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All over the world people are dealing with the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. As of the time of the writing of this article, COVID-19 has already infected more than 13 times the number of people infected by the SARS and MERS outbreaks combined. So what can you do to cope and prepare yourself? Of course, follow all the basic guidelines from the World Health Organization:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Practice respiratory hygiene
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
I don’t claim to be an expert on COVID-19. My areas of focus are smarthomes and home technology. This article will list home technology products that can help you fight and cope with the novel coronavirus.
Smart switches, plugs, lights, and motion detectors
You can minimize the number of surfaces people touch by installing smart switches, plugs, and motion detectors. This way you can have lights either turn on by a schedule or have a motion detector trigger lights on and off. There are lots of choices of smart switches and plugs. For many reasons, I like the TP-Link products.
You might need a smarthome hub to help coordinate schedules and motion detector controlled lights. I’m partial to Home Assistant, but here’s some advice on choosing a smarthome hub.
If you are looking for an all in one smart switch/motion detector, you can consider the Ecobee Switch+. It has a built-in motion detector, an ambient light sensor, and Alexa. It can automate lights based on motion, how dark the room is, or by schedule.
Also, not everything has to be designated a “smart switch” to be smart. You may just need a regular motion-detecting switch for some places, like hallways and garages, that don’t need fancy smart device circuitry. I have a few of these in my home.
Voice command is a great way to avoid touching smart switches when turning lights on and off. Although most smart switches can be scheduled, most times you need to manually turn a light on and off. Instead of going and touching a switch, simply give a voice command from Alexa or Google Assistant.
You can extend this voice control to anything you can plug in using a smart switch, or even your TV using a smart remote like the Harmony Hub, or a voice-controlled streamer like a FireTV stick or the Fire TV Cube.
Don’t haggle with touching thermostat controls to get the temperature right in your room. Get a smart thermostat that keeps your family comfortable all the time. If you need to manually control it, many come with voice control capabilities. I have the Ecobee3 Lite, and I wrote a pretty detailed review (spoiler, I love it) if you are interested.
During any cold and flu season temperature and fevers are important to monitor. If you want to monitor the temperature of multiple people in a sanitary way, I use and highly recommend the Withings Thermo (Here’s my full review of the Withings Thermo). It uses infrared to get an accurate temperature reading without contact. It also syncs with your smartphone to store temperature history for multiple people over time.
I wish that all public restrooms had touchless faucets. It seems odd to have to touch the same faucet you (and countless others) touched with dirty hands to turn it off right after cleaning your hands. This same concept applies at home. Touchless faucets are great for limiting what you have to touch. Here are few you might want to look into for both bathrooms and kitchens:
- FORIOUS Touchless Kitchen Faucet with Pull Down Sprayer
- Delta Faucet Trinsic VoiceIQ Single-Handle Touch Kitchen Sink Faucet with Pull Down Sprayer – This faucet actually has Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, which explains the price!
- Fyeer Automatic Electronic Sensor Touchless Faucet with Temperature adjustable knob (bathroom)
- Platform Basin Electronic Automatic Sensor Touchless Bathroom Sink Faucet
Touchless soap dispenser
Similar logic applies to soap dispensers. Although, you don’t have to touch them after washing your hands. But why touch them at all? Here are some battery powered touchless soap dispensers you can install in a bathroom or kitchen:
Touchless toilet flusher
If you want to take the bathroom no touch to the next level, why not consider no-touch flush for your toilet? The Techo Touchless Toilet Flush Kit has you covered!
Lots of places are shutting down, and lots of employers are allowing (and in some cases demanding) employees to work from home. For some, this means a lot of video conferencing. Also, if loved ones are in quarantine, video chats are the only way you should talk to them. Here are the camera and microphone I use. You also might want to consider a good headset and lighting.
Washable keyboard and mouse
Keep everything sanitary. You may be eating in your office more now. Keyboards are hard to sanitize and clean. It’s much easier if you get a washable keyboard, like the Logitech K310. Get a washable mouse while you’re at it!
Streaming devices and accounts
COVID-19 already has a lot of people spending more time in the home due to school and office closures. How to pass the time? Watch streaming content, which seemingly never ends. You don’t need to go to the movies anymore. I highly recommend Roku streamers for most people. You might want to get a wired streaming device for the best experience.
Good Internet and wifi
Speaking of streaming, you’re going to want to make sure you have very good WiFi at home. Your wifi network will be under more strain if you and other family members are going to be home more. I’ve got a lot of tips to get your wifi into great shape.
Additionally, you are going to use a lot more of your bandwidth. Make sure your current Internet plan has enough bandwidth for the family, and make sure you know of any data caps! You might want to move over to a plan without a data cap. I improved my speed and eliminated my data cap by moving from Xfinity to Centurylink fiber. I saved money too!
If you are a parent, you may be under more strain to monitor your children’s screen time. Look into Google Family Link!
This is an unprecedented time in history and I am not trying to make light of it. I hope you are all staying healthy and that the ideas in the article help make your lives a little bit better during this difficult time.
What other home technology devices are you buying or using more to cope with COVID-19? Let us know in the comments or message me on Twitter!