Which OS does your TV run on
Think living room, and the television is the first thing that comes to mind. Indeed, television makers have been offering Internet connectivity for quite some time now, giving access to photos, videos and a lot of online content. However, the focus of connectivity is now shifting from simple streaming of online content to providing a personalised experience. Like in the case of mobile phones, buyers are now beginning to ask the question, “Which operating system (OS)?” when they buy a television (TV).
Sony, Sharp and Philips are among those who have opted for Google’s Android TV platform. Going for a common platform like this instead of a proprietary one ensures that your content and customisations stay with you even if you change your TV. Plus, if you use a TV with Android TV OS, you can also control it using your Android phone or tablet.
Panasonic uses Firefox OS, and it is evident that Firefox has built a TV-centric experience rather than simply extend its mobile OS for use on a bigger screen. Samsung uses Tizen OS, the company’s new OS that is being rolled out on most of its devices, while LG sticks to its WebOS.
Taking on the giants is Roku TV, a new smart TV platform that is being used in several economical TV models from Hisense, Haier and Sharp. With a robust search and other essential features, Roku seems to have got the basics right.
Tech to rest and dress well
When it is time to catch up on some sleep, there are products like ReST Bed that ensure even a short nap is a powerful recharge. ReST uses a special pressure-sensing fabric that monitors your pressure points and makes automatic real-time adjustments to ensure that your frame is properly supported. The dashboard provides sleep data, which helps judge your health condition and readiness for upcoming activities.
Cameras set up inside wardrobes can help you select clothes to wear on a particular day, having a quick glance at what is in the laundry and what is ready to wear. But, that is just too simple. How about a smartwardrobe that can automatically steam-clean and dry your clothes, remove wrinkles and deodorise, too?
Well, that is just what LG unveiled last year. The company believes that LG Style can save a lot of time for busy people and can also be useful in office lockers and airport lounges.
Cooking and cleaning the smart way
Smart and connected refrigerators, coffee makers, slow cookers and dishwashers are old tales. From kitchen-tops to refrigerators, every part of your kitchen is getting connected and smart, with appliances and platforms from players like LG and Samsung.
You can view the contents of your fridge on your mobile phone and prepare your shopping list before leaving office. Your fridge door can show the use-by date of each item inside it. There are Wi-Fi-enabled egg holders that tell you how many eggs you have or by when these are to be used.
You can upload notes through a mobile app, to be displayed on the kitchen door for your kids or spouse to see when they return home. Your kitchen-top could become a giant tablet, on which you can view recipes and how-to videos. The milk pan can sense when the milk is about to boil over and automatically turn off the stove.
Now, if all this convenience has made you cook and eat more than ever before, then you should start using smart dining ware like SmartPlate and HAPIfork, which work with mobile apps to control your diet.
Not interested in new appliances
You do not have to necessarily go about buying new connected appliances if you want to smarten your house. There are innumerable DIY kits available today that enable you to automate your home in any way possible. As easy as fitting Lego blocks, that is how German startup digitalSTROM wants home automation to be. These little colourful blocks can be fitted into your existing electrical infrastructure to add an element of intelligence to everything from your lights to your kitchen-tops.
There are loads of smartswitches and smartplugs available today, from international and Indian manufacturers. These enable you to switch on or off practically any electric-powered device from anywhere, using your smartphone. This makes a lot of sense for somebody who is just toying with the idea of home automation.