Having a lot of smart home devices does not a smart home make. The truth is, where you will get the most “bang for your buck” with smart home devices is the ability to create routines that will make your life infinitely more simple
I wake up extremely early. Typically my alarm goes off at 4:30 AM so I can get to the gym by 5 AM. I almost never sleep through my alarm because of my morning routine. First, the lights in my room gradually get brighter over a 10 minute period to simulate the sunrise.
Also between 4 and 4:30 the thermostat turns up so I don’t have to get out of my nice warm bed to a cold house, and the lights downstairs also turn on so I don’t have to fumble around in the dark.
When the alarm goes off it will then tell me about the weather, what is on my calendar for the day, and any reminders I’ve placed for the day, then it will start playing my “morning wake up” playlist.
Heading out of the house
When my phone leaves the geographical location of my house, the routines to save energy go into effect. This is especially helpful if your children are constantly leaving lights on in the house.
There are a few triggers that can be set through apps like Google Home and IFTTT, so you don’t have to rely on geographical location. For example, you can set a trigger for when your garage door closes, or when you turn off a specific light.
When I drive away from home, my garage door automatically closes, my front door locks, all of the lights get turned off in my house, and the thermostat gets turned to a higher temperature in the summer and a lower temperature in the winter.
My geolocation will also trigger the cameras inside the house to turn on automatically so when we are home it isn’t recording our every move, but it will record when we are away. Along with security, it will also set our ADT alarm to armed.
Also, before I leave the house in the morning, my phone will start notifying me of what my commute to work looks like.
There are many other options you can select, but these are the ones that have been most beneficial to me.
Much like leaving home will trigger lights to turn off and the thermostat to change, arriving home will do the opposite.
When I enter the location of my home, the thermostat changes back to livable conditions, a few key lights will turn on, the alarm system will become disarmed and more.
You can even have the TV automatically turn to a specific channel or streaming service, or your favorite relaxing playlist start on your smart speakers, so they are playing before you even walk in the house.
Routines can also be created for other things you want automated. For example, you can say “It’s movie time” and specific lights will turn off, your entertainment system will turn on and it can put your phone on silent so you can enjoy your movie.
Another scenario you can create is “nap time” for when your baby is sleeping. You can automatically have your smart doorbell put in silent mode, lights to turn off, and the camera in the baby’s room to start notifying you of issues.
I also have the outside lights on my house turn on automatically at sunset and turn back off at sunrise. The app will check what times those will be for that day and turn them on and off accordingly.
When you are ready for bed, you can also do some of the opposite things from your wake up routine. You can have the lights in your bedroom start becoming dimmer over time, just like when you are at a restaurant that is closing and lights start getting turned off. You can also start up a sleepy time playlist, even if it’s some type of white noise like the ocean.
Lights throughout the rest of the house can be turned off automatically, and you can have it make sure your doors and windows are closed and locked to help give you some peace of mind as you drift off to sleep.
As you can see, you really can use automations to help make all of the different smart home devices work together to make your life easier! You don’t have to use the same routines I have, and you may even have way more scenarios to automate. Let me know what automations I’m missing!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com