VR-Events is a Virtual Reality and 360 production company based in Cape Town. They are pioneering innovative ways to experience and interact with education, entertainment and the working environment through virtual reality.
VR-Events is changing the way we view and interact with the world. Working closely with their software team, they specialise in creating bespoke Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences, tailormade for industries such as commercial marketing, real estate, education and live entertainment.
Their ultra-high-definition video and photographic 360°/VR content not only affords potential real estate buyers the luxury of viewing residential properties from the comfort of their own homes or offices, but it also gives the seller peace of mind, as it renders open/show houses redundant.
VR-Events offers clients a variety of specialised services. Along with their internationally renowned partner, RenderHeads, they create bespoke VR, AR, 360 and other interactive solutions. In collaboration with South Africa’s best production companies and artists, VR-Events set out to create the most immersive commercials ever. In partnership with UCT and other international institutions, they are also developing new ways of learning and educating.
Customers can also count on VR-Events for live streaming solutions for any type of event and can also conveniently take your photography and videography projects to new heights.
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Belinda and Garith recently swapped their 80 square meter apartment for a 1080 square meter free standing home. The smart couple shares their thoughts on doing it yourself and saving time and money by using readily available apps.
As enthusiastic DIY’s they took a hands-on approach from fixing up, to building furniture and especially making life easier with smart technology when they moved into their first house. “Although the house was 80 per cent fine, we still needed to do a few things to make it ours,” says Belinda. According to her, one of the most satisfying things about DIY is seeing the progress and feel of the home changing room by room. Her best advice on doing it yourself is to gauge your skill level with the task at hand, sometimes it is more affordable to save and buy than DIY. She adds with a giggle “Those how-to videos sometimes really make it look easier than it is!”.
Garith’s again could not wait to turn everyday tedious chores like watering the garden into an automated process. “We put a lot of energy into our house and I believe the house needs to give back, and with automation, we get to see that” remarks Garith.
Garith, an ardent IOT fan, thinks home automation is a real fun thing to do and that your imagination is the only limit to how far you’re willing to take it. He explains; “I simply started because I wanted to automate watering my garden rather than spending time in the evenings with a hose pipe. Now instead of spending an hour or so in the garden, the garden is watered automatically and only when needed”.
Irrigation on low garden moisture levels was only the first step and since their automation project has grown to include notifications on external gates or garage doors being open at night, switching on lights based on internal security sensors, regulating a room’s temperature and turning the geyser on only twice a day.
Garith’s DIY Home Automation Tips
Home Assistant to control smart devices. “There are others, but Home Assistant is what we use. To get started, search on Youtube for Home Assistant, there are a ton of beginner Video’s, “The Hookup” and “Drzzs” are my go-to’s”.
There are various brands for smart switches to control your lights, lamps, garage door, gate motor, heaters and pool pumps. Garith’s choice was Sonoff devices as he found them to be popular, affordable and easy to use with plenty of local suppliers. There are also plenty of Youtubers to get tips from. “There is another smart switch brand also worth checking out called Shelly, they’re a little more expensive but also have a great range”.
For irrigation automation, his choice fell on Smartkit which uses OpenSprinkler to control the taps (or solenoids) for his zones.
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SmartKit was established in 2017 to provide quality home automation at affordable prices. We represent brands such as SONOFF, and our own OpenIrrigation; in addition to selling EZVIZ, LifeSmart and Amazon Echo. We spoke to Tim Gaul from SmartKit and discovered some pretty neat facts about smart homes.
A Beginner’s Guide
According to Tim, the quickest way to get involved in home automation is by using their “plugin devices”. The SONOFF Micro, SONOFF Slampher and SONOFF S26 smart plug will allow you to begin benefiting from the eWelink ecosystem within minutes. SONOFF products do not require any additional bridges or hubs, only a WiFi connection. You can plug the device in, pair it with your smartphone and be up and running with your first smart home installation.
Affordable and Achievable
“Gone are the days of costly, hard-wired smart home solutions – you already have all the infrastructure required to begin your smart home journey”, says Tim. As mentioned above, you can begin with “plugin devices”, move onto lighting with LED, light switch and dimmer controls, add power monitoring and react to environmental changes, such as temperature.
Tim continues “for the braver DIYer, you can control your pond, pool, garage, irrigation and gates – all from your smartphone or voice-enabled device. SONOFF now offers a home security solution with motion detection, door sensors and cameras. All devices are available for only a few hundred Rand or less”.
Use Technology Optimally
“With regards to our products, the most important thing about home automation is good WiFi. A second key factor would be to familiarise yourself with the integration of products such as Smart Scenes, IFTTT, Google Home and Amazon Alexa to extend the capabilities of your solution beyond simple on and off. Should you have this basic foundation for your ecosystem, you could greatly extend the capabilities of your smart home without much investment in more expensive solutions”.
Tim says his customers tend to be 30-somethings and upwards. “I believe this technology may be more affordable for older millennials (who are now homeowners) but it is by no means restricted to their age group”.
We asked Tim what he thinks a home cannot do without and he said every home needs a voice-controlled assistant. Alexa, for example, has a screen in the kitchen, presence all over the house and she even sits on the car dashboard!
2020 in a Nutshell
Currently, we only do deliveries and collections and purchases at our head office have been halted. Additionally, we have moved to a more chat-based system as the phone system has not been permanently manned since the beginning of the pandemic.
Our presence is now almost exclusively online, which allows us to continue trading – provided we are legally allowed to do so.
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SKYE HD is a home automation business based in Cape Town. The business started as a TV manufacturer and then evolved into home automation. They now cover all low voltage services for both commercial and residential clients and their CV includes hotels and homes all over South Africa. They offer a turnkey solution from design through to implementation.
Home automation or smart home solutions allows the homeowner to control his house from a central device.
Automation can be scaled down to a single room. There are systems available to control your lights/AV/curtains/blinds and aircon in a single room environment or a complete home.
SKYE HD specializes in electronics for your home and business. They assist with internet-related installations, audiovisual, automated curtains and blinds, lighting control, home cinemas, security cameras, access control and even your granny’s decoder. They have someone on call 24/7. They also understand that not everyone is tech-savvy and will design your system so that a small child or elderly person can easily navigate and control all the services in their home.
SKYE HD spends a lot of time researching products and visiting international shows in Europe and China. By doing so they can bring their clients the latest and greatest in technology.
The SKYE HD team has seen a big shift in technology, where large format LED screens have been used as residential TVs. They believe that these screens will soon become the all-purpose screens of the future. Cinemas will no longer require projectors and even your residential TV will be replaced by a modular LED screen. This will create a massive shift in the tech world.
They are also seeing massive companies fighting it out in the voice control space. Amazon with Alexa, Google with Google Home and Apple with Siri. More and more household electronics are being manufactured with these as standard features. Soon your house will be completely voice-controlled.
Simply share your favourite post by SKYE HD on Instagram or Facebook. Remember to tag them in your post. All the shared posts will go into a draw, and the winner will win a 40” Samsung smart tv. The draw happens on the 30th of September. Every share will count as an entry. T’s & C’s apply. “
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Agent Zero is a new company specialising in Internet of Things (IOT) products with smart door locks and sonar fish finders being their main focus. They strive to bring top quality products from around the world directly to the consumer. Find out more about the Agent Zero brand below.
If you are like us and wondering what IOT is, here you go. According to the Software Testing Help Website, it depends on two things to transform a normal device into IoT smart device.
The device can connect with the internet in any way.
The device is integrated with technology like sensors, functional software, some inbuilt technology that supports network connections and also actuators. When both these functionalities are combined an IoT device is formed. The market for IoT devices is expanding rapidly day by day and becoming more popular as well with the drastic increase in the number of users who use them daily.
Agent Zero’s two flagship products are the Igloohome range of smart door lock products and the deeper range of castable fish finders. Agent Zero is the official distributor for the Igloohome products in South Africa.
The range consists of the Mortise lock, the Deadbolt 2S lock, the Keybox and the Padlock. The Deadbolts 2S is the world’s slimmest and sleekest deadbolt and our top seller. The Deadbolt range is popular in Airbnb’s, guesthouses, apartment blocks, offices, lodges and holiday homes making it easy to allow visitors access without handing over keys when you are not available to do so.
The Padlock is the newest addition to the range and is taking off extremely well in the logistics and security industries. The impressive thing about the Igloohome products is that they do not use wi-fi, cannot be hacked and is not affected by load shedding. Igloohome products work on an algopin concept – the same concept that banks use for one-time pins.
Agent Zero is also the official distributor for Deeper Sonar Fish Finders. The Deeper Pro+ was the world’s first castable sonar GPS fish finder. They stock everything from entry-level Deeper devices to more advanced Deeper products. All the Deeper products have built-in WiFi with the Deeper Pro+ and Chirp+ boasting GPS. This device takes your fishing adventures to a whole new level – finding fish has never been so easy.
The impressive WiFi connection that enables great range and huge data transmission is what sets the Pro+ and Chirp+ apart is its integrated GPS. This function enables you to create real-time bathymetric maps of the site you’re fishing from both boat and shore. This allows you to pinpoint exact features in a way that was only previously possible using boat-mounted consoles.
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