When people consider smart technology, they often envisage the glamour, gadgets and entertainment a smart home can deliver. And yes, these things are indeed drawcards of the smart home, and they certainly contribute to its increasing popularity.
However, at its heart an automated home is not about glitz and gadgetry. Its true and ultimate focus is convenience, efficiency, and intuitive living.
It’s here in this focus and ethos that the smart home has the potential to transform lives, particularly the lives of those living with a disability.
At Lera Smart Home Solutions, we recently sat down to really nut out how our smart technology could assist people with disabilities. We are also working with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to build upon and further develop these themes.
But for now, here’s a quick insight into just some of the ways the smart home can assist people living with a disability.
Disabilities in Australia
According to the NDIS, there are currently 4.3 million Australians who have a disability, and for many, simple everyday tasks can be a challenge.
But it’s in these simple, everyday tasks that smart technology has the opportunity to assist. Here are just some examples of how…
Getting around the home with ease is something most of us take for granted, but when you rely on a wheelchair or walking aids to navigate your environment, simple tasks get a whole lot more challenging.
Smart home technology has a wealth of potential to assist, ranging from voice activation to sensors and pure automation.
Voice activation allows home occupants to control one or numerous parts of their house using simple voice command. That means you can turn on the lights, unlock the door, switch on music or turn on the oven without lifting a finger.
For those with mobility issues, voice activation allows them control of their environment without having to physically undertake the task.
Sensors allow actions to occur as a response. For example, lights might come on when someone enters a room, or they might activate in response to diminishing ambient light.
For someone with mobility issues, they can shortcut a whole hosts of tasks, like turning on the bathroom light in the middle of the night, or switching on the air-conditioning when the temperature inside a home reaches 27 degrees.
True smart home automation brings together a whole host of features under one simple umbrella. In effect, it means you can program a home to respond to various scenarios in the way you wish.
For example, the morning alarm may sound, which triggers the coffee machine to switch on and the bedroom blinds to roll up. Meanwhile, your schedule for the day might be read to you via speaker.
Alternatively, as your home senses you are nearby using geofencing, it also understands it’s night, so the door might unlock as you approach, the lights inside may switch on and the heating kicks in.
George uses a wheelchair to get around his home. On Monday morning, he’s busy at his computer when the smart doorbell rings. He checks the smart home app on his tablet, smart phone or computer, and sees via the live doorway camera it’s his carer who has arrived for their scheduled appointment.
George uses voice command or the app to unlock the front door and grant his carer entry, safely and securely answering the door without having to physically answer it.
Hearing and sight issues
When one sense is diminished, others play a more important role. For example, people with sight issues, will depend more on auditory cues, while people with hearing issues will be more reliant on visual aids and in the smart home this can be utilised to its strengths.
If a person is hard of hearing or cannot hear at all for example, smart lighting can be used to alert them to events.
Rather than a doorbell sounding, strip lighting in the smart home might activate, alerting them there is someone at the door.
This lighting might have different colours for different scenarios, and could also be used to alert them to an emergency situation. So, say a fire alarm activates, strip lighting can turn on and flash to alert someone with hearing issues there’s danger can then help guide them via the best route from the home.
In the case of sight issues, audible alarms can be used. Some might be verbal, telling a person what’s occurring or others can just sound an alarm.
In the case of the doorbell, the smart intercom allows a person with sight issues to speak with the guest at the door, then grant them access using voice command.
Meanwhile as technology improves, it becomes more refined. In the very near future it’s plausible that facial recognition will allow the smart doorbell to recognise the guest and announce that Steph the carer has arrived, or Lou, your sister is here.
Peace of mind
While smart home technology might offer the person with disabilities independence, it also allows their family peace of mind.
Family members can be alerted to an emergency when the home occupant uses voice command, meanwhile sensors and automated alarms can also immediately alert a family member that something is wrong.
This too is technology that is rapidly evolving. Already wearable technology has the capability of calling emergency services or family members if it senses someone has fallen or they are not responding.
The NDIS is currently being implemented throughout Australia, and many smart home products have the potential to be included as consumables in this scheme in a bid to allow people with disabilities greater independence in their own homes.
Lera Smart home Solutions is proud to be NDIS approved. For more information about the NDIS, see here. Or you can learn more about Lera and the smart home products scenarios we believe may assist those with disabilities here.
About Lera Smart Home Solutions
Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.
We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs.