Going to the effort of setting up a smart home just so you can turn your lights on and off from your phone may not seem like the best use of your time and resources, but with the right gear and apps you can put together some routines that really will impress family, friends and occasional Airbnb guests. Here are five of our favourites.
Tagged With automation
I love automation; I do. I just think it's the most fun thing ever to walk into my house and have my smart lights immediately pull up some colourful scene — not to mention all the absurd configurations I can create that changes their colours and brightness when certain things happen, ranging from "I got a tweet" to "It's midnight why are you still awake go to bed."
The modern workplace is undergoing a substantial transition. Systems to foster collaboration, automation and machine learning are creating a workplace that is almost unrecognisable from the 1990s. Careers are built by moving between companies and, increasingly, we are expected to be the masters of our own training and development. Where is this leading and what will the workplace look like in another 20 years?
As we use more applications and services, integration and automation become harder. So, there's a need to find ways to pull things together. Apps and services like IFTTT, Workflow and others see to automate tasks and bring our apps together. Microsoft's play in this space is Flow and the iOS version has received an update.
Over the last 15 years, Australians have reduced the amount of time spent on physical and routine tasks at work by two hours each week thanks to automation. Retail workers have spent less time ringing up items and more time helping customers, bank employees less time counting banknotes and more time giving financial advice.
And if Australia plays its cards right, we could be making $2.2 trillion from automation by 2030, according to research commissioned by Google.
Google's latest gadget is an always on, always listening little speaker called Home - and its officially available in Australia from today. It's a cute design, a friendly little blob of a thing that looks like a half finished cartoon character. Here are our first impressions.
The smart home future is here... sort of. But really how smart are a bunch of different devices all speaking different languages? Unfortunately, the smart home can be very stupid and often takes longer to set up than breathless advertisements imply. We're here to tell you how you can build a smart home where everything works in harmony.
In July last year Centrelink rolled out a new automated income matching system for detecting and recovering debts. It became known as "Robodebt" and was designed to help the Department of Human Services collect $4.5 million in debt every day. In that sense, it was super efficient. Too efficient, even.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman has just released a detailed report into the failings of the OCI - calling the system "poorly planned, deficient and unclear", confirming up to 20 per cent (possibly $3,075,503 worth) of demands to repay debt were incorrectly issued.
iOS: If This Then That (IFTTT), one of our favourite automation services, introduced support for both the iOS Calendar and App Store today.
Whether it's poorly reported stories of hacked Samsung TVs, sadly hilarious tales of hacked teddy bears, or even more bizarre claims about wiretapped microwaves, real, fake and overblown accounts of all the things that can happen with the devices we choose to connect to the internet dominate the news. We've brought this stupid future on ourselves.
Chrome: Automator is one of the easiest ways to automate tasks on your Mac, and the ability to record mouse actions makes it so just about anyone can create their own workflows within seconds. Wildfire is a Chrome extension that attempts to bring a similar feature to Chrome.
The problem with investing in smart, connected devices like Wi-Fi colour-changing light bulbs, internet-enabled power strips and wearables like Fitbits is that you need a dozen apps for them all. Stringify is an iPhone app (Android is on the way) that links all of it together. Imagine it: One app to manage them all, one app to automate them. Here's how to set it up.
iOS: Workflow is an intensely powerful app for iOS that allows you to create small micro-apps that trigger specific actions inside an app, like instantly capturing a note in Notes or downloading a file from a URL. It's always been relatively complex to use, but today it's getting easier.
If This Then That, one of the best automation tools out there, is getting a big overhaul today that changes some of the fundamental ways the service works. The biggest change comes in rebranding its recipe system so it now allows one trigger to connect to multiple services.
Android/iOS/Web: Microsoft's IFTTT competitor Flow has been in beta for the better part of 2016, but it wasn't quite fully-baked yet. Now, the company is ready to release it to the world and it's starting to look good.