Smart Devices for Senior Safety

As we age, safety and security tend to become our number one priority. But aging in place isn’t always easy. That’s why many seniors are turning to smart devices to help themselves and their loved ones feel more secure at home.

Smart Devices for Seniors

Smart home devices can be an invaluable asset and an extension of your in-person support network. We all need a support network—mental, physical, and emotional—but this need becomes particularly pronounced as we get older. We start to encounter more issues with vision, hearing, stability, strength, and memory, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to give up on independent living. That’s why having in-home smart devices can be such a boon for older adults. These devices include built-in speaker systems, cameras, smoke and CO2 detectors, locks, lights, and so much more.

The best part about smart devices is that they can be controlled from almost anywhere in the house using voice commands. If there is a smart speaker device in the same room, you can use your voice to control the system effortlessly. Alternatively, smart devices can be operated remotely using an app. The app can be used by anyone with the owner’s permission. This effectively allows other members of the support system to check on the home and their loved ones inside.

Security

Say, for instance, that you’re away from home on vacation but are concerned about the security of your home. With smart devices like exterior cameras, a smart lock, and a smart security system, it’s incredibly easy to look in on the house, review security footage, and check the lock. Or maybe you forgot to set the alarm system before leaving. Well, with a remotely accessible security system, you can easily program the alarm from wherever you are.

Voice Assistance

With smart speakers and voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, you have total control over your home, just using the power of your voice. You can use voice assistants for simple, everyday tasks like playing music, compiling a grocery list, or calling your children. You can set alarms, look up recipes, and even set up scheduled reminders for your medication.

Smart Lights

When pairing your voice assistant with other smart devices like smart bulbs, you can even control the lights. With smart lights, you can turn the lights on and off with a simple voice command or the press of a phone button and even program the lights to follow a pre-programmed schedule. 

Smart Thermostat

Another incredible innovation in smart home devices is the smart thermostat. Using your remote device, you can easily adjust the temperature to suit your preference. That means no more waiting for the air conditioning to cool the house down when you return from out of town or fumbling with the thermostat in the middle of the night.

Aging may not be for the faint of heart, but smart devices can make it easier. To operate smart devices in your home, all you need is a little patience and a working high-speed internet connection from PMT. Don’t miss out on all the opportunities and benefits home smart devices can provide!

Plus, feel free to stop by our demo center at the Rupert office and come see many of these smart devices in action.

Business Spotlight: Kimberly Nurseries

Business Spotlight: Kimberly Nurseries

Wind.  This was the driving force that started Kimberly Nurseries over 100 years ago.  In 1907, Kimberly Nurseries was born out of a necessity for trees for the Magic Valley settlers to use for windbreaks and fruit trees.  Since then, Kimberly Nurseries has grown and diversified.

Fast forward to today, and Kimberly Nurseries specializes in designing and installing landscaping throughout the Magic Valley. From new builds to renovations, commercial to residential, small budgets to large, Kimberly Nurseries’ goal is to bring their clients’ outdoor vision to life.  In addition to landscaping, Kimberly Nurseries also does sprinklers and irrigation, as well as landscape maintenance.

Kimberly Nurseries works hard to be the best in the landscape industry.  They are the only landscape business in Idaho that is accredited with the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).  Being a NALP member means that the Kimberly Nurseries team is certified in landscape installs, hardscapes, softscapes, and irrigation.  Kimberly Nurseries ensures their team is trained and educated to offer the best value to their customers. “Anyone with a wheel-barrow and shovel can say they are a landscaper,” says Kimberly Nurseries General Manager John Williams, “but at Kimberly Nurseries, we want to offer the best value to our clients.  We are professional and offer a quality job, so it will grow and last well into the future of our client’s needs.  That is where the value is.”

Kimberly Nurseries saw the value of PMT and switched their communication services to PMT. As more of their office applications, software and communications with client moves to cloud based, a steady, reliable Internet connection is a must.  The pandemic brought on the need for a strong upload speed to do virtual meetings with clients and interview potential employees throughout the country.  In addition to Internet, PMT also provides their phone system, and local and long-distance calling over our fiber-optic network. “PMT provides us with the best quality communications,” states Williams, “They are very professional and provided a smooth transition. We are pleased we switched our service provider to PMT.”

In the words of Warren Buffett, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” If you are looking for value in the landscape industry, look no further than Kimberly Nurseries.  If you need communication services for your home or office, we hope you look to PMT.

Business Spotlight: 2nd South Market

Business Spotlight: 2nd South Market

In 2017, while on a family vacation in Denver, Colorado, Dave Buddecke mistakenly went through the wrong door. What he saw on the other side of that door filled him with a vision of something that he had to bring back home. On the other side of the door was a food hall – something that Dave nor the rest of his family had ever experienced before. After enjoying a beer and people watching for about an hour, Dave went and got the rest of his family to come to see the special place he had stumbled upon.

Dave and his wife Lisa came back from their trip, and they could not shake the experience they had at the food hall in Denver. Together they decided that they would open up 2nd South Market, the first food hall in Idaho. In 2019 they purchased the vacant Salvation Army Building in downtown Twin Falls and got to work renovating the building. They kept and repurposed as much as they could of the historic building. The open and light-filled building houses seven unique vendors: Lucy’s New York Style Pizzeria, Poke & Sushi Hut, The Tap House, Full Steam Espresso, Cloverleaf Creamery, Rosti Xpress Mexican Food, and The Smokey Bone. 2nd South Market is located at 210 2nd Ave South in Twin Falls.  They are open every day of the week. To see the unique menus of each vendor and their hours, visit www.2ndsouthmarket.com.

Once they started their remodel, Dave came to PMT for their communication needs. “I have had PMT services in other businesses I have worked with, and I knew they would take care of us,” states Dave. PMT provides 2nd South Market with phone lines and a fiber optic Internet connection.  PMT has setup a managed Wi-Fi network so there is a secure private connection that the vendors can use to process credit cards and run their point-of-sale systems, as well as a public network that guests can enjoy during their dining experience.  With managed Wi-Fi from PMT, 2nd South Marketyoutuvb can rest assured that their Wi-Fi network is being taken care of by professionals, and they can focus on their business.

Dave and Lisa have truly created a unique indoor and outdoor dining experience in Twin Falls. The open space is a comfortable, family-friendly place to dine. Everyone can get the food they desire and connect over their meal in the large open seating area.

Thank you, 2nd South Market, for trusting PMT to connect you.

PMT Foundation Accepting Grant Applications

The PMT Foundation is seeking applications from organizations in the Magic Valley to receive financial funds that help support, sustain, and improve our community.  Favorable consideration will be given to:

  • Projects that reach a broader segment of the community.
  • Requests for seed money to realize unusual opportunities that meet urgent to special needs in the community.
  • Stimulate and encourage additional funding for community projects.
  • Promote cooperation and partnerships within the community.

The deadline to submit grant applications is August 20, 2021.

2021 PMT Foundation Grant Applications are available at www.pmt.org or PMT offices in Burley or Rupert.

For more information contact Rick Harder at (208) 434-7124.

About the PMT Foundation

The PMT Foundation was created in 2006 by the PMT Board of Directors as a charitable foundation. The Foundation furthers education in communities served by Project Mutual Telephone through its scholarship program and supports projects and programs that sustain and improve those communities.

To date, the Foundation has helped over 56 area students with funding to further their education beyond high school by continuing the scholarship tradition that PMT established in 1990.  The Foundation has contributed over $220,000 in grant awards to community organizations that help sustain and improve our local community through various projects.

2020 Recipients

2019 Recipients

2018 Recipients

2017 Recipients

2021 PMT Foundation Scholarship Awards

Four Magic Valley graduates will each be awarded a $2000 PMT Foundation Scholarship. They are Kent Merrill, Maisie Neilson, and Hana Pfeiffer of Minico High School and Jeremy Case of Twin Falls High School.  All four showed outstanding academic performance, exemplary community and extra-curricular involvement, and dedication to their future education.

 

PMT Foundation Board President Marianne Welch stated, “The scholarship committee was very impressed with the exceptional applications we received this year. We appreciate that so many graduating seniors across the entire Magic Valley and Mini-Cassia areas participate in our scholarship application process every year. I’m confident the outstanding efforts of these seniors throughout high school will be a strong foundation for their success in college and beyond. On behalf of the PMT Foundation Board, I want to extend sincere congratulations to our 2021 scholarship winners and wish them all the best!”

 

Jeremy Case is a determined graduate of Twin Falls High School, where he worked hard both in and out of the classroom while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  He has been highly involved in 4-H, FFA, and Business Professionals of America and works part-time.   Jeremy plans on attending Utah State University, majoring in Molecular Biology with minors in Chemistry and Spanish.  He plans to further his education and earn a Ph.D. in Biotechnology.

 

Kent Merrill of Minico High School is a hardworking student, athlete, and community volunteer.  Throughout his high school career, he maintained a 4.0 GPA while taking a rigorous course load, student government, and high school athletics. He plans on attending Idaho State University this fall, where he plans to study mathematics and science.

 

Maisie Neilson is a Minico High School graduate who finished her high school career with a 3. 8 GPA and an associate’s degree from CSI. Maisie was involved in softball, cheerleading, and the National Honors Society.  Maisie also received the Health Hero award for spreading awareness about the dangers of vaping and tobacco use to children and youth. In addition to her schooling, Maisie also worked part-time.  Maisie is enrolling in the College of Idaho’s pre-law program and studying political science. After her undergraduate work, she plans on attending law school.

 

Hana Pfeiffer finished top of her class at Minico High School with a 4.0 GPA.  Hana is highly involved both in the classroom and in her community.  She served in student government, was President of Minico’s National Honor Society, was involved in yearbook and 4-H, and is a Healthy Teen Living Advocate. Outside the classroom, Hana is involved in dance and volunteering her time in the community.  In addition, Hana works part-time and served as a Senate Page for the 2021 Idaho Legislative Session.  Hana will attend the College of Idaho, majoring in Environmental Economy with minors in Environmental Science, Criminal Justice, and Natural Resources. After earning her undergraduate degree, she has her eyes set on law school.

In its 15th year of existence, the PMT Foundation’s creation was authorized by the PMT Board of Directors as a charitable foundation to support worthy community projects and educational scholarships. The PMT Foundation furthers education in communities served by PMT through its scholarship program and supports projects and programs that sustain and improve those communities through community grants.

Online Learning Resources for the Summer Break

Summer learning loss is a real thing, and it’s actually a big problem for students returning to classrooms in the fall. Believe it or not, the concept of summer learning loss has been puzzling education researchers for over 100 years – studies on the subject date back as far as 1906!

 

Learning is a lifelong process. Yes, even during the summer break! Although your child may be free from the constraints of the classroom, a high-speed internet connection from PMT can keep them learning all summer long.

 

Free At-Home Summer Learning Resources

Free at-home summer learning resources are an excellent substitute for students in the off-season. It helps kids retain their classroom-taught subjects and skills, and aids in brain elasticity. Plus, it’s much more budget-friendly than enrolling kids in summer school.

And these resources don’t have to be just for summer. For all your at-home learning needs, here are a few awesome—and free!—online resources for all subject areas.

 

NSLA

 The Nova Scotia Library Association (NSLA) has compiled an incredible and comprehensive list of remote learning resources, so we would be remiss not to recommend their page. Fortunately, you can access the online tools even if you don’t live in Canada. The NSLA’s resources cover a wide variety of subjects, from literacy to arts to STEM, and are available for kids of all ages. There are simply too many resources to list here, so we’ll let you take a look for yourself!

 

Read Think Write

Read Think Write’s Summer Trading Cards activity is a nifty tool for engaging kids with the written word. Even if your child loves to read, this educational game will help them digest and analyze the text more thoroughly while exploring their own creativity and imagination. What’s great about this is that kids also have full license to get crafty and artistic with the cards and learn more about the world around them. Theoretically, this could work for kids of all ages but probably best-received by younger kids.

 

Newsela 

 There are plenty of magazines for kids—think Owlkid’s magazines featuring magazines based on age—and informational websites like National Geographic Kids targeted to the younger demographic. But what about news sites? Finding child-friendly news outlets can be tricky because, well, so much of what goes on in our world isn’t child-friendly. That’s why Newsela is such an excellent tool. You join as a student, teacher, or parent, and the app lets you filter real-world news results based on age and grade. Your children can explore the news safely and satisfy their curiosity.

 

Other Ideas

 Summer learning doesn’t always happen in front of a book or a computer. Depending on your child’s interests and capabilities, why not try different outdoor activities to promote learning?

  • Gardening is a good way to teach kids about biology, horticulture, and food. Plus, it’s a great exercise in patience and caregiving.
  • Geocaching is a fun treasure hunt game that involves physical activity, problem-solving, and coordinate mapping.
  • Or check out some of these NatureBridge activities for more outdoor learning ideas.

Are you feeling excited about learning this summer? Us too! But to take advantage of all these amazing resources, you’ll need a powerful high-speed internet connection from PMT.  And don’t worry, with MiHome and our handy app, you are in control of your kids access to the internet. You can set up schedules for internet access, or with the press of a button, you can grant or deny access.  Get the most out of your summer, and contact PMT.

 

PMT Recognized as NTCA ‘Marketing eXcellence Award’ Winner

Arlington, Va., (May, 2021)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today recognized Project Mutual Telephone (PMT) as the winner of the NTCA Marketing eXcellence Award in the publications category.

PMT’s winning entry was a Back-to-School Resource magazine that was distributed to all students in Cassia County School District and Minidoka County School District.

  The magazine was full of information to support students and parents as they transitioned back to school during the pandemic.

PMT is a member of NTCA, the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies in rural communities across America. The Marketing eXcellence Awards recognize the vital role marketing, sales and communications play in the broadband industry and are announced annually at NTCA’s Marketing + Sales Conference. 

“In a year when everything had to pivot online, connections with customers have played an even more vital role,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “I want to commend all of NTCA’s members for their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and especially PMT. Thank you for your contributions to your communities and to our industry.” 

“This award was the icing on the cake,” states Stephanie Mickelsen, PMT Marketing Coordinator.  “With so many unknowns as we transitioned back to school during the pandemic, our number one goal was to help provide useful information for families regarding technology and resources that are available to help keep families connected and learning inside and outside of the classroom during this unusual year.” 

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovative change in smart rural communities across America. In an era of transformative technological developments, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are advancing efforts to close the digital divide by delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks. Their commitment to building sustainable networks makes rural communities fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at www.ntca.org.

Project Mutual Telephone, a customer-owned co-op, has been serving the Magic Valley since 1916. Today, PMT is a full-service communication company, providing high-speed internet, local and long-distance telephone service, cable television, IPTV, business phone systems, networking, and managed services.  Our members enjoy one of the finest communication systems available in the nation, supported by award-winning customer service. From the live, local person who answers your call to the knowledgeable technician who comes to your door, PMT connects you.

What Is the Difference Between Bandwidth and Latency?

Most of us understand the basics of the Internet – just enough to log onto Wi-Fi and maybe turn the router on and off when it starts to malfunction.

However, are you familiar with the terms ‘bandwidth’ and ‘latency’? If you’re not, that’s okay – you’re not alone! Both terms are related to your Internet’s ability to send and receive data, but despite their similarities, they refer to two very different concepts. So, what’s the difference between them, and why should they matter to you?

 

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is a word that is thrown around a lot when discussing Internet function. Many people assume it just means ‘Internet speed,’ but that’s not exactly true. Bandwidth is essentially how much data can move from network point A to point B in a given amount of time.

Think of your bandwidth as a high-speed motorway with, say, three lanes. When an average number of cars are on the highway, everything is going smoothly, and the cars are moving at a good clip. But when it’s rush hour—that is, you’re trying to download something with more data than your bandwidth can handle—the highway gets congested. The traffic bottlenecks then slows to a crawl.

 

Latency

On the other hand, latency refers to the amount of time it takes for the signal to get from point A to point B and then travel back again. The lower the latency, the better your Internet will be because it means there’s less time between when you take your action and when you see the result.

For instance, think about when you do a Google search. You enter your query into the taskbar, click ‘enter,’ and then you wait. If you have low latency, the search engine will return your answer within milliseconds. But if you have higher latency, you might end up waiting a few seconds – or even longer – while the Internet retrieves your data. The ‘ping’ you sent is traveling, and you have to wait until it reaches the server, collects what you need, and makes its way back to you.

 

How Bandwidth and Latency Affect You

Both bandwidth and latency can affect the speed of your Internet but in different ways. If you’re a gamer, you’re likely already familiar with ‘lag,’ which is when you perform an action, but it takes a few moments for that entry to manifest in the game. This is a latency issue, as most of the assets you need to game are already loaded onto your computer, and therefore very little bandwidth is needed. Conversely, if you’re trying to stream a show online, but it keeps buffering or appears infuriatingly grainy and broken, that’s likely an example of low bandwidth. All that content has to squeeze its way down the digital superhighway.

Unfortunately, both bandwidth and latency issues can be a result of subpar high-speed Internet or a package that doesn’t fit your online needs anymore. If you want the best Internet experience available, you’ll want to determine how many devices you are using and in what manner.  It may be time to look at upgrading your connection. If you need help determining what Internet package will work best for you, we’re here to help!

Transform Your Backyard Into a “Connected” Oasis

People are spending more time than ever at home this summer. It’s the perfect opportunity to use smart technology to transform your deck, patio, or other outdoor space into a “connected” oasis. All you need is a strong internet connection from PMT and a few essentials listed below to become the envy of the neighborhood.

 

Get the party going with perfect outdoor speaker

Whether you’re enjoying some downtime in your backyard or hosting a few friends for a “socially distanced” celebration, music should be part of the mix. But what smart speaker will do justice to your summer playlist?

Luckily, an array of highly durable options are now on the market:

  • The UE Megaboom 3 is a highly portable Bluetooth speaker that can easily be toted from patio to poolside. Its sound quality is respectable. Its battery lasts for 20 hours. And at $150 to $200, it’s one of the more reasonably priced speakers that can hold up to summer heat and pool splashes.
  • If you’ve got the outdoor space and are looking for something more substantial, consider the Polk Atrium 4. For roughly the price of the Megaboom, you’ll get a pair of speakers that produce high-quality sounds that can be heard over party chatter and kids playing in the pool.
  • Wanting to go all out? Sonos Move produces unrivaled, stereo-quality sound for up to 10 hours. Its wide soundscape, paired with the speakers’ easy switch from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi make it easy to see that it’s the leader of the class. But keep in mind, this speaker is an investment at about $400.

 

Keep that landscaping looking lush

No backyard paradise would be complete without beautiful, lush landscaping. But who wants to keep up with the watering? That’s where smart watering apps come in.

One of our favorites? For around $60, the Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer will turn your hose faucet into a programmed sprinkler system in minutes. And its app will give you insight into water consumption from your smartphone or tablet. Want to change up your irrigation schedule? Alexa will take your voice command and get it done.

If you have a sprinkler system, you may want to update your controller to something that is WiFi enabled like the Rachio Smart Controller, so you can monitor, control, and receive feedback all from the touch of your phone.

 

Keeping your paradise cool.

Outdoor spaces quickly become unusable during the heat of the day. Too many homeowners must crawl behind patio furniture or through bushes to turn on their fans, misters and other small appliances.

There’s a much better way thanks to a growing line of new smart plugs, including the iHome control iSP100 outdoor smart plug. Pair this $40 water-resistant plug with Alexa, Siri,  Nest or other platforms to turn on your device with a voice command. You can also set it for specific times on certain days and never worry again about keeping the party going.

Plugs aren’t the only thing getting in the smart game. Smart bulbs like the Eufy Lumos offer on-demand dimming and can even create color schemes.

 

Light up the night.

When the sun goes down, it’s time for outdoor areas to shine.

A growing line of smart lighting can highlight your foot paths, flowerbeds, and water features. Some can even turn your outdoor area into a wonderland of color.

One of the most popular choices: Philips Hue lighting can be set to change brightness and yes, even color. Choose from Tropical Twilight, Arctic Auroro and others to set your backyard mood. Use Hue’s smartphone app or Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant to control the system.

 

Big screens for movie night

Whether it’s snuggling up to stream a romantic movie or laughing at silly YouTube videos with the kids, outdoor TVs are quickly becoming outdoor must-haves. Weather-resistant models, such as those made by Sunbrite, allow you to enjoy your show without worrying about rain, humidity or the sprinkler system destroying your TV.

These outdoor devices, paired with fast and reliable Internet from PMT, will ensure a fun summer in your backyard paradise!

 

2021 PMT Employee of the Year Announced & Other Awards

Jose Alonzo was announced as Employee of the Year for 2021 at PMT’s Annual Awards Banquet. Jose has been with PMT for six years. Jose began his career at PMT as an Installation and Repair Technician, working with primarily residential customers.  He then transitioned to his current role as an Advanced Service Technician.

As an Advanced Service Technician, Jose focuses on providing communications services to businesses.  This includes installing and supporting business-class Internet, phone service, phone systems, cable TV, networking, alarm systems, and more.

“Jose is an asset to not only PMT but all the business customers he serves.  This past year, he has spent a considerable amount of time being trained and certified to stay up-to-date on the latest phone systems and cloud services.  Jose does an outstanding job, all with a smile,” states Matt Lyman, PMT Outside Plant Manager.

Jose and his wife, Denys, live in Rupert and are busy raising their family.  When not a work, Jose enjoys wrestling, boxing, and spending time with his family.

Congratulations Jose!  Thanks for your dedication and keep up the great work!

 Other highlights from the Awards Party include Kimberly Garcia receiving the President’s Award, and many employees recognized for excellent performance by their managers.

The following employees were also recognized for milestone service anniversaries:

  • Leonard Nelmida – 5 years of service
  • Kamy Fuller – 10 years of service
  • Katrina Black – 10 years of service
  • Aaron Draper – 20 years of service
  • Kaylene Uscola – 20 years of service
  • Teresa Allen – 20 years of service
  • Lesa Rabe – 30 years of service

 

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