Monast Law Office - March 2019

Get the Most Out of Your Digital Home Assistant

More and more people are welcoming the Amazon Echo or the Google Home into their spaces. Everyone knows they make great Bluetooth speakers and can tell you the weather forecast, but they’re also capable of so much more. Digital assistants can do a variety of tasks depending on howmuch you want them to do for you. For example, if you want your digital assistant to be heavily involved in your daily life, you can use the Echo or the Home as the core of your“connected home.”You can connect numerous compatible devices to these assistants, including other Bluetooth or networked speakers, lights, thermostats, coffee makers, refrigerators, and even microwaves. Of course, therein lies the challenge — you must have compatible devices to make a connected home efficient. And let’s be honest: Many of us aren’t going to buy a connected fridge or Wi-Fi enabled light bulbs just to get the most out of our digital assistants.

Home Minis? If you do, you’re set. You can communicate in any room where another device is present.

Your digital assistant can also make outgoing calls. As long as the device has access to your contacts (or the person you’re trying

to contact has an Echo or Home), you can easily make the connection. Want to send a text message? No problem! You can dictate a text to anyone in your smartphone’s contact list and send it without ever touching your phone. Aside from communications, the assistants can handle calendars, appointments, emails, and more. You can ask for information relevant to you, like “When is my flight again?”Google Home can recognize your voice, or the voice of anyone in the house, and respond accordingly. There’s no worry that anyone’s calendar or appointments will be mixed up with yours.

What you can do, however, is make use of what you already have. Here are some ways to put your digital assistants to work without committing to a connected home.

Both the Echo and the Home make excellent communication hubs. In the home, they can be used as a local intercom system. Do you have a few Echo Dots or Google

If you want to learn more, search for tutorials online. We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to what these digital assistants can do for you.

ERNEST K.

Our friend and client Ernest K. worked for many years as a side seamer at a large welding company in Urbana, Ohio, that specializes in manufacturing tanks and reservoirs for heavy vehicle air brake systems. This is dangerous work involving hydraulic presses and lots of moving pieces. He was cutting steel plates when a nearby stack fell, crushing his left hand and arm. Following emergency surgery, he actually returned to work through 2005 but developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This rendered his arm useless. Surgeons implanted a spinal stimulator to mask the pain signals traveling to the brain. Sadly, even after two revisions of the initial implant and extensive treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, Ernest’s symptoms raged on. CRPS is a particular nefarious condition. Symptoms include continuous burning, throbbing pain, sensitivity to touch or cold, skin temperature alternating between sweaty and cold, and muscle weakness and atrophy. Spray from a shower and clothing touching the affected area causes extreme pain. Many aspects of your life change as the pain can be all-consuming and treatment is lifelong. And, though the condition develops in one part of the body, it typically spreads to other areas.

rehabilitation, the Commission finally acknowledged that Ernest’s pain and use of only one arm made him unable to perform sustained work, and he was granted permanent total disability. Obviously, this is a devastating injury at any time, let alone at 42 years old. Ernest inspires me as he continues to live his life and push through his limitations. I am honored to have helped take money worries off his plate.

Ultimately, Ernest’s loss of use of his left arm was recognized by the Industrial Commission. Also, despite several attempts at

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