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Getting smarter with technology – video doorbells, mail snapshots and logistics photos

By Michelle Post, Ph.D.

Have you ever been expecting an important letter, but you never received it?  Or were you waiting for a package, but the email notification said it was delivered?  Thanks to advances in technology, there are gadgets, apps and services to help.  

Peekaboo, I see you (and can now talk to you)
Video doorbells are not the newest technology in home safety, but they are growing in popularity.  There are many brands that work in conjunction with your smartphone to let you see who is at the door even if you are not at home.  With some, motion sensors activate the technology and you can view in real-time what is happening at your front door.  The video doorbell works with your home’s Wi-Fi, and when someone pushes the bell, a chime goes off in the house like a real doorbell.  An added feature is the two-way communication feature.  It allows you to talk to the person through your smart phone without ever having to open the door and without even having to be home.  One concern with this technology is that it is only as good as your Wi-Fi and phone signals.

Spoiler alert – your tax refund check came today
According to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Informed Delivery allows you to view your mail before it is delivered.  You can now digitally preview a snapshot of your mail and manage package deliveries.  The USPS takes a photo of your letters and packages and posts those images to your online account.  To use the Informed Delivery service, you will need to create a free account, but if you already have a USPS account, there is no need to create another one.  Once you are signed up and your account has been verified, you will begin receiving images of your mail via a smartphone, tablet or computer.  Just log into and start interacting with your mail.

The scavenger hunt is over
Amazon is testing its new Logistics Photo on Delivery service.  When an Amazon delivery personnel leaves a package at your home, he or she will take a picture of the location of your package.  Amazon will then send you an email with confirmation of the delivery, including a photo of where the package was placed.  This service is helping homeowners to know where and when they received their package(s).

Being better informed about what is happening around your home or office can protect you and your property, and technology can be an important part of that process if you embrace it.



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