While smart home gadgets can undoubtedly make your life easier, developers are now installing touchless tech, such as smart door locks, as a precaution against COVID-19.
Dan Kodsi, the developer of high-end Miami development Paramount Wordcenter, said the pandemic has put the focus on integrating touchless technology into buildings.
“A lot of technology we already deploy is touchless and keyless,” he told Forbes. “Touchless is inevitably going to become the new normal.”
If you’re considering selling your home, touch-free smart locks and video doorbells may also make it easier to grant access to realtors and prospective buyers, without ever needing to risk physical contact.
Here’s how to make your home as touch free as possible:
Kill the key with a smart door lock
Rather than digging for keys, using an app can make getting into your home far easier and quicker.
Dozens of companies now offer smart door locks that are controlled via an app. With many of them, you can even control access with your voice using virtual assistants such as the Amazon Alexa®.
It’s also possible, with many models, to send electronic keys to friends and guests when they visit. These keys can be timed to stop working once they leave, giving you peace of mind.
Most of these smart locks can be fitted easily and simply attach over the existing lock mechanism you have using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to communicate with your phone. Many brands, like SimpliSafe™ and Amazon Ring®, can also be integrated into a home security system.
Dodge the doorbell with a smart camera
Answering the door in the time of COVID-19 can be stressful, but luckily there’s a technological solution. Smart doorbells let you see who’s at the door instantly, and even chat with them through your smartphone.
They’ll work from anywhere in the world, but also anywhere in your house, and many models will send a live picture to your smart TV or phone.
Combining them with a smart lock means you can even let people in – all without coming anywhere near them, or even being in the same room.
Get rid of the garage opener with an app
Even the garage door is being swept up in the technological revolution. Companies such as MyQ® offer smart garage door openers that can control your existing mechanism, allowing you to open and close the door from anywhere in the world (or just the end of the driveway) using an app.
What’s more, garages are increasingly becoming a safe space for delivery staff to drop off packages. Some models even integrate directly with your Amazon account, letting couriers open your door when they arrive to leave packages safely inside, using a feature called Amazon Key®.
Avoid the switch with smart lighting
While the days of the clapper are behind us, using the latest generation of smart lights means you’ll never have to fumble for a light switch again.
You’ll be able to use an app to switch on light, or if that sounds a little awkward, even your voice – most systems will integrate with a virtual assistant such as Google or Amazon. One thing to check is that your lighting is compatible with the virtual assistant you use, as not all bulbs work with all systems.
With most virtual assistants, you’ll even be able to remotely operate your lights and set timers so it appears you are home even if you’re away. You can also set routines, so that the house lights up whenever you return home, and switches everything off as you retire to bed for the night.
Dump the TV remote with an app or a smart speaker
Lastly, it’s time to ditch that grubby TV remote control. If you’ve purchased a flat-screen television in the last few years, chances are it’s a smart TV. Most have an app that will let you avoid using the remote entirely.
Most smart TVs integrate with a virtual assistant, so you can turn on your TV or change channels using your voice – a particularly useful feature when you inevitably lose the remote down the back of the sofa, so it’s useful long after COVID-19 is a distant memory.
To see if your TV is compatible, check the manufacturer’s website.