Smart Home: Mindset and Products

Smart Home.

The new buzz word of 2017, and now 2018. You’ve all seen it. Products lining ads in webpages and flyers for Black Friday of last year touting “Google home!” and “Amazon Echo/Alexa!”.

I personally have tried a number of these basic items and have fallen in love with the simplicity of a smart home. Just don’t think about it too much or you might get a little weirded out…or a lot.

I started my smart home endeavor with just an Amazon Echo (first gen, refurb) for what at the time was a stellar deal on Woot!. This was amazing, mostly for the usefulness of having a music system, alarm, news, and reminder assistant all in one. Set up an alarm at 0700 to wake up, tell me the news, what’s tomorrow’s weather? It’s all handy to use. Fast forward to Amazon’s black friday and christmas sales this year, and now I have a number of Dots to complete the control factor. The audio isn’t nearly as good, but the price point (30 a pop at the time) makes a smart home very easy to afford for anyone.

So what’s a smart home without a little…well, smarts? I ended up adding various lightbulbs around the house using the TP Link Warm White Wifi bulbs. These mimic the light of incandescent bulbs and are very easy on the eyes. With this, you can also do voice control of levels of brightness and on/off. Kicking it up a little, I picked up a couple RGB bulbs with light stands and now can control my living room’s color with just voice commands.

Further down the smart home path, I added several wifi sockets to control various lights and LED strips I have around my home. Biggest perk here: Adding a group in the Alexa to turn off everything when I go to bed. I frequently forget lights constantly and now I can just control it all.

But, there is one functionality I enjoy the most for all of these: The scheduling.

Various rooms are set up to come on at certain times. Example: I wake up in the morning, my room is dimly light to get me moving, living room is on and so is kitchen. My lights then shut off on their own after I leave, and come on right before I come home from work. This both helps me not forget to turn off lights (saves power!) and if I’m not home, there’s a nice glow from the house to ward off unnecessary guests.

Now if only I could get my friends/family to stop changing the lights with voice whenever they come over…

Thoughts? Does anyone else use smart home gear or get weirded out by the invisible assistant running your life? Let me know in comments!

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