There used to be a time when the thought of a smart home or “home of the future” was a distant dream. But even though we don’t yet have flying cars, smart home devices have brought us much closer to that automated reality.
With voice activated assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and smart lighting and thermostats, like Nest, there is no lack of cutting-edge gadgets that are designed to make our lives easier.
But are you getting the most out of your smart devices? Or are you just using the minimum of what they can do? You might be surprised at some of their capabilities once you take their “training wheels” off.
At abcd TECH, we assist our residential clients with personalized set up of smart home devices so they’re truly a benefit, instead of just being a cool gadget. It’s empowering to become the master of your tech. Making that happen for our clients is one of our main passions.
A term you’ll hear used in connection with smart home devices often is the “internet of things” or IoT. So, we’re going to start off with a short explanation of what that means, then we’ll get into our list of awesome smart home hacks to make your life easier.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Something that’s driven the popularity of smart home gadgets is the Internet of Things, and while the term has a somewhat vague and esoteric feel to it, it’s actually not that difficult to grasp.
IoT simply refers to more “things” being connected to the internet and incorporating that online capability into their functionality.
An easy example of this is a smart watch. It’s used to tell time like other watches, but its IoT capability means that it can also connect to the internet to download a weather report or send your heart rate readings to your computer.
Some of the common types of smart devices that are part of the Internet of Things include:
- Voice activated assistants (Alexa, Google Home, Cortana)
- Smart thermostats
- Smart lighting
- Security cameras & systems
- Smart locks
- Water/flood sensors
- Key/item finders
- Smart appliances
7 Smart Home Device Hacks You’re Going to Love
Technology should free up your day (and even be fun), not be a burden. We know that a lot of people want to learn all about their smart devices, but just need the right pro to guide them.
That’s why the at home tech tutoring that we provide at abcd TECH is so popular. The look of relief on someone’s face after they’ve taken control of their technology is priceless.
Over 40 million US homes now own smart devices. (Statista)
With more homes every year adopting smart devices, pretty soon they’ll just become the norm. But before that happens, you can trick out your smart home with these tips to get the most out of these gadgets.
1. Use IFTTT for Automation
IFTTT is a platform that gets its name from “If this, then that,” which is really just a trigger and event Applet. It allows you to make your smart devices even smarter by having them interact with each other.
For example, if you have smart lighting, like Philips Hue, and a Nest Protect device that detects smoke or carbon monoxide, you could set up this IFTTT action:
“IF Nest detects a carbon monoxide emergency, THEN change all Philips Hue lighting to red.”
2. Greet Your Kids or Grandkids After School
Often when kids get home from school, the adults are still at work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a warm greeting waiting for them. By using a video-enabled intercom, you can pre-record a welcome message to play as they come through the door in the afternoon.
3. Set Up Multiple Users on Your Voice Assistant
Do you and your partner use Google Home or Alexa for different things? By setting up multiple users, it will recognize you (or another family member) by your voice and personalize your answers. They can even speak and understand different languages.
4. Take Time to Do Voice Training
Many voice activated smart home devices have a training mode that helps prevent misunderstandings and improve communication. Take the few minutes to go through the phrases that help voice train your tech, it can make a big difference!
5. Use Location Triggers for Lights and Locks
Want your home to respond to your needs just like those smart homes on TV? Using the location triggers in IFTTT can get your smart gadgets to turn off lights, lock doors, and turn down thermostats when you leave the house or exit a specific area.
6. Use Your TV to View Your Security Camera
Looking at a tiny screen on your phone isn’t exactly ideal when you’re trying to see who’s at the door. If you’re using a smart system like Nest’s security camera and Chromecast, you can view the feed on your TV and get a much better look.
7. Just for Fun!
Apple’s newest iOS 12 update includes Siri shortcuts, which help you get better use out of their voice-activated assistant. Just for fun, try a shortcut that turns on the phone’s flashlight automatically when you say “Lumos” (for Harry Potter fans).
Or something more practical might be a shortcut command “Morning Rise” that causes your smart lights to come on in a soft yellow hue and your speaker to play some wakeup tunes.
Interested in a Personalized Smart Home Set Up?
abcd TECH can take your smart home gadgets and completely tailor them to your lifestyle for an affordable price. You’ll save time and could save money as well by utilizing these gadgets to their fullest.
Let us help you embrace the age of technology! Call abcd TECH today at 316-768-7832 or contact us online anytime.