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Empowering People with Disabilities using HomeKit and Siri


Empowering People with Disabilities using HomeKit and Siri

I’m excited to share this blog with you, I’ve waited several months to be able to bring this together. The reason it took so long is because I needed two pieces of the Smart Home jigsaw to complete the puzzle. Both jigsaw pieces came from Apple and they’ve been around for a while but they’ve taken time to get to fit together; Siri and Apple HomeKit.

Apple are no strangers to Assistive Technology and since 2013 have offered Switch Control on Apple mobile and desktop devices. Switch Control helps you enter text, choose menus, move your pointer, and other functions all by clicking a switch. You can use a keyboard key, mouse button, trackpad button, joystick, or adaptive device as one or more switches.

Siri has been a well used resource for all Apple device users to set timers, call contacts, send messages and ask questions. It may have its critics, which voice assistant doesn’t, but as a personal voice gateway Siri handles everyday requests with ease.

HomeKit is a framework, developed by Apple, for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in your home. You can discover HomeKit accessories in your home and configure them, or you can create actions to control those devices. You can group actions together and trigger them using Siri and the Apple Home app.

For many people reading this blog post, the concept of using voice control to lower blinds, lock doors or turn off lights may seem like a nice to have or a luxury convenience. For a person with disabilities the combination of HomeKit and Siri is independence. The use of voice control for managing your home is empowerment.

One short voice command to your phone may set up the whole home for your arrival. For example, “Hey Siri, I’m Home” could first open the garage door, then turn on the hallway, kitchen and living room lights, then disarm the alarm system and finally unlock the front door. The automation options with Siri and HomeKit are a game changer for people living with disabilities.

We are still in the early days of HomeKit but there are currently around 50 devices which are compatible and they cover many of your homes requirements. There is an exciting range of innovative products controlling lighting, heating, security, electrical and entertainment services in your home and there is a steady stream of new connected devices being released for the HomeKit platform every month.

Customised have been working closely with the Works With Apple HomeKit range of products since their release and have put together several quick to install and easy to use Smart Home packages for any homeowner to start living with voice control of their home. We’d really like to show you how Siri and HomeKit is able to completely change how you operate and function in your home.

Customised are South Norfolk based Smart Home experts.

01508 528964


What’s Possible With A CEDIA Professional? #IAMCEDIA

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What’s Possible With A CEDIA Professional? #IAMCEDIA

This headline caught my eye whilst searching on the website recently. 

What’s Possible With A CEDIA Professional? 

It’s been stuck in my head for a couple of days and inspired this blog because I don’t think home owners fully know what is possible when you work with a CEDIA home technologist.

Bringing the latest technology into your home is an exciting moment. Controlling a device with an app or using just your voice is a tech thrill. It’s become so simple to setup Smart devices yourself, current household favourites include voice controlled assistants, colour changing lightbulbs and intelligent smoke detectors among many others gadgets. During the setup of any of these additions to your home you likely went through a process of downloading a new app and following simple instructions until you got the go ahead to start playing with your new gadget. Part of the setup process happening behind the scenes was your broadband router giving your new device an address so that it can communicate on your home network. Do you ever think about how busy that box plugged into your telephone line gets? Really busy. Too busy sometimes, that’s why occasionally your Smart TV starts buffering, your music streaming pauses and video calls go all pixelated and sound robotic. Home networks deal with a lot of traffic and all your latest Smart device purchases only add to the congestion. All is not lost though, download delays could become a thing of the past by employing the services of a CEDIA professional. Your CEDIA home technologist will have your home network running at optimum speeds with some possible upgrades, changes to settings or relocation of devices.

CEDIA Professional for Your Network.

It wasn't too long ago that television sizes ranging from 40 to 50 inches were regarded as BIG screens. Now displays that size are often found in kitchens, bedrooms and less frequently used reception rooms. In your main lounge or living room it’s quite common to see screens reach sizes of 65 inches or even 75 inches. You need big furniture to sit a TV that size on top. The best place for flatscreen televisions is on the wall. Choose the right spot, the ideal height and screw it to the wall. Easy? Not easy. Where is your power outlet? How are you connecting your games console or set top box? Are you happy with cables hanging loose from screen to source? Of course you aren't and this is another common situation where a CEDIA professional can take over. Your CEDIA home technologist will hide those HDMI and power cables and mount the screen securely. Quite often when your CEDIA professional is showing you how to operate your newly installed TV they’ll show you features you may not have known you had like the latest television and movie streaming apps.

CEDIA Professional for Your Entertainment.

Room heating and water heating accounts for more than half of the energy consumed in your home during a typical year. A typical household may have a programmer or scheduler that turns the heating on or off at certain times of the day. You may also have a thermostat in the hallway or thermostatic valves on your radiators. Heat up, cool down, heat up, cool down, often following the same schedule all year round. The thermostat has no idea how hot it is in the upstairs bedrooms and the radiator valves might always be left fully open, never regulating heat output to the room. Can your conscience take this huge waste of energy? Can your bank balance? A CEDIA professional can reverse this consumption trend. Internet connected thermostats learn your routines and sense when you are away from home. They will communicate with the radiator valves and other sensors in the home, to only send heat where it’s needed and more importantly not send it to where it’s not required. And of course, to feed your appetite for gizmos and gadgets, your heating controls will now be voice and app controlled. Exciting times.

CEDIA Professional for Your Energy.

CEDIA Professional for Your Technology.

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Please don't tear my house apart! #SmartHome #Retrofit with #Pyng


Please don't tear my house apart! #SmartHome #Retrofit with #Pyng

Who doesn’t want smart home features in their houses nowadays?  UK homeowners are spending more and more every year on technology for their homes.  The use of home technology is now a proven method for saving energy in your home, making your home more secure and providing greater entertainment in our living spaces.

Recent home technology purchases by homeowners are generally given the term DIY or self installed devices.  Smart thermostats, wireless cameras and wi-fi boosters are common purchases.  They tend to give you an introduction to smart home living or provide a sticking plaster over an issue in your home.

DIY products are attractive because they are easy to buy off the shelf, don’t require professional help and are usually paired with an easy to use app.  However, with the continuing purchases of DIY devices, your smartphone or tablet becomes littered with home control apps and you start to notice that devices don't communicate with each other as you had hoped or were promised.

One of the main factors that forces homeowners to seek out DIY products is that they don't want to install new cables or mess around with the existing electrical, television or telephone cabling in their homes.  It’s hard to argue against this; who wants the disruption of trying to get new cables into the fabric of the building or trying to work out how to utilise the existing wires in the home?

Unfortunately in a lot of cases the homeowner will get frustrated with this scenario and revert back to multiple apps and more sticking plasters.  Instead they should seek out their local Home Technology Professional.  Customised offer a choice of systems that will control and manage your home.  These systems can be installed with minimal or no wiring, and one app to control your whole home.  We have solutions that stop the temporary fixes and have the flexibility and expandability to add new technology when it appears; something new is always on the horizon.

Our first choice system for the retrofit smart home is Crestron Pyng.  Pyng is a system that starts from the app.  The app is used for all the setup and configuration.  At the heart of a Pyng system is the Pyng Hub; it securely communicates with wireless light switches, thermostats, door locks, alarm systems, motorised blinds, audio systems and CCTV cameras.  All your home services are under control from the Pyng app or from conveniently installed keypads and touch screens.

Crestron Pyng puts the homeowner in charge of their lighting, heating, entertainment and security. New scenes, lighting timers and adjustments to the heating schedule can be done easily via the app, and the homeowner can control their home while they are away from the property.

Pyng is a system that merges professionally installed home technology and powerful, elegant home automation. But most importantly it’s an option for homeowners that will not see their home pulled apart to install the smart features and will make their home more secure, efficient and comfortable.

Learn more about Pyng here.