Imagine this scenario: While driving down to work, you issue a voice command to your digital assistant to give you your morning briefing. Your digital assistant promptly informs you about all the meetings scheduled for the day and reminds you that it’s your colleague’s birthday too. As you enter the conference room, you feel a buzz in your pocket signalling that your phone has gone into Do-not-Disturb mode and will reply with a canned response informing the caller of you being in a meeting. Just then you realise that you need to urgently take a print-out and without breaking stride, just hit print on your phone and go collect it from the smart printer.

Connected Convenience

Did the above scenario sound incredibly futuristic and efficient? It is! But it’s certainly not fantasy. Especially when you have devices from our Connected Convenience category all around you. These are smart devices designed to help streamline your workflow and make you more productive by using your time more effectively. This category contains devices like smart printers, smart assistants, wireless storage and a lot more – all aimed at being immensely helpful in a functional environment. Let us look at some of these products in detail:

Smart Printers

Smart Printers are regular printers – except for the fact that they’re supercharged with cool smart features. For starters, they can print directly from the cloud! No longer do you have to fumble with USB (or worse, Parallel Port) wires and connect to a PC or laptop with your documents on it. Now you can simply hit print from your phone or any device and have it transferred via WiFi to the printer itself and have it churn out pages, even if you are nowhere near it. Speaking of printing, you no longer have to stand next to it and wait for each paper to come out before you feed it back in to get prints on both sides. Smart printers will automatically rotate and flip papers for double-sided printing and even collate through it all so that you end up with crisp, perfectly ordered documents. Oh, and did we mention you can directly scan documents and have them sent to your PC or laptop wireless right from the printer? Such a huge timesaver.

Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants are software-based virtual helpers that can perform an extensive set of tasks like controlling your various smart appliances, answer queries and even execute several actions based on verbal commands. They form a major crux of all automation and ‘smart’ productivity, by being a liaison between you and your appliances – letting you tap, type or even talk your wishes out loud and have them carried out.

The list of things virtual assistants can do is long (and keeps growing day after day). Today, you can:
  • Control Home Automation
  • Ask general questions about trivia or facts
  • Schedule your workflow
  • Take memos and reminders
  • Use it for handsfree calling and messaging
  • Deliver updates on stocks, news or even the weather.

While there are a dime a dozen different virtual assistants, two are considered market leaders - Google’s Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. They are both widely integrated into several smart devices. Your Android phone has Google Assistant baked in (accessed by long-pressing the home button) while to get Alexa you can download the Alexa app on the Play Store.

WiFi Enabled Cameras

The days of cracking open your DSLR to retrieve the SD card to transfer photos to your PC are soon going the way of the dodo. With the SD card slot disappearing from a lot of modern laptops, it’s becoming a chore to import images. Which is why the latest crop of DSLRs come with WiFi-enabled storage.

You can now sync your photos from the camera to your PC without the need for any adapters or wires. All you need is a WiFi connection. It is faster than the traditional methods, not to mention extremely convenient and hassle-free – a win-win situation, if you ask us.

Smart Storage

Not all of us are photographers but almost everyone has a use case for external storage. And therein we come across our necessary but disliked friend – the wire. With everything going wireless from mice to headphones to even chargers, things that still require a tether arouse a measure of annoyance and disappointment within us. But now, you can count external storage out of this. With the WD My Passport Wireless Pro, you can now access your external hard drive over a WiFi network easily from a variety of devices such as your PC or your smartphone. Data sharing and storage is now easier than ever without having to worry about a wire, and the fact that they come in different sizes (up to 4 terabytes of storage!), make this smart gadget a definite necessity if you need your data portable and accessible.

Like this story? Also read: What is connected care?
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