Smart homes are getting wider acceptance among People with Disabilities as the concept undergoes a fast refinement due to sweeping technological developments and newer innovations. According to a study by the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology, smart home technology is a huge opportunity for disabled people to take control of their lives. It has been estimated that half of all UK homes have a smart speaker that can be used to live independently with more choice and control in the increasingly digitalized society. When properly and rightly used, the smart home tech works well alongside care providers. It can reduce financial pressures on government expenditures and the social care system, it noted. The panel noted independent living and smart home technology should help enhance wellbeing and social inclusion for people to live their best lives. An important part is involving older and disabled people in the decision-making and development of high-quality evidence of the impact of technology on their lived experience. This requires a commitment towards co-producing new solutions and a need to respond to issues of access and digital exclusion.

Experts say thanks to technology, life has become incredibly convenient. One can control numerous smart devices through a tablet or smartphone. Those taking advantage of the Internet of Things include the world’s largest minority, People with Disabilities. They benefit from the use of smart devices that makes a home smart. This residence features devices interconnected with each other via the Internet that will enable its tenant to remotely monitor and control them. Smart home devices include appliances, lights, thermostats, doorbells, door locks, cameras and speakers, among others. The devices can help them enjoy independent living while easing the worries of their loved ones. They give power to this community and provide cost savings. Smart devices are considerably less expensive than single-purpose assistive devices.

A good example is a smart door sensor connected to smart speakers. Blind people can use this technology to know if someone has entered or left their homes. Amazon Echo is a personal assistant device that can listen to voice commands and control Bluetooth-enabled devices and appliances. People with limited physical mobility no longer need to get up to change the thermostat or to get in touch with a loved one. Robotic vacuum cleaners, smoke alarms, ovens, and coffee makers are among things that can be controlled using smartphones or through spoken commands. As such, people living with disabilities are given the “ability” to perform tasks that they used to ask others to perform for them.

Simply put, this type of technology provides “home control” in their hands. A door sensor sends you an alert whenever someone tries to enter a home. They will never have to worry about leaving their homes unattended again because technology helps them know immediately if the door gets opened. For people living with disabilities like dementia, or loved ones a smart door sensor installed eases their mind as they will be able to know if the family member leaves home without them. A smart lock opens and locks the doors remotely and provides people temporary access to homes when they want it. One can even dictate the number of times and days someone can go in and out of their home. Motion sensors can help detect movement in an area where there shouldn’t be any. With a smart home system, one can set up a motion sensor to trigger other connected devices such as lights or alarms. One can set the device to turn off lights whenever there is no motion detected in a room for a certain period. Smart lighting enables controlling lighting levels and allows changing a bulb’s brightness to suit the needs.

A good example of voice assistants includes Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. With a voice assistant, you can control various devices through one specific app or device, such as the Amazon Alexa app, Amazon Echo, or Google Nest. Among other things, you can use it to make calls, search Google, watch a movie, create a shopping list, set reminders, and alarms, play music, lock the door, and change the thermostat. No hands are required. A video doorbell has a camera that records video. This smart device is a great criminal deterrent. Seeing a camera recording their actions can make them think twice about breaking into the home. You can record everyone that goes to your door, which provides you with valuable video footage that can serve as evidence of a crime. With a leak sensor like a smart water leak detector, you get the alert on your smartphone. A smart thermostat allows setting the temperature inside the home just the way you want it. For people living with disabilities, being able to remotely control the temperature of their home is a convenience that makes life easier.

Amazon Echo is a voice-activated hub with a voice assistant called Alexa. The bigger models have larger, louder speakers. Some also have screens. One will need an Amazon account and download an app to your phone, tablet or laptop to use it. Android and iPhone communication and other disability apps and accessibility features can help disabled people to be more independent. Assistive technology like Apple’s ‘Home Kit’ is enabling them to take control of their home, their job, and their family life. Advances in personal technology continue at a rapid pace. Using external switches and voice commands, one can navigate his/her phone and control the smart home from the wheelchair. Apple’s ‘Switch Control’ allows people with limited mobility to navigate sequentially through items on a device’s screen using Bluetooth-enabled switch hardware — controllable by the mouth, for example. For able-bodied people, doing something like turning on lights or opening a blind or changing the thermostat might be seen as a convenience, but for others, that represents empowerment, independence, and dignity, an expert said. They can use their iPhones to select different accessories in various rooms in their smart homes. They can even create customized ‘scenes’ to trigger a sequence of connected devices to perform a task in tandem. The technology will continue to improve, adding more and more accessories to the devices they can connect to smart homes setup, says Chiara Sottile, an NBC News Tech Producer.

Experts say five new smart devices make it easier for home-bound people to stay connected to the outside world and live a hassle-free life. The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and home automation has been a life-changing experience for them. Disabled people can use smart devices to improve accessibility. Besides using a voice-activated assistant to control smart speakers, users can enable automated reminders for important activities, such as taking medications and hospital appointments. They can also read a book, share weather updates, find movies to watch, and play music for you. These cutting-edge devices are known for enhancing accessibility for the disabled by automating several tasks for them. The smart speaker assistants come in all shapes and sizes. There are basic models with limited features for a simple experience without straining your budget. If you want more advanced versions with powerful features like smart interactive displays, you either have to shell out a hefty amount or keep an eye out for seasonal sales to get the best bargain. Smart Lock has been listed among the safest and most convenient smart home devices for the disabled as it allows temporary access to users. You can restrict the time and days when they can enter the home with the smart lock. It keeps a log of everyone who visits the place. Also, removing someone’s access is simple and quick. And many can integrate with your smart home security system and/or smart speaker for more ease of use.

A smart doorbell with a motion sensor is one of the crucial facilities for disabled people that tells you who’s at the door without you answering it. It acts like a security camera and can detect the person entering your property and notifies you via phone or tablet. Moreover, you can talk to, hear and see your visitors using the device without leaving your bed or couch. Video doorbells also work well with smart locks. Just make sure you get one that is compatible with your smart door lock. For anyone planning home remodelling for the disabled, a centralized master control system for all smart devices is highly recommended. These systems come with a controller or a smart hub which enables you to control all other systems directly and coordinate your routines. You can command and control all the connected devices using a smart hub app to get most functions done through it. Emergency Response Systems or medical alert systems connect users with life-saving services at a click of a button. This is a device that doesn’t even need you to press an emergency button, it notifies the response team if a fall is detected. These cutting-edge systems with advanced features make it easier for home-bound people to stay connected to the world while overcoming their mobility restrictions.

A smart home is a residence that is equipped with smart home technology, which allows for the automation and remote control of various household systems and devices, such as lighting, heating and cooling, appliances, security, and entertainment. The first smart home idea was a creation by James Sutherland in 1966. In the 1980s, the emergence of the personal computer and the Internet led to the development of more advanced home automation systems that were smaller, more affordable, and more accessible. These systems were still relatively complex and expensive and were not widely adopted by the public. The smart home began to gain more mainstream traction in the early 2000s, with the proliferation of smartphone technology and the development of more user-friendly home automation systems. Today, the smart home is a rapidly growing market, with a wide range of smart home devices and systems available. The goal of smart home technology is to provide homeowners with increased convenience, energy efficiency and safety. A ‘Smart home’ device provides a combination of lighting, music, temperature control and other settings to quickly communicate to multiple smart home assistive devices simultaneously. This technology is no longer in sci-fi movies but a reality today and can be installed inexpensively even by people with minimal technical knowledge. Smart home technology can allow people with disabilities to easily manage their homes and perform tasks independently, rather than relying on the assistance of others.

Smart home technology can provide greater comfort and convenience for people with disabilities by automating tasks such as adjusting the temperature or turning on the lights. It can also enhance socialization and connectivity by allowing people with disabilities to more easily interact with friends and family through technology such as video conferencing. For the elderly and people with hearing, vision, speech, and language or mobility difficulties as well as people who suffer from dyslexia, learning disability, ADHD, autism, and other special needs, establishing a Smart Home will enhance their independence and empower their daily life. Smart home technology can simplify daily tasks and routines by automating them. This technology can greatly improve the independence and quality of life of People with Disabilities. It can be a powerful tool for them to live a more independent and fulfilling life, according to the New York-based LD Resources Foundation.

Source: AccessAbilities Expo

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