My iPhone tinkles like a shower of cascading bells. It’s telling me there’s movement at our front door. The Ring App takes me to a video of our front door area. Yes, it’s my nephew from Auckland come to stay while we are away. I can see he’s found the key. I click on Talk and welcome him to Taranaki.
“But aren’t you in Wellington, Aunty?” Yes, but I can still talk to him and ensure he successfully navigates our locks and alarms as his holiday begins.
My iPhone chimes. It’s the doorbell. An earlier tinkle has alerted me to movement but these visitors think I’m home. It’s young Queenie with her friend. Queenie knows about the camera and microphone in our doorbell so she pulls faces and talks to me. I am home, so I let them in.
A courier calls and rings the bell. “ Sorry, can’t come to the door right now. Just pop the parcel down there, thanks.” That reply could be from inside our house or from anywhere in the world with access to the Cloud where these videos are stored..
The “Ring” doorbell allows us to see and hear what’s happening at our front door no matter where we are and to speak to someone should we choose. The alerts come to both our phones and if I’m working on the computer the video pops up in the corner the minute there is movement. Of course, some movement does not require conversation – like the friendly fantail that flew around and landed near the door for a while. It was lovely to watch. The videos can be stored at a low annual cost and retrieved at any time from anywhere. They are time and date stamped. That can be useful for all sorts of reasons.
I see this doorbell as the beginning for us creating a Smart House – and something we find both useful and not too Big Brother-ish.
As we live semi-rurally I look forward to using more smart technology tools to assist us to stay here as we age. I haven’t yet needed to use online grocery shopping and delivery but I’m glad it’s an option. I don’t yet see the need for a fridge that tells me what we’re running low on but I do look forward to self driving cars. I hope they will be common before we lose our licences – a while away yet I trust! I’m sure that they together with other smart services and gadgets (as well as people based services!) will help us stay independent and at home here. Its raining again. Anyone know of an App to put the rubbish bins out?
Now what will I experiment with next?
Kaye Lally, Age Hacker