It's strange to think that our houses were stupid, but that's how it was. The future is now, man, and the Smart Home is on the crest of the wave! Connecting everything in your home to the Internet of Things, your own personal smart grid, can make your life much easier and more convenient.
Amazon's Smart Plugs are a relatively new addition to this growing interconnected world. Powered by their Alexa AI assistant, these above-ground outlets seem pretty simple, as they basically let you turn on and off anything plugged into them. This is not the case, however, as you can also implement a variety of routines and schedules to improve the ease and quality of your home life, and even make your home and belongings safer.
What is a Routine?
Simply put, a Routine is a set of instructions for turning devices on or off via Alexa that you can activate with a single voice command. While you can individually control any device connected to your smart home network, using Routines can save you a lot of extra hassle and perform specific actions at certain times of the day.
Using a routine, you can turn everything in your house off at once by telling Alexa you're leaving the house, or turn everything back on by telling Alexa you're back. You can operate it by command, or at a set time, or even via a connected motion or contact sensor. Imagine walking around your house and the lights and music turn on when you enter a room and turn off in the room you just left. Ecological and super futuristic!
It can also be used to make it look like there are still people in your home when you're on vacation or at work, making your home a less appetizing target for those contemplating a burglary. Or you can set it up to wake your kids up with a specific reminder, turn on the lights, open the windows, make your coffee, turn up the thermostat when you get home… the potential for customizing your home experience is limitless. only by your imagination, and what you have connected.
Setting up a scheduled routine
Setting up a routine for your smart plug is a slightly complex process, but quite easy once you get the hang of it. Here is what you do:
- Open the Alexa app from your iOS, Android, or FireOS device
- Tap Routines in the menu
- Tap the plus (+) button at the top right of the screen
- Tap the plus (+) next to when When this happens
- Tap Schedule
- Choose the day and time you want the routine to occur at
- Tap Done
- Tap the plus (+) next to Add Action
- Tap Smart Home
- Select the name of your Smart Plug
- Press On or Off to choose the effect of the routine on the smart plug
- Tap Next
- Tap Save
Assuming you've set up this routine to turn on the smart plug, you'll need to create a separate routine following the same steps telling the plug what time you want it to turn off again (same for the other way around) . Unless, of course, you don't want this to happen automatically, in which case all you have to do is tell Alexa to do it normally.
Set up groups for more efficient routines
If you have multiple smart outlets or a variety of devices that you want to turn on or off at the same time, you can save yourself a lot of effort by assigning them to a smart home device group. This is how you can turn on the lights, the espresso machine and start a playlist at the same time.
To configure a group of devices, you need to follow these steps:
- Open Alexa on your iOS, Android, or FireOS device
- Go to the menu and tap on Devices
- Tap the plus (+) button
- Tap Add Group
- Choose one of the predefined names or enter your own custom group name
- Tap Next
- Tap the devices you want to add to the group
- Tap Save
Go Go Gadget House!
By using programmed routines, you can keep your home running like a well-oiled machine, turning on and off what you need when you need it. If you have any cool setups you're using at home, why don't you let us know in the comments section below?