrical system like a regular doorbell, while others run on batteries and WiFi.  The premise is the same.  You’re able to answer your doorbell virtually, regardless of where you are, and you can see who is at the door. Most models feature a camera that begins recording after sensing motion, so you’ll see who is on your front porch, even if they choose not to ring the bell.

A variation on video doorbells, is a smart door with a lock that you’re able to disengage remotely.  If you see through your video doorbell that it’s an Amazon delivery, you can unlock your door to allow them to leave your package in the house.  Likewise, if it’s your dog-walker, you can let them in to take Rover out for a walk.

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