Generic (off-the-shelf) smart home technology has taken off, and we’re seeing more and more people writing and talking about how this technology can benefit people with disabilities – and we’re here for it!

Below are a few of the articles that have been making the rounds amongst the Smart Homes Made Simple team and advisory committee members over the last several weeks:

Removing Barriers and Promoting Independence with Assistive Technology

Originally published by JEVS Human Services, February 25, 2021

JEVS Independence Network members Chrissy and David use their Echo Show to find new healthy recipes and cook more meals at home.

Read about how people with disabilities who are clients of JEVS Human Services are using assistive technology (including smart home technology) for greater independence, connection, productivity, and joy!

“After performing AT assessments with some members of JEVS Independence Network, [Madeline] Schlusser found they too could benefit from the use of smart home technology like Amazon Echo devices. ‘They’re great because they are commercially available and low cost. One member is using her Echo device to develop a morning and nighttime routine to improve her health and wellness.’

“‘It has changed my life,’ said Independence Network member Chrissy A. ‘The Echo device reminds me to leave for work on time.  Now I am trying new recipes for dinner. The Echo Show makes it easy to look up new recipes.'”

Read more on JEVS Human Services blog.

Amazon’s Alexa calls attention to Global Accessibility Awareness Day all month long

Written by Dale Smith, originally published by CNET, May 27, 2021

This article reviews some of CNET’s favorite accessibility features available with Amazon Echo including Amazon’s Care Hub, Alexa’s speech-to-text feature, smart displays that swivel to track you as you move, and more!

“Alexa’s accessibility features are designed to help people with specific needs, but anyone can take advantage of these Amazon Echo shortcuts, tips and tricks.

“…As Global Accessibility Awareness Day, to which Amazon dedicates the entire month of May, comes to a close, we’re taking a look at some of the latest accessibility features Amazon has implemented in its Echo line of smart speakers and displays. Here are a few of our favorite innovations.”

Read more about Amazon Echo accessibility features from CNET.

The Best Smart Home Devices to Help Seniors Age in Place

Written by Rachel Cericola, originally published by Wirecutter, updated March 4, 2021

Photo: Amazon

This comprehensive guide was developed for older adults who wish to age in place. The guide covers Wirecutter’s picks for devices to meet almost any need you can imagine, with a section dedicated to security and privacy, as well as details about how each device was picked and tested. With increasing discussion around using smart home technology for remote monitoring, we especially applaud the upfront disclaimer that “the decision to install any devices should be made with the consultation and blessing of the senior in question.”

“As people age, many may need a support system, including family, caregivers, and a residence that has been outfitted to accommodate the common frailties of age: reduced vision, decreased mobility, increased risk of falls, and more. Smart-home devices can help you care for seniors as they live independently.

“…This guide is for the family member, friend, or caregiver who is supporting a senior person’s decision to live independently.”

Read the full guide to smart home devices for older adults from Wirecutter.

Amazon Sidewalk will create entire smart neighborhoods. Here’s what you should know

Written by Ry Crist, originally published by CNET, June 5, 2021

This article explains how Amazon Sidewalk works, what you need to know in terms of benefits and risks, and how to opt out if desired.

“Launching June 8 on Echo speakers, Ring products, Tile trackers and more, Amazon’s low-bandwidth internet-of-things network lets your smart home stretch beyond Wi-Fi range.”

Read more about the benefits and risks of Amazon Sidewalk from CNET.

Have you read anything interesting lately about smart home technology? Particularly, about people with disabilities using smart home tech? We want to know! Send us a link to what you’ve read/watched/heard.

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