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Keep It Clean - Cleaning Electronics the Right Way

Keep It Clean - Cleaning Electronics the Right Way

Technology Spring Cleaning

It's spring in Houston and things are starting to heat up. In the spirit of spring cleaning, we thought we would look at this annual tradition from a technology standpoint. After all, technology will last longer and function more efficiently if it is kept clean and cool.

One of the first rules of cleaning electronics is to never spray cleansers directly on the equipment. Using a feather duster or a microfiber cloth with a cleanser lightly sprayed on the cloth is our recommendation for cleaning. And always make sure the cloth you are using is clean to prevent scratching screens. To learn more, visit our YouTube page. https://youtu.be/I3RVOWMmkfY

Spring is also a great time to set an annual reminder to change out the batteries on the smoke detectors throughout your home, and if it has been greater than ten years you should consider changing the smoke detector units themselves out. Did you know that smoke detectors have a recommended lifespan? In this YouTube video, Luis talks a little bit more about smoke and heat detectors. https://youtu.be/uNFwDnjqLQc

How does the water taste in your home? How are your allergies? Have you been considering an air purification system to help mitigate the horrible pollen that accompanies the beautiful spring weather in Houston? It can get tracked in by your furry friends and your shoes. Echo Workshop offers both water and air purification systems to further clean things up for you this spring.

As always, Echo Workshop offers the most cutting-edge technology for your home or business. From motorized shades for your loggia, to Sonance Outdoor Speakers for around your pool, to smart thermostats so you can control the temperature of your home from anywhere in the world, Echo Workshop is here for all your spring technology needs.

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SMART HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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Lights and Shades:  To simulate human activity, just like your parents were attempting, you can now set your TV, lights, and shades to varying schedules.  With one touch you can set your smart home to “vacation mode” to make different rooms throughout your home “come to life” on a schedule that will make it seem like your home.

Smart Thermostats and Locks:  Oh, no!  You’re at the airport and forgot to set the thermostat to “vacation mode?”  You can take care of that remotely, via an app.  Does Aunt Martha need to get into your house to borrow your rolling pin?  You can unlock your door remotely, and then re-secure your home when she’s gone. 

Security:  We could talk about options in security all day, but taking some simple steps like motion-sensor lighting, cameras, smart smoke detectors, and video doorbells are a great start.  Give yourself the ability to monitor your home while you’re away.

Of course, using your smart home technology when you’re home for the holidays can also streamline your life.  Consider having your holiday lights or winter village programmed into your smart system.  Or set your favorite holiday “scene” in your smart system for the perfect lighting, sound, and video with just one touch.

Whether you already have a smart-home system and need help making it work right for you, or are considering upgrading your home with smart technology, Echo Workshop is here to help.

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HOME OFFICE WELLNESS

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Lighting matters!  Our bodies naturally want to follow the light cycle of the sun (circadian rhythm).  This is not only important to our overall daytime feeling of alertness and wellbeing, but also our sleep cycle, and when our bodies are not getting enough sunlight, we may feel fatigued and experience insomnia. Echo Workshop has LED lighting available that can replicate sunlight and give you that extra boost you’re looking for.  Experience an improvement in mood, mental acuity, and better sleep with the right lighting for your space.

Are you a biophiliac?  You may have heard a lot about biophilia lately and how our connection to nature increases our wellbeing.  Bringing the outdoors into your office with plants can reduce stress, increase productivity, and even increase the rate at which we heal.  Can you believe something as simple as a succulent can have so many health benefits?

Do you have allergies?  Perhaps you are noticing increased headaches.  Air quality is an important consideration when assessing your office space.  A good quality air purifier can combat viruses and bacteria and improve seasonal allergy symptoms.  Echo Workshop can provide you with a superior quality air purification system for just one room or help you with a whole-home solution. 

The space you’re in matters.  Separating work and living spaces gives us the ability to truly “leave work” at the end of the day.  If you have a dedicated office space – great.  If your office space is far removed from the activity in the rest of your home – even better.  However, if you are using part of your living room or bedroom for you home office, there are ways to give yourself some separation.  That way when the workday is through, it will be easier to leave your work mindset behind and truly be “home.”  Try a foldable room divider, curtain, or standing shelf with plants interspersed (remember biophilia). 

Finally, let’s get back to the basics.  Do your best to keep your workspace clean and uncluttered.  Removing the chaos also lends itself to our overall feeling of wellbeing.  Turn on your favorite music and maybe even try a few dance moves or a quick walk around the house to get your blood flowing, loosen tense muscles, and increase alertness.

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ALZHEIMER’S AND TECHNOLOGY

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Tech can improve quality of life.  Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning (thinking, reasoning, and remembering).  Imagine the frustration of wanting to watch a favorite TV program or simply listen to the radio and not being able to.  Virtual assistants can help.  If the client is able to perfect the use of basic voice commands, then an Alexa or smart remote may simplify use and relieve frustration.  Virtual assistants can also be programmed to give reminders at set times throughout the day (i.e. medication reminders, appointments), taking a little pressure off the caregiver.

Remote Monitoring.  There are so many options today when considering how to best protect our loved ones.  From camera installations to motion detectors to door sensors, all areas of a home can be set to be monitored remotely.   We now have the ability to help monitor the safety of our parents from across the country or from our office across town if needed.  Did your dad leave all the lights on, turn the thermostat up to 90 degrees, or forget to turn off an appliance?  With smart home technology, this can all be accessed off site and adjusted immediately.

Technology is not just about safety, but also about independence and quality of life, allowing people with Alzheimer’s the ability to stay comfortably in their own homes for longer (aging in place).  And, when it comes down to it, that’s all we really want for our parents – as much comfort and ease as they gave us growing up.

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OUR HOMES CAN CARE FOR US

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Wellness is an ongoing hot topic, and the technology industry is no different.  At Echo Workshop we offer air and water purification systems from Pure365 and Bluewater to help eliminate allergens and toxins.  Whether you’re looking for a single room or a whole-home solution, Echo Workshop has the technology to help keep you and your family healthy. 

Have you been feeling tired lately?  Perhaps you can’t sleep through the night.  Echo Workshop has partnered with companies like Savant Systems and Lutron Electronics to simulate your circadian rhythm.  We spend more and more time indoors and to keep our bodies and minds in balance, we not only crave the outdoors, but truly need it.  By simulating the sun’s natural path through automated lighting, many sleep issues can be eliminated, mood disorders improved, and, as an added benefit, people often find themselves with far more energy.   

I think most of us can admit that over the past couple of years we have learned that we like being at home, and our homes don’t just provide sanctuary, they can provide us with a lot of fun.  Have you been thinking about turning an extra room into a theater, or perhaps adding audio and video features outdoors?  Echo Workshop has the newest technology available from Samsung, Sony, Sonos, Revel, and Sonance, to take your family’s fun to the next level.

Home automation helps make our lives just a little easier.  With a smart home system that will monitor your security, improve your living environment, adjust shades, lights, and your thermostat, and allow you to enjoy whole-home audio and video, our homes truly can take care of us.  Let Echo Workshop help your home take care of you.

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HOW LIGHTING AFFECTS CIRCADIAN RHYTHM

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WHAT IS OUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM?

Our circadian rhythm is our body's natural 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. It basically acts as an internal clock, influencing nearly every system in our body including the production of hormones that make us feel sleepy,hungry, energetic, and more. If we don't listen to our body's natural signals, it's easy for this rhythm to get thrown out of whack, resulting in a poor mood, low energy, slower metabolism, lost productivity, and other negative health effects. To maintain optimal performance in all of our body's systems, it's important to pay attention to our circadian rhythm and do our best to maintain a regular sleep cycle.

HOW DOES LIGHT AFFECT CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS?

While the circadian rhythm is mostly an internal process, some external factors influence it as well. It can be affected by our behavior, like if we stay up later than we should. It can be affected by certain medications we are prescribed or other substances like caffeine. And it can be influenced by our environment as well. Light, both indoors and outdoors, is one of the biggest environmental factors that affect our circadian rhythm because it tells our body to stop producing melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us feel tired.

When there's plenty of light in our environment, it's an environmental cue for our body to wake up. When the sun starts to set and there's less light in the environment, it tells our body to start producing melatonin, so we can prepare to sleep. Daylight Savings can cause a serious interruption in our body's internal clock. Some studies show that in the weeks following the start of Daylight Savings, people lose out on up to40 minutes of precious sleep as their bodies adjust.

While 40 minutes doesn't seem like a lot, this lost sleep seems to result in mood changes, an increase in traffic accidents, and more workplace injuries. But luckily, keeping lighting consistent throughout our home can help our bodies adjust to Daylight Savings more easily. With the use of smart technologies in our homes, we can create the right environment with light that is beneficial to our bodies. We can't control the light outside, but we can use technology to overcome environmental factors that affect our sleep. 

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3 REASONS YOUR PROJECT NEEDS A SMART LIGHTING CONTROL SYSTEM

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SEE ALSO: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIGHTING

IMPROVE PHYSICAL HEALTH

Research shows that the average person spends 85% to 95% of their time indoors, which is unhealthy. Circadian lighting has a positive impact on physical health. Our sleep patterns are heavily dependent on natural light. LED lighting mimics the sun's patterns to assist in the release of melatonin and dopamine to make people tired at night while suppressing these hormones and releasing cortisol to keep them awake during the day. A healthy circadian rhythm will improve their immune system and metabolic function.

IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH

The health benefits of circadian lighting are not just limited to physical advantages. Lighting control has a positive effect on your mental health. Your customers will be able to adjust their lighting to invoke a particular mental state.

For example, cooler light that mimics sunlight in the morning will increases their productivity and alertness. Warmer, dimmed lighting will help them to wind down after a long day. Studies have also shown that circadian lighting can decrease depression instances caused by spending extended periods indoors. Attract potential customers with a home that will both house them and improve their health.

SAVE MONEY AND ENERGY

Lighting control will save your customers money by reducing energy costs. LED lighting reduces energy consumption by 85% and extends the life of their light bulbs so that they will spend less replacing bulbs. Lighting control also offers the option to dim their lighting, decreasing energy usage from 4% to 9% even when used at the highest setting. Homeowners can also schedule their lights to turn off when not in use, which further decreases energy consumption. Your customers will see the appeal of a home that offers a high return on investment.

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