Advice

Inside the Smart Homes of 7 Philly Businesspeople

From cooking aids to high-tech lightbulbs, these are the tech devices they rely on to make life much easier at home.

Top L to R: Kuna security camera; Amazon Echo; WeMo smart light switch; Mophie portable charger; Nest thermostat; and Roku box.

From smart locks to voice recognition technology, there are many home devices that really can make life easier. We asked Philadelphia businesspeople what they rely on at home. Quite a lot, it turns out.

Nick Eubanks | founder & CEO, I’m From The Future

Here’s the rundown:

  • Two full-size Amazon Echos — one upstairs and one downstairs. We use the Echo upstairs for music, news and to control humidifier. Downstairs is used for music, and controlling the Roomba, Philips Hue lights, Crock-Pot, and our Joule Sous Vide (this thing is the bee’s knees).
  • We have Zmodo 360 degree HD cameras that support night vision for home security.
  • We have iPad minis as television remotes, though the voice controls on the newer Samsung 4K TVs are actually quite good.
  • We would one hundred percent be using smart locks but are currently in a building where this is not allowed.

Cathy Bird | vice president, Right Recruiting LLC

I am connected to an electronic device most of my waking hours. I have a Samsung Note phone that has a stylus, which has eliminated paper notes. I had a client upset with me because they are a paper manufacturer (sorry!).

Alexa is one of my closest friends. She can tell me the time and is a timer. She turns on my lights, my music and my TV. I tend to play trivia with her when my sons aren’t around. I also have the standard PC, Mac laptop and Samsung tablet. The camera I own downloads photos directly to email or Facebook. I learned how to track my heart rate via my phone. In the future, I want a Roomba robot vacuum and the grass cutting version, too!

Andrew Woolf | general manager, Pennsylvania Lyft

At home I use an Amazon Echo, smart light bulbs and smart plugs. The Amazon Echo is my information and control hub. It controls my smart lights, plays music, gives me the latest information on the weather, which has been all over the place lately, and answers my simple questions in a snap. I use Philips Hue bulbs and Kasa smart plugs. The bulbs are “smart” in the sense that they can be controlled with a mobile app. I’m able to set timers for when the bulbs should turn on or off, as well as ask Alexa to turn on specific lights. The smart plugs are a similar concept, but any electronic device plugged in can be turned on and off.

Everywhere else I use my iPhone X, Apple Watch, and AirPods. Probably like many others, the iPhone X is my lifeline and having it connected to the Apple Watch gives me another way to stay on top of everything no matter where I am. The AirPods come in handy because I spend a lot of time on conference calls with the headquarters team in San Francisco.

Jenea Robinson | director of PR, VisitPhiladelphia

I feel like a real adult now because I just purchased a new MacBook Pro. I’ve had the same giant blue laptop from Radio Shack since 2010! It was time to let her go. Everything just works better on a Mac. Other devices I can’t live without are Roku and Google Home. I use Google Home mostly to play music and check the weather and Roku makes it very easy for me to watch natural hair videos on my TV.

Bill Marvin | president & CEO, InstaMed

My family starts most days with a wake-up call from Alexa. On a relaxed Saturday, we’re controlling the lights with our Wemo smart light switches, listening to music on our Echo and reading on the iPad. When we’re on the go, we always have Mophie portable chargers. The smartphone I rely on now is the Samsung Galaxy. Technology has come a long way since my original Palm Pilot.

Jatin V. Mehta | CEO, MetaSense Inc.

Currently, I use the Google Chromebook and Google Pixel 2 XL to make work and life effective and productive. Due to continuous changes in technology value, added efficiency helps to improve promptness in discovering and researching various technical and non-technical issues.

Haim Glickman | SVP of Global Solutions Engineering, Sungard AS

For the most part, I use Apple products – iPhone, iPads, wireless access points, Apple Watch. However, I also use connected and smart devices from other companies. For example, my main router is from Xfinity, my thermostat is from Nest, and security cameras are by Kuna. I mostly use Apple products because of the ease of integration and user experience, not to mention they have less spyware and malware attacks (though I still use Norton antivirus to further protect).

From my iPhone, I access the apps that are connected to my smart gadgets and allow me to control the device or alert me to anything from my garage door being left open, to an alarm going off or a security camera capturing a disturbance. The Nest thermostat has been a welcome addition to better control the temperature of my home, learn my family’s preferences and saves us money on the utility bill. The Xfinity router is also particularly valuable as I can turn off or suspend access to specific devices around the house, like when my kids need to do their homework.