It’s been a pretty busy week, probably best summed up by the 4 B’s – Birthdays, Bristol, Balloons and Bosch. Let me explain. As part of some work I’m doing with Bosch, we headed over to the West Country to visit the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – a stroke of luck meant that our few days away coincided with L’s 4th birthday.
In a perfect example of how to mix business with pleasure, we were able to explore Bristol, enjoy the Balloon Fiesta and check out some of the cool smart tech at Bosch’s trade stand at the Fiesta – the latter being the main reason for our visit, which I’ll come on to in a moment.
If you’ve not been before, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is a free four-day event at Ashton Court Estate – it was actually celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. As the name suggests, the main draw is the 150 or so hot air balloons that gather from across the globe to entertain the masses with balloon tethering, mass balloon lifts and the nightglow with fireworks. In addition, there’s plenty of other family entertainment in the form of funfair rides, a bandstand, trade stands and food stalls.
We spent most of the day and early evening at the Fiesta on the Thursday. L went on a few rides, we checked out some of the stalls, sampled some food and chilled out on the grass waiting to see the hot air balloons. Despite it being nice weather, it was a little too windy for the balloons to leave the ground, so we were instead treated to tethered balloons – this meant that the hot air balloons were inflated, but were restrained by ropes to stop them floating away.
It probably sounds like a stupid thing to say, but they were massive! We’d luckily managed to sit near where three of the balloons were being tethered, so we got a pretty cool view of them being readied and inflated. We’d hoped to stick around to see the nightglow in the evening where a handful of tethered balloons light up the night sky, but a full on day proved to be too much for a four-year old and six-month old (and their knackered parents!).
Whilst wandering around the Estate, we found the Bosch Smart Living Truck – the main purpose for our jaunt to Bristol. The truck – and it actually was a truck (!) – has been touring the country at events like The London Motor Show and the Great British Food Festival to give people the chance to check out the latest Bosch technology and smart products.
The Bosch Smart Living Truck is kitted out to look a bit like a typical family home – there’s a living room area, a kitchen, a utility room and an outside shed. It’s within these designated areas that the different technology products are showcased through demonstrations and hands-on experiences.
Being the owner of a Bosch lawnmower and grass trimmer, it tends to be the garden where I mainly think of Bosch products. However, despite knowing that they do this stuff, I was surprised at just what a huge range of garden and DIY power tools they offer. From Easyprune cordless secateurs to the GlassVAC window cleaner to the Indego robotic lawnmower, they’re all products designed to assist with fixing, removing, cutting and pruning. (Side note: I’m currently testing a Bosch Indego 400 Connect robotic lawnmower, so keep an eye out for that review).
Inside the truck, the first thing I looked at was Bosch’s Smart Home systems. I’m no stranger to smart home tech having tried out a couple of different solutions over the last few years, so it was interesting to see what Bosch brought to the table. As I expected, part of their offering was around home security – namely, combining motion detectors, smoke detectors, door/window contacts and indoor/outdoor cameras with an app to create an automated smart home surveillance system. I liked what I saw – particularly the new 360° Indoor Camera.
As well as this, Bosch has solutions for indoor climate, heating and lighting. Again, all of this can be managed via the app to allow you to automatically control regular processes in your home. For instance, you may wish for a light to come on at a set time or when a door opens, or you might want to set different temperatures in different rooms or turn off a radiator if a window is opened. All of which is possible with the Bosch products. Very clever stuff.
The next area we focused on was kitchen appliances – namely an oven, coffee maker, dishwasher, fridge and hob. These weren’t just your normal white goods though – they were smart! In reality, this means that they can be controlled with your voice (Alexa) when in the house or via a smartphone app when you’re out and about as they are WiFi enabled.
Although some may call this gimmicky, it does have really useful implications – you can make a cappuccino when lazing on the couch, preheat the oven on your way home from work or even check what’s in your fridge (as it has a camera!) when you’re at the supermarket. It’s like the future…today!
The final area of the Bosch Smart Living Truck we looked at was the utility room. In here, we had a steam generator iron, which allows you to iron any garments without having to adjust the temperature, and a cordless vacuum cleaner, which has a really powerful suction that actually uses the same removable battery as Bosch drills. Hopefully you won’t get mixed up and vacuum with a drill or drill with a vacuum.
The two things that impressed me the most though were related to cleaning and drying clothes – something we do A LOT with kids. The first was a smart washing machine, which had WiFi and an intelligent dosing system – basically, this measures the right amount of detergent, water and water temperature to use to wash your clothes properly. Then there was the condenser tumble dryer, which uses heated air and doesn’t spin, thus providing a really efficient way of drying clothes and protecting delicate garments.
It was really cool to check out the Bosch Smart Living Truck and see what innovations and products they make. I was genuinely surprised at the vast array of products they offer and how they’re designed to make us live smarter – thus improving our lives by allowing us to focus on the things that matter. Does anyone really want to spend ages mowing the lawn manually anyway?!
As a huge lover of smart tech, I enjoyed having a gander at some of Bosch’s solutions and would more than happily have any of those products in my house (hint hint). In fact, maybe I should just sell the house and move us into the Smart Living Truck – there’s certainly enough to keep L and I entertained!
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Bosch.