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Home Automation

Google Home Mini
Google Home Mini

Amazon Alexa Dot
Amazon Alexa Dot

There are a number of relatively inexpensive things you can do for your home to provide protection while you’re traveling or convenience for yourself if you have mobility issues. A combination of Wi-Fi plugs, switches, cameras, thermostats and home speakers (Google Home or Alexa) allow you to monitor your house and give it that “lived in” look while away or control household activities from your chair or bed. Let’s look at some of the different components which you might use.

1. AI Virtual Assistants (Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri and Cortana). These virtual assistants are used in conjunction with the corresponding hardware e.g. Google Home Mini or Amazon Echo. These components will be the heart and soul of your system. They will provide the interface through which you will control your home. A simple command such as “Hey Google” will allow you to turn on or off lights, turn the thermostat up or down or turn on your favorite radio station … “Hey Google, play FM 106.7 Rewind”.

2. Smart switches can be used to provide automation to existing lights in the house. They replace the current light switch with the Wi-Fi enabled one which is then controlled with our voice. Although they can be vocally controlled, they can also be manually controlled or most allow you to set them up on an automatic schedule.

3. Smart plugs can be used in any household receptacle to allow you to control plugged in appliances such as lamps, coffee pots, fans or a television. Note: They should never be used to control a heater as this could be a safety concern although they are really good for controlling Christmas lights.

4. Thermostats can be controlled to allow you to either turn the temperature up or down or turn the AC on or off.

5. Cameras which can be used to monitor access to your property or deliveries which are being made.

6. Water Usage Moen has a Wi-Fi enabled device with sensors which can shut off your main water line should a leak occur and send an email to your phone.

7. Light Bulbs There are Wi-Fi enabled light bulbs which can be controlled by your system and some even allow the intensity and/or color to be controlled as well.

Although I’m sure there are other Wi-Fi enabled devices which can be utilized to make your life easier and help protect your home, these are just a few of the devices that I have personally used. Most virtual assistants allow you to set up routines which allow you to do multiple tasks at the same time. E.g. “Hey Google, Goodnight” which could turn on the security system, turn off all of the lights and turn the thermostat down for the night. I hope this gives you some idea as to the possibilities of things you might accomplish around your home to make your life easier.

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