Smart Home Update: 3 Cool Solutions That Deserve Your Attention

By Mark Vena - April 6, 2018
In the sea of new “smart home” solutions that are flooding the market, the unfortunate fact is that many of these products are solutions looking for problems to solve. With the Field of Dreams “build it and they will come” mentality still very much part of the consumer technology landscape, it’s reassuring to see the following common-sense products that address actual real-life problems. The No Touch Easy Glove system.Smart” glove system reduces food contamination The No Touch Easy Glove delivery system is an incredibly simple product that kitchens, both at home, restaurants or cafeterias, can use. Designed for food handlers, this inexpensive product solves two big problems: it dramatically minimizes contact of food with contaminated surfaces and increases the productivity of food preparation workers since the gloves can be put on much faster than traditional gloves. While disposable protective gloves are certainly not new in food prep, traditionally they must be put on with two hands and require manual removal from a box. Both these factors increase the risk of contamination and transmission of foodborne diseases. The patented No Touch Easy Glove system is an inexpensive “caddy” (available in wall mount, countertop, side-by-side, and back-to-back designs) that stores a glued stack of 100 polyethylene (NTEG) gloves. The user simply put his or her hand into the open glove and pulls it away from the stack, eliminating any external contact of the hand on the outside glove area. It really works quite well and since it doesn’t require a lot of counter space, I could even see this in kitchens of homes with large families with children (who often don’t do a great job of washing their hands). The reusable caddy dispensers are priced between $17 and $25, and the disposable gloves (2,000 per box) are only $65 per box. It's also worth mentioning that it doesn’t use traditional latex gloves; latex has allergy-related risks that can be transferred to food. This solution has strong appeal for restaurants since food preparers can put on these gloves up to 3 times faster than putting on traditional protective gloves from a box. The GenTent safety canopy. Improve the safety of your portable generator Next on the list of practical, smart home solutions is the GenTent Safety Canopy (another simple solution that doesn’t require power or an Internet connection). Readers in the Northeast are suffering from a particularly bad winter, with the season’s fourth “nor’easter” pounding the region this week. Home portable generators are popular in parts of the country that suffer from weather-related power outages; however, they are particularly dangerous to use in wet weather due to the risk of electrocution. Another serious risk is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, when using a generator in a garage or even outside, close to an open window—according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, 808 people were killed between 2004-2013 from portable generator CO poisoning. The GenTent solution could significantly reduce these risks. Priced between $149 and $199 depending on the model of your generator, GenTent is a canopy that easily mounts to your portable generator, making it safer to use in windy or wet conditions by preventing water from getting into the electrical outlets. These products are highly durable and designed to withstand high winds and snow loads. Just about every portable generator is compatible with GenTent (you can validate that with the generator you own via this link). It’s a product that every safety-minded portable generator owner should have. The Tabs Home Health and Security Kit. DIY home health and security Lastly, I wanted to spend some time talking about a more “traditional” smart home product—one that requires power and an Internet connection. In a nutshell, the Tabs Home Health and Security Kit is a “do-it-yourself” home security system that lets you monitor activity in your home while you’re away. This solution is actually much more comprehensive than it sounds—it monitors your home’s humidity, temperature, and air quality levels. The “health” functionality of Tabs is especially useful. It not only detects CO levels but emitted gases from a variety of household products, including cleaners and aerosol sprays. Both the hub and sensors are attractively designed, and the product is very easy to install. Another very cool aspect of Tabs is that the hub also doubles as a hotspot, extending Wi-Fi coverage up to a mile for any Tabs device. In other words, if your child or loved one has one of the Tabs Objector Locators with them, the hub can track them inside or outside of the home.
The core Home & Security Kit is priced at $230 and includes 3 door and window sensors, a motion sensor, the “healthy” home sensor, and the hub itself. Additional Tabs Door & Window Sensors and Healthy Home Sensors cost $25 each and wristband and push-button locators are expected to become available in April.
Unlike other solutions on the market, there are no subscription fees. The free Tabs app is very intuitive to use, and you can set up a variety of alerts based on how much activity you want to monitor. Unfortunately, Tabs lacks security camera support and it does not have broad integration with popular branded smart devices like Nest Thermostat or Belkin Wemo—you’re essentially locked into the Tabs device ecosystem. But if you’re looking for a simple and inexpensive solution that essentially focuses on monitoring and home health, Tabs is a respectable product to consider.
Wrapping up
There you have it. 3 “smart home” solutions worthy of your consideration, 2 of which, shockingly, don’t have to be plugged in—an affirmation of my belief that some of the “smartest” solutions don’t have to necessarily fit the definition of what we think “smart” has to be. That might be a tough pitch in “Internet of Things”-obsessed Silicon Valley, but it's true nonetheless.
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