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Smart Home | Tech and Innovation | Telstra News |

CES 2021: step inside the future home

By Luke Hopewell January 15, 2021

2020 was a year we spent more time at home. While we might be doing the same for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t mean it has to be an analogue experience.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is all happening online this year. Nevertheless, the gadgets and announcements have been coming thick and fast.

Technology around your home has come a long way over the last few decades. But as this year’s announcements from CES demonstrate, we’ve come a long way from Betamax and TVs that looked like large boxes.

Step inside our virtual home, where all the new and best technology from CES 2021 is ready and waiting.

Staying COVID-safe at the front door

Touching as few surfaces as possible has become something we all need to think about. You never know where COVID-19 might be hiding.

Smart home company Arlo knows this and has made a touches doorbell for the COVID era.

It gauges a visitor’s distance using what Arlo calls “proximity sensing technology” and alerts the homeowner of an arrival once the guest has safely approached.

Now to see if you can play ding-dong-ditch with it.

Four-legged tech

There’s even new gear for your furry friend!

Chamberlain has announced that the myQ Pet Portal is a new smart pet door that allows your dog to enter and exit safely on demand, and comes equipped with two-way HD cameras and sensors that only let the right pets in.

The pathogen-free home office

Targus Keyboard

In keeping with the theme, Targus has announced a new series of home office gear designed to keep you safe during a pandemic.

The flagship product is a UV light that sits above your keyboard and mouse designed to blast viruses and bacteria that might live there.

And if you need to stay clean on the go, Targus has an antimicrobial backpack, too.

Smarter treats

A lot of us got pretty handy in the kitchen during 2020’s on-and-off lockdowns. From bread to muffins and everything in-between, we all became overnight masterchefs.

Now that we’re probably going to be stuck at home a bit longer, it’s time to go back to being lazy in the kitchen. And what better gadget to be lazy with than an instant ice-cream maker.

The ColdSnap is a “rapid freezing product” that makes fresh frozen treats in a flash. Using pods, you can make a variety of things, from ice cream sundaes to frozen smoothies, and even a frozen alcoholic beverage for after dark.

Powering your future garage

Don’t think that your car misses out on all the tech fun, either. CES has new gear for your four-wheeled companion also!

Ensuring you get the right information about your car and the traffic conditions is essential when you drive. We’ve seen some pretty big screens added to cars in the last few years, but none bigger than this. Mercedes Benz’ new Hyperscreen is a 55-inch display that is built right into your car. And it’s not just a concept, either: it’s headed to the new EQS electric sedan later this year.

Keeping in the theme of EVs, everyone is getting in on the game these days. Cadillac and GM gave everyone a closer look at the “ultra-luxury” Celestiq EV, for example.

Entertainment like never before

The TV is often the crown jewel of the lounge room. But this year’s CES innovations show that your lounge doesn’t need to be the only entertainment room in your home.

LG has been making headway with its OLED technology for some time, and now it’s moving the TV tech out of your rumpus and into your bedroom. The company has envisioned a variety of transparent OLED TVs, including a transparent model that comes up out of your bed and rolls up when you’re not using it.

Other TV innovations from CES this year include a screen that won’t make you choose between flat or curved: you can have both! A variety of flexible OLED displays were shown off that bend on command to give you an immersive experience when you want it.

Leading TV brands like Samsung and LG are also introducing a new technology called Mini LED. It’s basically powering the TV backlight with even smaller LED lights than ever to make brighter whites and a better colour experience.
Keeping it all connected

While we’re all spending time at home, connectivity is vital to keep us going. Especially when it comes to new gadgets and there were some exciting WiFi announcements at CES also.

Strong Wi-Fi around the home means you get the work, learning and playing done in every room and on multiple devices.

We’ve got some tips to ensure you can get the most out of your home Wi-Fi router, and we’re not stopping there.

We’re putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to your strong home Wi-Fi coverage with our new Wi-Fi Guarantee. You can learn more on Telstra Exchange.

Devices |

Call me maybe? Telstra and Google add inbound calls to Google Nest devices

By Campbell Simpson November 10, 2020

Our homes are becoming more connected than ever with smart technology like Google Nest devices, and we can make them even smarter with innovative and useful features that allow you to use your technology in the way that suits you best.

Last year we became the first mobile carrier in the world to offer outbound calling on Google Home/Nest devices through the launch of Voice Activated Calling, so we’re happy to say that you can now take inbound calls now too!

It’s really simple – once you’re set up, your Google Nest device will announce who is calling (if it’s one of your mobile contacts), and all you have to do is say “Hey Google, answer call” to get connected.

It’s the ultimate hands-free solution if you’re busy in the kitchen, or your mobile is out of reach. It helps you to efficiently multitask as we juggle different things at home in these difficult times, whether talking to family and friends, or taking work calls.

Speaking of “out of reach”, if you happen to have misplaced your phone (make sure you check under the sofa cushion), you can ask Google to call your own number to locate it.

We know the addition of inbound call answering will be just as useful and convenient as the outbound feature, and with hundreds of ‘Triple Zero’ emergency calls made since we launched, it proves how valuable more clever and connected devices in the home can be in situations like that.

Setting up is easy using the Google Home app, where you can select up to six different mobile numbers in the home.

You can configure which Google Nest devices you wish to add to your smart phone ring group in settings in your Google Home App. You can even activate a Do Not Disturb feature when you don’t want to be interrupted.

Your voice can answer calls on your Google Nest Mini, Home, Home Max, Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max regardless of where your mobile is located or even if it is turned off.

Google Nest devices use the same number as your mobile phone but operates independently and can be used as a second line if your mobile device is in use, so it’s perfect for taking two calls at once if you’re Mr or Mrs Popular.

We’re currently the only telco in Australia to partner with Google in bringing this clever and new way to connect. It’s yet another part of our commitment to provide the best network and best technology to help everyone to thrive.

Devices | Tech and Innovation |

Make your property smarter this Christmas

By Ed Bobeff November 28, 2017

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The classic movie Home Alone sees a young Kevin McCallister – who’s been accidentally abandoned after his family left for the Christmas holidays – fending off burglary attempts by a pair of amateur crooks.

Kevin’s plight may be fictional (and hilarious), but the risk of festive robberies is neither of those things. With many Australians heading off for a festive getaway on or around Christmas Eve, real-life criminals attempt to make the most of all those empty homes. And the figures back it up. Stats from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show a massive spike in property offences on December 24th.

Then come the ‘what-ifs’. What if you left the iron on? What if you left the tap running? What if you forgot to shut the front door or a window? But fret not: these five new Telstra Smart Home®* products can help you stop worrying about your home over the holidays. They might not be as fun as watching Kevin terrorise his dim-witted foes, but they’re sure to get the job done.

1. Flood your home with light

Remove darkness, and you remove a crook’s most effective form of cover. This LED Outdoor Floodlight has a built-in motion detector, meaning it’ll turn itself on if it spots someone creeping around your front yard. Plus, you can set it to automatically turn on and off at certain times.

LED Floodlight with Motion Sensor

2. Don’t put a dampener on your holiday

Coming back to a flood is a sure-fire way to put a dampener on your holiday (pun intended). But this nifty little device can detect leaks as they happen and notify you via an alert on your smartphone before it’s too late; making it particularly handy if you have a temperamental sink or perpetually leaking pipe. It can also be set up to activate cameras or lighting where necessary.

Water Leak Detector

3. The lights are on but nobody’s home

The Philips Hue lights can be automated to switch on at certain times of day to give the impression that you’re home, even if you’re thousands of miles away. Staying home for the holidays? Set up colourful festive lighting themes from the 16 million hues on offer!

Philips Hue Lighting

4. Smarter smoke detection

The new Roost smart smoke alarm battery plugs into existing compatible smoke detectors and will notify you if they go off and when the battery is running low. You can also create automations with other devices ­in order to be alerted to hazards when you’re out and about.

Roost smart smoke alarm battery

5. “Ok Google, turn on the Christmas lights”

With Google Home Mini, you can control your compatible appliances using only your voice, so you can turn on your smart appliances – lights, thermostats – while your hands are busy wrapping presents. It’s a bit like your very own version of Kevin. Only smaller.

Google Home Mini

These 5 new devices are available in addition to the existing Telstra Smart Home range. Details available here.

* Devices will only work as described with an existing Telstra Smart Home® service. Telstra Smart Home requires a home broadband connection and home Wi-Fi network and must be activated via the free iOS or Android Telstra Smart Home App (data charges may apply). To record video and capture images from smart home cameras, you must set-up an automation through the Telstra Smart Home App. Stored videos are up to 15 seconds each. Videos and photos are stored for 30 days only and can be downloaded for permanent retention. Roost smoke alarm battery also requires activation via iOS/Android Roost app and Philips Hue Lighting requires activation via the iOS/Android Philips Hue app. Google Home Mini requires a compatible mobile device, a Google account and the Google Home app. Google, Google Home and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google Inc.