What Exactly are Internet of Things (IoT) Devices?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical devices, such as laptops, vehicles, and security systems, that communicate with humans or other connected devices.

These devices can do everything from monitoring your health and diet to securing your property, or even reminding you to buy more paper towels. But they all have one thing in common…they require a fast, reliable internet connection from a company like Race.

Wearable Devices

A smartwatch or step tracker can track your calories, heart rate, or the number of steps you take in a single day. These IoT devices can share this information with your doctor. This gives you and your health team the opportunity to discuss ways to improve your health. As you make changes, the device can monitor your progress and encourage you to continue living a healthier lifestyle.

Home Security

Internet-connected cameras, peepholes, doorbells, locks, and other security features enable you to monitor your home 24/7. These devices are fully accessible from a smartphone or tablet, providing you with real-time information. Should a breach occur, the IoT device can alert law enforcement for you.

Smart Appliances & Gadgets

Even if you don’t want your showerhead communicating with your toaster, many smart household appliances now anticipate your needs by assessing the data they collect. Today’s coffee maker can have your coffee perked and ready to your specifications. Are you almost out of milk or eggs? A text from your refrigerator tells you what you need at the grocery store. Don’t walk into a cold, dark house when you get home from work; control your home lighting to come on at specific times or by voice activation when you enter a room. Plus, you can program your thermostat to monitor the house and adjust interior comfort as needed to save money on your utility bill.

Shopping

Always listening and ever-attentive, voice assistants such as Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod make it simple to purchase items. Just tell Alexa to buy it via your enabled Amazon account and wait for the delivery. Not ready to shop this minute? Just ask Alexa to add eggs and cream to your shopping list.

As IoT’s relevance grows, let Race make sure you’re ready for the next innovation – order Race’s fastest and most reliable internet service today!

Secure Your Home The Wireless Way

Home security is an area in which secure, high-speed internet from Race really shines, by providing the reliable, robust connectivity needed between you, your home, and first responders—whether you’re actually home or not.

Thinking of upgrading to wireless security? Consider some basic choices, including whether to go with do-it-yourself kits or professionally installed systems. Expect the price to rise depending on the monitoring and equipment.

Choices include video doorbells, indoor and outdoor security cameras, motion sensors, door break alarms, and smart locks (including some that unlock when a smoke detector goes off).

You can choose how much coverage you want by adding window, door, and motion sensors in various configurations. Sirens are another option. And don’t forget outdoor security lighting.

The Power of Wireless Integration

Smart home security systems allow you to customize and control from afar via apps on your smartphone or tablet, powered by your home WiFi network. Depending on the system, alerts can be delivered by text, email, phone call, or all of the above. Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart speakers also can be used.

All these systems can be integrated, too, using a wall control panel that also communicates with your smartphone and can include more functions such as turning on and off lights and controlling the thermostat.

Some Brand Names

Video doorbells already have proven themselves invaluable in the battle against porch pirates, those thieves who prey on package deliveries. They also act as a kind of caller ID for the front door. The best-known names here include Ring, Nest, and Vivint.

Nest and Ring also are among those suppliers of configurable, expandable do-it-yourself systems, as is SimpliSafe.

Professionally installed systems are still a specialty for venerable names like ADT and Brinks, and relative newcomer CPI.

The Price To Pay

A simple DIY video doorbell can cost from less than $15 to about $200, depending on the device.

According to HomeAdvisor, an average security system installation costs about $1,500. That webpage includes a project estimator that can give you a better idea based on what your system would include.

As for professionally installed and monitored home security systems, expect to pay from $300 to $1,600, according to ProtectAmerica, and then $30 or so a month for monitoring. Some also require long-term contracts.

So yes, there’s a price to pay. But just think of the convenience and safety. That’s why they’re called smart home security systems, after all.

And before you invest, don’t forget to check with Race to make sure you have the high-speed internet you need to power these wireless devices and more.

11 Jobs You Can Do from Home (That Aren’t MLMs)

Are you looking for flexible, part-time work that fits around your kids’ busy schedules? Are you dreaming of kissing that long commute goodbye? Do you want to work without interruption from coworkers (unless that “coworker” is your adorable, furry pet)?

If so, then remote work just might be for you. And you don’t have to join an MLM and sell products to friends on Facebook to make it happen! Read on to discover 11 jobs you can do from home with just a computer and a strong internet connection from Race.

#1: Personal/Virtual Assistant

Help business owners with various admin tasks like scheduling meetings, booking travel arrangements, posting to social media, answering emails, and more—all from the comfort of your home office.

#2: Data Entry Specialist

With an eye for detail and at least a touch of tech-savviness (no college degree required!), you can work from home by entering written data into computers for businesses that need help staying organized and up-to-date.

#3: Transcriptionist 

Especially common in the legal and medical fields, work-from-home transcriptionists listen to audio recordings of interviews, meetings, speeches, and more, then type a written account of what they hear.

#4: Customer Service Representative

Answer questions, troubleshoot problems, take orders, and more as a remote customer service representative. Some positions will require you to take phone calls, while others may simply demand you answer emails and engage in chat conversations with customers. 

#5: Copywriting and Editing 

Not to be confused with the legal world of copyrights, a copywriter writes and edits blogs, articles, press releases, marketing emails, website copy, and more for businesses in need of the written word.

#6: Photography

Many photographers start by capturing memories for friends and family, but if you want to work only from home (rather than at weddings and in local parks), consider offering product photography for businesses or working as a freelance editor for other photographers.

#7: Graphic Designer

Graphic designers can work remotely for a company or freelance for clients to design everything from logos to brochures to websites. While a college degree can be helpful, it’s also possible to learn the skills you need through affordable or free online courses.

#8: Artist/Maker

Do you love making jewelry? Home decor? Clothing? Leather goods? Whether you’re a professional artist or a talented hobbyist, sites like Etsy make it easy to set up an online shop and sell your handmade work to customers around the world. 

#9: Teacher/Tutor

Make a difference in the life of a child as a remote teacher or tutor. You can work full-time for an online school or use sites like VIPkid and Tutor.com to find part-time work that fits your schedule.

#10: Bookkeeper/Accountant

Help businesses track financial transactions as a bookkeeper or take on more responsibility (think handling taxes and big-picture planning) as a professional accountant. Both roles can be done from home, and there’s no shortage of businesses that could use your help.

#11: Rental Host

Turn your knack for hosting into a work-from-home gig when you list your home (or even just a few rooms) on sites like Airbnb or Vrbo. Plus, this can be a fun way to meet new people and help visitors to your town make memories they’ll treasure forever!

How to Find Work from Home Jobs

Are you ready to embrace the benefits of working from home? Sites like Upwork or Freelancer make it easy to find and apply for short-term or part-time roles with businesses all over the world. If you’re looking for a steady, full-time position, sites like Remote are a good place to start.

No matter which work-from-home job you’re hoping to land, remember that you’ll need reliable internet to make it happen. Call Race today to make sure you have the connection you need to make your work-from-home dreams come true!

The Fab Four of Peer-to-Peer Payment Providers

Long gone are the days when friends ended a group lunch by scrounging around for the correct change to split the bill. Today, the internet makes it easy to send money to a friend in seconds—all online and all from the palm of your hand.

Thanks to the speed and convenience of online peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, researchers estimate that 126 million Americans will be using mobile devices to send money to friends in 2020. If you’re curious about these services but aren’t sure where to start, this article is for you. Read on to learn how P2P payment providers can make your life easier and compare four of the most popular options you can tap into today.

What You Need to Know

PTP providers are designed to make it easy to send and receive money from friends. Most require an email address or phone number to get started. Once setup is complete, you can send payments through deposit (savings or checking), credit card, or prepaid card accounts.

Some services will also allow you to hold funds within the account itself to cut down on the time it takes for money to swap hands. Fees vary, as does the length of time it takes for the funds to hit the recipient’s account. Some providers still make you wait a day or two, but increasingly, the money’s there in real time or close to it.

So whether you’re splitting a restaurant bill, paying a babysitter, or sending some cash to Junior at college, P2P apps and websites can make your life easier. Here are some of the most popular players you can try.

#1: PayPal

First on our list is PayPal, the undisputed pioneer of peer-to-peer. Its roots date to 1998, when it served as a payment provider for eBay, the online auction giant. When you send friends or family money via your U.S.-based bank account or PayPal balance, transactions are free. They do, however, charge for credit card transactions, so keep that in mind when setting up your account and preferred payment methods.

#2: Venmo

Venmo is a mobile app owned by PayPal but designed with a social media flair that makes it popular with younger generations. The app features a news feed of sorts that shows when and where friends are using the app (but not how much they’re spending). Like PayPal, Venmo is free to use unless you opt to fund your payments via credit card.

#3: Zelle

Like the first two options, Zelle makes it easy to safely and securely send money directly to friends and family. Rather than being a standalone service, Zelle is a creation of the nation’s biggest banks and their technology partner, so it’s generally accessed through a bank or credit union’s mobile or online banking site.

This means the service may already be available to you through your bank’s app or website, and you won’t need to download a new app to use it. (If your bank doesn’t offer Zelle, however, there is still an app you can download and connect to your debit card.) And rather than offering a middleman account like some of the other providers do, Zelle sends money directly from one bank account to another.

#4: Facebook Messenger

When Facebook first gave its vast user base the ability to send cash payments through its Messenger chat service in March 2015, use quickly soared past a million payments a day. Today, PayPal has been integrated into the app’s payment service, making it even easier to use.

Users love how simple it is to split payments among multiple users in Messenger. On the other hand, funds availability can vary and payments can take longer than when you use a service like Zelle, which immediately moves money into deposit accounts.

If these popular providers still don’t meet your needs, don’t give up. Other players that can simplify your life include digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay or Cash App, the P2P service from small-business payments specialist Square.

Whatever you choose, remember that online payments of any kind rely on seamless, reliable cellular or internet service. Call Race today to make sure you have the fastest and most secure connection available.

Design Your Dream Office at Home with These Smart Devices

Ready for a break from awkward office parties, loud typists, and coworkers who microwave fish? If so, it’s time to build your dream office at home with fast, reliable internet from Race, and these great “work from home” smart devices.

Start with the Smart Speaker

As the hub that controls other smart devices, a smart speaker serves as the keystone of your home office. The Google Home speaker, available for $129, is a good option if you use Google services such as Google Contacts and Google Calendar. Synching well with Google apps, the hub’s voice assistant excels at handling documents on Google Drive and making phone calls with Google Home. At a list price of $99.99, an Amazon Echo smart speaker with the Alexa assistant is another good choice for work-related tasks, such as managing a calendar and making to-do lists.

Select the Right Smart Printer

Although businesses continue to go paperless, you still occasionally need to print hard copies. Smart printers allow you to print directly from cloud services such as Google Cloud Print and Apple’s AirPrint. Consider your usage when selecting a printer. For low-to-moderate use, affordable options from Canon’s All-In-One inkjet series can set you up for just under $100. For greater volume, the Brother MFC-J985DW-XL offers faster printing and higher ink capacity at an affordable cost of $288.

Streamline Audio with Smart Earbuds

You need not show up on Skype meetings with a bulky headset that makes you look like a cargo pilot. Upgrade to smart earbuds. With built-in microphones, Bluetooth-connected earbuds sync with virtual assistants to handle voice commands. Smart devices such as Bragi Dash Pro earbuds, at a cost of $290, enable bilingual business conversations through integration with iTranslate. For a less expensive option, Tom’s Guide gives good marks to ENACFIRE E18 earbuds, which you can pick up for around $50.

Track Work with a Smart Timekeeper

Say goodbye to traditional time sheets. Smart devices such as the TimeFlip multi-sided die can keep track of your work. Designate each of the die’s sides to different tasks, such as emails and meetings, or different clients and projects, and flip the device to the corresponding side as you perform each task. You can get a TimeFlip on Amazon for about $50.

To keep everything running smoothly, you need a good internet connection. If you want to future-proof your office, gigabit internet from Race, which offers speeds up to 50 times faster than cable broadband, is the smart choice. So beef up your internet, set up your smart system, and trade in the traditional work environment for your dream home office.