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June 2018
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Smart environments allow people with disabilities to interact with and control certain aspects of their environment. Systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Home can pair with a wide network of smart devices to allow users to regulate the spaces around them. There are many options for this technology which can provide customized systems for users no matter their abilities.

Smart environments can provide users the option to complete different tasks with the touch of a button or by using voice commands. Turning on lights, making phone calls, and locking doors are just a few examples of what smart environment technology can do.

Smart environments are also eco-friendly. They have the ability to increase energy savings by controlling lighting, window coverings, HVAC, irrigation and by monitoring usage. The systems controlled by smart environment technology can be accessed anywhere the user has an internet connection.

Although these systems provide users with unlimited options, there are some downfalls with this technology. Smart devices can be expensive. Oftentimes, you need many devices to make your home functional. They can require additional monthly subscriptions or add-ons for continued use which add to the cost. Smart environments are powered by either batteries, Wi-Fi or electricity, so if any of those things are non-functional the user may be left with limited control.

Overall, this technology has great potential to make anyone’s life a little easier. Creating the best smart environment for you will likely require research, patience, and financial resources. To learn more about getting started with smart environments or to see a demonstration of some smart home features, contact the Easter Seals Iowa Assistive Technology Program by phone: 1-866-866-8782, TTY: 515-289-4069, or email: atinfo@eastersealsia.org.

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