Happy new year to everyone!
I have been away from blogging lately because I’ve been busy with my work and I’ve been enjoying live streaming on Facebook even though I don’t have many viewers I am really having fun with it so far. But honestly, I still missed blogging. I also decided to keep up with my Youtube channel that’s why I’ve been editing old videos that I still have and now converting them into a blog posts.
So today, I’m just sharing a bit of stuff I purchased in the past to make my little room a smart home starter. One of my dreams, when I was young, is to have a smart home, even though it’s not a thing of the past. I had that kind of imagination where tasks are simplified so I could play more and do more. I wanted to be a wizard back then hahaha. Now that it exists, I try to spend some of my money to make it happen,
There are a lot of smart things these days and most of them were really expensive, but I found some alternatives that are really good.
As mentioned this is a backlog post and all the things I’ll mention here are still working and being used on a daily basis. Now let’s go through the list!
Smart Voice Assistant
You might be so familiar with Siri and Hey, Google because they’re built-in on your phones but not everyone uses them for smart home purposes. We usually use it for asking about the weather, the meaning of something, or just for it to beatbox. But these smart assistants are capable of starting off your smart home.
Prior to getting smart stuff like bulbs, fans, plugs, or whatever you must need to know first if they’re capable of being controlled with your available smart voice assistant. Siri has limited features when it comes to that but Google Assistant and Alexa have more compatibility.
I was using Google assistant on my phone to control our lights and plugs but I’m quite annoyed in unlocking my phone before it can do something that’s why I purchased the Amazon Echo Dot(which I have reviewed in the past). It allows me to really do voice commands hands-free and my kids enjoyed it a lot. However, when I was away, the speaker of it got broken, I’m not sure if someone dropped it but no one would tell me. The good thing is I can still connect it to Bluetooth speakers and it still picks up voice commands.
Smart LED Bulbs
With conventional light bulbs, all we can do is turn them on and off and that’s it. So when I bought a bulb worth 600+ my husband is so confused and somewhat gone mad because he thought I looking to have a voice command to just turn on and off the lights.
Actually, 600+ PHP for a smart light is pretty cheap already because other brands like Philips sell it for thousands of pesos just for the single color bulb plus their bulbs require a hub/gateway to control. Unlike the one I bought from Lasco, I can connect it directly to our wi-fi, connect it with accounts/apps like Tuya, SmartLife, and Lasco APP, and be able to control it with our smart voice assistants like the Echo Dot.
This Lasco Smart Bulb we bought can be scheduled, it has customizable presets, it’s dimmable and it’s RGB. It sounds fancy but I had a purpose, I didn’t like it just because it’s fancy.
How I use smart lights
I decided to get a smart light so I could use voice commands to control our lights but there’s more fun with it.
My kids love playing music and dancing, they really enjoy it more when we use automation to play with the colors of the light or just make it change like party lights. They even know how to activate it with Alexa, so they no longer needed me just to play around with it.
It’s also a nice ambient light when playing, chilling, or watching movies. Actually, I change the color of the light too when I’m working, it’s very pleasant and somehow helps me with my focus.
Aside from that, I schedule the lights to turn on around sunset and turn it off when we sleep. In case I forgot to turn it off, I’m at ease. I also schedule it to turn the lights into a night light to notify my kiddos that it’s time to sleep. It’s very convenient and helpful in training them with their sleep time.
I’m pretty sure that there’s a lot more to do with it than turning it on and off.
No need for smart appliances, just smart power strips or plugs
I was thinking what else should I have to make this room a tiny smart home? I thought maybe I could get some other appliances to make it happen.
But there I saw the prices, it’s not cheap at all. So I looked after a power strip. A Smart Power Strip! I got one and my reason to my husband is that we can lower our Aircon power consumption if we schedule it to turn off while we’re asleep and turn on the fan.
He said yes to that, and I was able to unlock more from it. The power strip we got is the Homekin power strip since Lasco’s power strip wasn’t available at that time. Both are really good products.
It does have an individual switch and a USB hub. I can schedule and give a countdown timer to each socket when needed. You can also name the switches so you can customize your commands to your Smart voice assistant.
I had to name one switch as “Fan”, leave the fan turned on, and just ask Alexa to turn it on or off.
How we use our Smart Power Strip
As I promised my husband, I scheduled our fan to turn on when our AC is scheduled to turn off. I also schedule the TV to turn off when it’s time to sleep for my kids.
I also have set up automation on my phone when charging before going to bed. I don’t want to break our phones or devices by charging them overnight, so I have a shortcut on my phone to turn off the USB hubs at certain hours like 2 hours or 3 hours. This way, we wake up with our devices full charge without worrying that they might have been overcharged while we sleep.
It’s nice that they have a widget for android devices that I can just tap before I sleep to set up the timer and turn it off on time.
Let me include this LG ThinQ Premium Inverter with Wi-Fi
This aircon is not cheap but I will include it on the list in case you had one already and just don’t know if you can use it with the Smart voice assistant. Actually, I purchased their premium inverter because it has Wi-Fi connectivity and I was thinking about adding it to my smart room thingy.
It does have an app that you can use to control and monitor the energy consumption of the AC. It was a fantastic experience. But I wondered why I couldn’t connect my LG ThinQ account to my Alexa or Google Assistant even though it does have the option to connect it.
Here’s my discovery: You can connect it only if you have registered your LG ThinQ account to the US region, not in the Philippines. It worked that way but there are cons to it.
Once you have your LG ThinQ region set up as the US, the support you’ll get from the app is from the US. The energy monitoring feature is not available and the most annoying part is even you set it up at Celsius, it still works in Fahrenheit when commanding on your smart assistant. I didn’t enjoy it well because I love monitoring my consumption and at the same time I’m not used to Fahrenheit.
I just wanted to share that.
Smart Routines and customization
This is not a tutorial on smart routines, but I’d like to give you some more ideas on how to enjoy creating a smart home.
If you haven’t explored your smart assistant even just the Google Assistant on your phone or Alexa, they have a feature called routines. You can set it up the way you want your smart stuff to work according to your needs.
When I was starting with all these I created a few routines for my Alexa. Where I will ask my son if he’s done brushing his teeth at 9 PM. I told him to say Goodnight to Alexa once he was done. Whenever Alexa hears goodnight, It will start changing the light and playing sleep music from my connected Spotify account.
I also had one for the morning where it will tell my son of his routine for school, those were the days. Since the speaker of Alexa got broken we stopped doing routines and just changed everything to scheduled actions but for those who wanna hear the news, the weather, some quotes for the day, or just wanna have a set of actions when you say a trigger word like good morning, you can all do that with routines.
I hope you’ve got something useful today. I’m sure you and your kids(if you have one) will enjoy having this smart home starter pack. I know because we really did enjoy it.
If you want to see the unboxing of the Homekin Smart Power Strip I’ve got it here below.
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