Connected household: Tech tips for a grown-up family
Kids yet to fly the nest? Modern technology can free up squabbles over the remote.
For a number of reasons, more and more young people are choosing to stay in the family home after school and into their twenties.
They’re living with their parents or guardians as a way of saving money, being close to school or work, or simply because they don’t feel ready to move out.
Fortunately, living with two or more other members of your adult family doesn’t have to feel like a full house when it comes to choosing entertainment options or divvying up chores.
There are plenty of gadgets and services that could help make your home more harmonious. Some can even potentially save you money.
Robot vacuum cleaner
Make the vacuuming nobody’s job with a wireless, internet connected automatic vacuum cleaner.
These high-tech robo-cleaners use cameras and sensors to move about, in some cases even creating a map of your house and plan out the best ‘route’.
You can set them to vacuum a few times a week and they’ll navigate the optimum path, keeping track of which areas have been cleaned as they pick up dust and grime.
Get the vacuuming done without having to beg, threaten or create a roster. The models that connect wirelessly can be controlled remotely so that you can tell them to tidy even when you’re not at home.
Music streaming family plans
Music streaming is great, but accounts often only allow one user to be listening at a time. Some music streaming services allow for family plans, which let you add additional members at a lower cost.
For example, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Spotify all have family plan options that let multiple members of your household have access to the music that they want to listen to, be it 90s hip hop, classical favourites, or whatever else they happen to be into.
Currently Apple and Google allow for up to six people on separate accounts for the one subscription, while the Spotify share plan lets you have two users and add extra members for an additional $5 per month.
Add some wirelessly connected speakers like Sonos, Samsung, Music Flow, or Bose and everyone can have different music playing in the room they’re in.
Having the whole family under one roof could save on a number of costs.
Take it a step further by selecting a family plan that covers as many of the devices in your home as possible.
Choosing a bundle that covers your internet, phone calls and extras such as pay TV and entertainment streaming can be a great way to save money.
It can also help to ensure that everyone has enough data to cover their music and video downloads as well as the time they spend surfing the web.
The added bonus of these services is that the content is available on demand – no more fighting over who gets to watch their favourite show during prime time – and often there are ways to view multiple streams simultaneously.
Noise can be one of the biggest problems for a house full of adults, particularly when one of those adults needs to concentrate on work or study.
If there isn’t enough space to be in separate rooms, you can invest in a decent pair of wireless headphones. These could let Mum relax and catch up on Veep while the kids focus on their uni assignments.
Apple TV or Google Chromecast
Families are all about making new memories and remembering treasured times together.
With Apple TV or a Chromecast, both of which connect your TV to the internet and to a mobile device, as well as allow you to access streaming services, you can download a variety of apps that share family photos.
You can also play some family favourite games such on the big screen using Apple TV or Google apps.
Have some fun with Risk or Karaoke and keep the good times rolling while you still all have the chance to be together.
Task management apps
No matter what size household you have, there will always be arguments over whose turn it is to do the washing up.
Keep it clear with a roster style app like Cozi, which lets you create a family calendar and share tasks and to-do lists. It will also create a communal shopping list so that whoever is at the store can grab the groceries that everyone needs.
Try some of these apps and gadgets to connect your grown household and make the experience of living together as an adult family efficient and harmonious.
You don't have to limit your connected lifestyle to indoors. Check out how you can use technology to build your own smart garden, and potentially get that green thumb you've always wanted.