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Send your kids back to school with smart tech

Whether the kids are moving out for school, or are commuting and need a place for themselves at home, make their lives a little easier with the right combination of furniture, home accessories and the latest in home automation/smart tech gadgets. Here’s an overview to get you started!

The digital dorm at home

If you have a post-secondary student at home whose back-to-school list leaves you scratching your head, deciphering the needs from the wants, you’re not alone. Today’s “digital dorm room” supplies are a far cry from the alarm clocks, boom boxes, landline phones and posters we toted off to university in the ’80s, says Elaine Mah, Canadian director of marketing at Intel Canada.

“Today all of their needs can pretty much be taken care of with a smartphone and a two-in-one device and you’re good to go … but the last thing you want is your first-year student coming home at Thanksgiving and going ‘Wow! I think we need to buy another device because we didn’t pick the right one,” she says.

Back in the day, most prized smart tech gadgets came in the form of electronic typewriters and calculators. For students heading off to school this fall, it’s a PC or tablet, with nearly half of incoming students anticipating they will rely more on technology than they will on friends and family, according to a new Intel survey conducted by Uthink.

Intended to compare the technology needs and expectations of incoming post-secondary students to their parents’ experiences decades ago, the Intel survey revealed that nine out of 10 parents seek advice when it comes to what type of computer to purchase. To help sort out those requirements, Intel created its 2015 Back-to-School Buyer’s Guide to serve as a resource for the latest Intel-powered devices available.

Notebook with school supplies on a wooden background

Notebook with school supplies on a wooden background

Aside from tablets and smartphones, you can give your loved ones a hand by purchasing home automation smart tech gadgets that can make life easier. Did you know there’s such a thing as a smart coffee maker that you can program to brew a fresh cup from your phone? How about the lights that you can turn on and off with the touch of a button on that phone or tablet you just purchased? That and more is available through a home automation expert. Check out our directory to find a home automation expert to help you along with the buying process.

Back-to-School Guide

The guide breaks out a range of options according to field of study, and offers a “Good, Better, Best” approach so parents and students can decide what’s reasonable. Battery life and weight are important to consider if your student is going to be spending long days on campus. Anyone studying Digital Arts or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math should be concerned about processing power, memory and speed.

“Being able to have your device serve multiple functions is one of the things we’ve also asked parents to think about,” adds Mah. “Most young people now are streaming movies and music, signing up for digital services rather than paying for traditional cable.”

Whereas parents were likely to carry notebooks, binders, pencil cases and a library card in their school bag, students today get their course notes online and if a professor throws a slide up on the screen, they’re more likely to snap a photo of it than take notes by hand.

Let's face it: everything can get done on our phones and tablets!

Let’s face it: everything can get done on our phones and tablets!

Now for the appliances

Perhaps the only holdout from the past is the toaster oven or hot plate to heat up snacks and meals. Though these days, it’s so easy to order and pay for fast food deliveries through a smartphone, even those items might soon get left behind.

“There’s obviously a sense of nostalgia when we think back on our time at university but I think there’s more so a sense of envy in terms of what you’re sending your child with … a sense of ‘Gee. I wish I had that,’” says Mah.


Don’t forget to purchase the latest in appliances for your child’s upcoming school year. Visit our directory of appliance retailers to find one nearest you. Alternatively, you can find other helpful gadgets at any of these furniture and home accessories stores. It’s never too late!

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