Tech Tips

Ways to Manage Multiple Devices in Your Home

While desktop and laptop computers remain the most important tools in the workplace and possibly stand as the brain center of your home, tablets and smartphones are taking over as complex computing tools. It may not be as easy to look over an Excel spreadsheet with your smartphone’s five-inch screen, but the ability to access your data anywhere has its advantages.

However, moving from one device to another can feel cumbersome at first. Take the time to create a meaningful multidevice strategy so your technology can make your life feel seamless.

First, identify the applications that you use in a typical day on any device, making note of the top four or five most-used apps. (By the same token, if you can’t remember the last time you used an app, consider dropping it.) You don’t have to run the same apps on every platform—you might keep your Twitter app on your smartphone, but you may not look much at Twitter on your desktop—for many apps, it is convenient to have your most-used software sync up across multiple devices.

One of the most important things you can do for easy device synchronicity is to keep your files in the cloud. This ensures that that files can be accessed anywhere, even on public access terminals like a hotel PC (always protected by your passwords, of course, and multi-factor authentication when it’s available).  Cloud storage also makes for a great backup system, should your devices get lost or stolen, but for essential data, back up to the cloud and an off-site storage device. And don’t forget insurance—Asurion’s Pick 3 coverage protects up to three devices with one plan and is available through Amazon.

If you’re one of those people who gets nervous at the thought of his or her personal information being part of the ether, consider a secure cloud storage service such as SpiderOak, which lets you keep data entirely encrypted and shared between your desktop and mobile devices.

As for non-computational devices, such as “smart” household devices like thermostats and coffee makers, some companies are meeting the challenge of synchronizing devices head on. San Francisco-based August builds smart home access products like doorbells, locks, and keypads that you can control through one smartphone app, which comes complete with navigation tabs that enable users to assign guest access to house sitters or professional cleaners. Meanwhile, Palo Alto-based Nest, creators of the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke alarm, enable the management of multiple devices, allowing users to control multiple Nest products via one account.

As the size of the Internet of Things market grows quickly, you will find more and more ways to connect devices together. Take the time to sync your data and technology, and you’ll enjoy the great flexibility that today’s high-tech world can give you.