Smart Tech: Beyond the Smart Home

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I’m a tech geek, and while most of the time I talk about how smart homes are awesome, I actually follow all types of news about technology advancements. I was browsing the Internet recently, and saw a few things that got me thinking about how smart tech is being used beyond the smart home. Here are a few of the things I found that I thought were the most exciting and interesting.

Master Smart Locks

OK, so I’m about 15 years old, in my high school hallway, frantically trying to remember what my locker combination is. It’s the first week of school and I haven’t committed the combination to memory yet. Worse, I took a bathroom break between classes and now I’m going to be late. I had planned it perfectly, with enough time to use the bathroom, stop at my locker to switch books, then get to class. I just didn’t factor I forgetting my combination. Maybe I should just go home?

Fast forward to today. I’m at the gym and I just finished a rough workout. I can barely concentrate on anything because I need a shower and some food. I can barely raise my arms to hold the lock on my locker, and as soon as it’s in my hands, I realize that I can’t remember the combination. Maybe I should just get a lock that uses a key.

Both of those scenarios are soon to be things of the past. Master locks are introducing smart padlocks, which will work using a Bluetooth connection. You can open and close the lock, or even change the combination, using the device’s app. Like smart locks for the home, you can also temporarily grant other people access to the lock, and record all times the lock has been opened or closed. If you can’t open the lock using a Bluetooth connection, you’ll be able to manually lock or unlock your padlock using an emergency access feature.

Smart Benches

I’ve heard of benches that are using technology to offer solar panel charging stations – and I think those are awesome – but one company is taking the idea of the smart bench even further. Canavisia, an Italian company, is making benches that have can have a big impact on city development. The benches they make have a WiFi hotspot, which allows anyone with a compatible device to become part of a “smart community.” The connection will let you access the information that the bench has stored, from weather information to pollution levels. The benches use built-in sensors to collect the data. While that information, along with the built-in speakers, is convenient, the benches collect quantifiable data like pedestrian traffic that can be used to make development decisions, and that can help cities build reports to sell advertising real estate. The speakers can also be used to send out public service announcements.

Now, of course these would raise a lot of questions about privacy, and the concept means we’ll have even more digital distractions when we’re out in nature, but just in theory, smart benches are a cool idea.

What do you think about smart benches? What would you want the ones in your neighborhood to do?

Photo from: Canavisia

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Jeff is a tinkerer. He loves gadgets, but usually waits until the reviews are out before buying something. He loves the DIY projects, and loves help setting things up too. Some of his favorite products and services may not be the most well known, but he loves his custom solution.

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