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Making your home a “Smart Home”

 

We now live in the age where AI assistants such as Google Home and Alexa are ready to help us in our homes. Sometimes we really do have to take a moment to realize that we ARE living in the future.

Before writing this blog, we surveyed our friends, clients and acquaintances about how they use their smart home devices (if they have any), and surprisingly, most just used it as a glorified speaker in their home and only a handful of them had integrated it with their daily routines. So here are some things that you can do to start making your home a smart home.

Morning routine:

Both our Google Home and Alexa have our custom morning routines saved when we start our day. For Google Home, we say “Ok Google, good morning” and she tells me about what I have on my calendar, how long it’ll take to drive to my first appointment, the weather outside and the news. And for Alexa, we say “Alexa, start my day” and she tells me something new (usually a fun little fact, this morning she said “Good morning, happy Monday. Here’s one way to make your Monday a dynamo, just re-arrange the letters”) the weather, traffic and the Flash Briefing. 

I use this routine every morning as I’m coming down the stairs into our living room and it plays as I let my dogs out, feed them, grab a hot tea and make a quick breakfast. It’s a very easy way to be reminded of what’s on my calendar and get a highlight of the news from yesterday or early this morning while I am actively doing my normal routine without adding any effort. 

Leaving the house routine:

Both Google Home and Alexa have this feature that you can customize to your liking, Alexa can even guard the house while you’re away (next bullet point). But mine is very simple, I tell our Google Home that I’m leaving and she plays a podcast for my pups, technically you can advance this by having her adjust lights, thermostat, arm security and lock doors, but I haven’t connected everything quite yet. More on that later. 

Guard (Smart Alert – Glass Break): 

Alexa has a really cool feature called “Guard” I have enabled it but thankfully I have yet to use it. Basically she’s listening of any sound of glass breaking or breaking in after you’ve said “Alexa, I’m leaving” and she’ll alert you if she notices any disturbance while you’re away. How cool is that?!

Household tasks:

All of the above points were just using the smart home devices only, now let’s look into how you can synchronize everything. 

Lights – You can get a smart light bulbs, and both AI will be able to turn it on/off, change the color or brightness. If your whole house has smart bulbs then you can tell her to turn on the lights in the hallway or bedroom and be specific. So nice to be able to gradually fade a dim red toned light on in the bathroom in the middle of the night instead of a bright bathroom lights or stumbling in the dark. 

Roomba or other smart home cleaners – They can sync with Google Home and Alexa and you can tell her to clean the house before you come home with guests. Or our clients have scheduled a routine cleaning schedule for the bots to clean while they’re away at work. 

Music – The smart home devices can play music off their built-in speakers but you can connect them to your Bose or other sound systems and you can really tell her to “Blast up the music” when your favorite song is playing. We have never needed this, probably ideal as a great party trick. 

Plugs:

Along with all these smart devices mentioned above, you can turn your regular gadgets into a smart device by having a smart plug. In most cases, you can turn on your lamp by controlling the plug, have your morning coffee made, and even open/close your garage door with this little extension. 

We are definitely moving forward with convenient living and we predict many more products will be made compatible with smart home devices in near future.

On the other hand, we know there are people who despise the smart home features and would prefer to not have to tell someone to do something they enjoy doing themselves. Additionally, there are still many concerns about personal privacy when these devices are linked to your home. 

Zoey’s take:

I see a great deal of positivity from both sides. I don’t do my “morning routine” with either smart home devices on the weekend, I like my quiet mornings eventually get filled with laughter, thumping of waggy tails and the great debate of what it is that we are having from breakfast. But of course, during the week, if I can hand off a task to someone else or something else, I’m happy to do it. In fact, one day I’d like to be able to tell Alexa to make me a spreadsheet with my given input, or ask her to scan all my business receipts and paperwork, label them and save them in their corresponding files. Those mundane tasks can be hers and I’m all for it. 

PS. Charlie and Zoey are launching our Amazon Alexa Skills on Wednesday, July 31st. Click here to learn more about our Launch Party (feel free to join us there) and click here to see our skills.

Skill 1 Skill 2 Skill 3

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