The gadget that improved my life in 2018: 8 CIOs speak

The gadget that improved my life in 2018: 8 CIOs speak

Gadgets, gadgets everywhere, this time of year – but not all deliver on their promises. IT leaders share the gadgets that are actually making life easier

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If time is our most valuable asset, then it’s no wonder we all seek ways to free up more of it. And while technology can certainly suck away our time (do we really need to spend hours on Reddit, Words with Friends, or binging on TV shows), it can also be a real time saver. 

To that end, your thoughts may turn this time of year to gadgets - for yourself or for gifting. But no one wants a gadget that will disappoint. We wanted to know: Which ones are really working for IT leaders?

So we asked CIOs to share a gadget that is making everyday life easier. Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of the responses I received pointed back to the perk of saving time. But not all of them. One CIO beefed up his home office with a standup desk, and another CIO says she’s now in the best shape of her life thanks to the activity monitoring on her Apple watch. Read on to find out how these IT leaders are using technology to make small improvements in their daily lives. 

[ Calendar out of control? Read 5 time thieves and how to beat them. ]

Home automation to optimize daily living

I am a big fan of any service or technology that can save me time and make my life easier. This past year, I embraced IoT technologies like Nest, Ring, Amazon Echo, and smart power outlets to tech-enable our home. It helps optimize my day and effectively prepare each morning. For example, I have a smart speaker in our bathroom that provides news, traffic reports, and music while getting ready each morning. When it’s time to leave for work, I have IoT-enabled automation in place to make sure unneeded lighting is turned off, the thermostats are set appropriately, and alarms are set. Prior to bed, a similar automation uses those IoT devices to prepare the home for the evening.  – Jason James, CIO, Optima Healthcare Solutions

Alexa to remotely start your car and more

I’m a big Alexa fan. I like that you can code it to interface with things it doesn’t naturally interface with. In my home, for example, I use it to listen to music and news, or to remotely start my car, and I ask it to tell me the day’s weather forecast. It also interfaces with my home security cameras and my lights. – John Marcante, CIO, Vanguard 

Standup desk at home makes all the difference

I've used a standup desk at work for many years, but never took the time to find one for my home office. It just didn't seem to be a priority. This year, I took the plunge and ordered a MyMac Kangaroo Pro from Ergo Desktop based on a recommendation from the New York Times Wirecutter. Suddenly, I can work at home the way I work in the office. Easy install, works well, big win. – Lee Congdon, CIO, Ellucian

Nest Hello video doorbell is a perk for grandparents 

I love my Nest Hello video doorbell because it gives me peace of mind about my home security. It’s great because if someone rings your doorbell, you don’t need to be home to see who’s there because it records and stores the activity. You can review that activity at any time, too, which I especially love when my grandchildren come to visit. It’s fun to replay them running up to the door to see Grandma and Grandpa. – Sam Lamonica, CIO, Rosendin Electric

Electronic doorbell offers comfort and control

I’ve been having a lot of fun with our new electronic doorbell. I never realized how valuable and entertaining it is to be able to talk to and see people at my doorstep when I’m not home, or converse with someone when I’m in a different part of the house. It really has given me a new sense of comfort and control when I am not home. – Cynthia Stoddard, Senior VP and CIO, Adobe 

Home smart lock works well for kiddos  

My kids are getting to an age where they can walk home from school by themselves, so we need to find a way for them to get into the house after school. Smart access control for homes makes this easy. Traditionally, we'll issue them a key, but we don't want them to lose it because we'd have to change the lock. A smart lock not only solves that problem, but allows us to monitor their entry so if they're not home by a certain time, we're aware of it. It allows for a lot more flexibility and peace of mind. – Derek Choy, CIO, Rainforest QA

Apple Watch makes life easier and more active 

A new gadget that has made my life easier is my Apple Watch. A quick check of the watch tells me who is texting or calling. I’m able to quickly access the timer when I’m cooking and can easily review notifications from apps. However, the best thing about my Apple Watch is the unexpectedly brilliant effect it has had on my activity levels. The device reminds me to keep active during the day and has gamified the tracking of my activity, which has had a very positive outcome. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years! – Chris Fielding, CIO, Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS)

Smart home – just write a user's guide for family

We recently moved into a new family home, and I am on a quest to make it as “smart” as possible.  The multitude of products on the market and the integration with Alexa, Google Home, and mobile device and tablet apps make the process simple and affordable. Controlling my home with my voice or a click of a button is very efficient and advantageous. The only downside is that I must maintain a user’s guide for the rest of my family to get anything done while I am away.  – Scott Terrell, SVP & CIO, HealthMarkets, Inc. 


[ Want more time-saving advice from your peers? Read 6 productivity tips for overloaded IT leaders. ]

One comment

He who starts his car

He who starts his car remotely has not understood the challenge for climate change. and yes, it is indeed about the little efforts contributing considerably.
Regarding the home automation: bearing security in mind, this will backfire soon. And video at home, usually open to be accessed by anyone....haha. Say Hello to George Orwell.

As community manager for The Enterprisers Project, Ginny Hamilton helps build the site's community of CIOs, IT leaders, and readers. She is responsible for helping tell the stories of leading IT executives – showcasing the projects, experiences, and challenges they're facing in their roles as IT leaders.

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