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An Easy Foray Into a Smart Home
Home automation isn’t something I’ve gotten into before, mostly because of cost. However, last week was Amazon Prime Day and I bought an Echo Dot Kid’s Edition for my son, a 3rd Gen Echo Dot, and a Ring Video Doorbell for my wife and I.
My first venture into home automation came a couple of years ago in the form of Smart Plugs, aka wireless power sockets. I started as a skeptic, but I’ve since ordered another set. So why did I do a 180 after trying them for a few weeks?
When my wife mentioned these to me, I couldn’t see the need. At 6:45 am the next morning I was walking upstairs to fetch my 4-year-old son because he was too scared of the dark to get out of bed and come downstairs. Lying in bed under our weighted blanket a few minutes earlier trying to convince him to turn on his nightstand lamp, inspiration struck.
I ordered the 4-pack of WiFi sockets and a 2-pack of 3 Watt nursery light bulbs. The lightbulb itself is supposed to help children and infants sleep as it “blocks” blue light, but I wanted it because it’s not too bright. Like me.
Now if he calls to us in the pre-dawn hours, I can grab my phone or tell Alexa to turn his light on. After 2 months (now 2 years as of 2022) of use, I ordered a second 4-pack and now have all the lamps in our house hooked up. In fact, I was able to program a single button on the home page of the app that allows me, with one click, to turn on the upstairs lights in my office, his playroom, and his bedroom along with the entry lamp by the stairs and the floor lamp in the living room. Instant lighted path.
Alexa and Google Assistant Integration
Since the arrival of our echo dots this week, I’ve renamed the lights in the app to things he can remember because these sockets can be controlled via Alexa or Google Assistant. He can ask Alexa to “turn on the lights” and she will turn on the upstairs lamps along with the entryway and living room lamps.
I’ve also found the sockets useful because I can leave the lights on and turn them off with the Echo Dot after I get in bed. No more turning off the bedroom light, running, and jumping into bed so the monsters don’t grab my feet!
Smart Automation and Remote Features
You can program each one to come on individually at scheduled times which is great for when you’re out of town. The sockets can be controlled from anywhere in the world through the app.
The Smart Home app has the ability to turn each socket on and off through a myriad of conditions. They can be set to come on when you arrive home and turn off again when you leave, turn on and off based on a half dozen weather conditions, or even with the sunset and sunrise.
While there are uses for almost any plugged-in device, being able to control my lamps makes them worth the price by itself.