Today I’m taking a look at various Smart Home devices that can help you to celebrate the Holidays. Basically what that means is that some Smart Home devices have features and qualities that can be used to enhance the Holiday experience for the user. I’m talking everything from smart lights to boost the Holiday spirit to smart security devices to make your celebrations safe and happy. Read on for all the details.
First up is one of the best types of Smart Home products with which to celebrate the Holidays, which is quite obviously Smart Lighting. Though there are many different types of lights to choose from, I personally find LED Light Strips to be particularly well suited to the occasion. I guess it’s because they remind me of the strings of lights found on Christmas trees, as well as the eaves of people’s houses. Of course, these smart LED light strips aren’t quite the same thing, but they’re still a great way to add some colour to your Holiday Season!
Though there are several different Smart LED Light Strip options currently available, the one I want to discuss is the VOCOlinc LS2 Smart LED Light Strip. These lights use the LinkWise App (on either your Android or iOS based smart device) for control, though they’re also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and the Google Assistant for voice-based operation. Other features of VOCOlinc Light Strips include 16 million different colour options, 500 lumens of light-up power, 25,000 hours of life expectancy, a number of preset lighting effects, and much more. And with 20 brilliant LED bulbs per string, it doesn’t take many sets to really create a beautiful effect with which to celebrate the season.
Another possibility, and one of my favourite areas of Smart Home technology, is Smart Plugs & Switches—especially smart plugs. The reason for this is that since smart plugs and switches provide power to other devices, you can do cool things like plug your Christmas tree into a smart plug and then use your smart phone to turn it off and on.
As an example of a quality set of smart plugs that does everything you could possibly want them to do, I’ll cite the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Lite – 4 Pack. These smart plugs not only connect to your home Wi-Fi network without the need of a special hub, but they also have great features like hands-free voice control via compatible smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, and even Cortana.
Additionally, they work with the Kasa App on your smart phone to provide features like scheduling times when they are and are not powered. They even have a special Away mode that turns things off and on at various times to create the impression of someone being at home when nobody is actually there. This is a great feature for those who are sometimes away from home for a few days, though my personal favourite aspect of these plugs is their ability to remotely turn on Holiday lighting from anywhere in the world.
Another type of Smart Home device that’s great for celebrating the Holidays is Smart Speakers, Displays, & Accessories. This is because you not only have the ability to stream Christmas music on a smart speaker at any time of the day or night, but you can also use them for things like turning on the aforementioned smart lights through simple, voice-based commands.
Moreover, if the smart speaker in question also has a screen built in (as in it’s actually a Smart Display), now you can do things like online Christmas shopping over the device, and you can even visit far away family and friends through real-time video calling.
One great example of a very new smart speaker that doesn’t have a screen is the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen.) Smart Speaker with Alexa. But even without a screen, this device is an absolute winner. Among its key features are a powerful speaker that provides a rich, full spectrum of sound that’s perfect for those Holiday songs; voice control of your other smart devices, thanks to the Amazon Alexa assistant; the ability to ask Alexa virtually anything—from the day’s weather forecast to what you have scheduled to how many days there are left until Christmas; and it all comes packaged in a fun, spherical design that suits any modern decor. It’s definitely a Holiday enhancer!
Finally, as we learned in the great Christmas comedy Home Alone, the Holidays are a particularly susceptible time of year to break-ins and robberies. For this reason, we should all look to shore-up our home’s defences with a solid mix of home security devices as the Holidays approach.
There are a number of approaches we can take toward achieving this goal. Adding Smart Security Cameras is one of them, while adding Smart Locks & Smart Door Bells is another.
In the security camera realm, something like the Ring Floodlight IP Cam is ideal at this time of year. Not only can its camera give you early warning of potential intruders onto your property (like Harry and Marv), but its pair of powerful LED floodlights is just the thing to warn them that you know they’re out there and are about to take them down Kevin McCallister style.
Among its other great features are cloud storage of recorded videos, night vision, a 140 degree viewing angle, recording in Full HD 1080p video, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, and an app that’s both iOS and Android compatible. It’s also compatible with MAC OS X, Windows, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and Wink. And that’s only some of its many features. With home security like that in place, the Wet Bandits don’t stand a chance!
Of course, if by some miracle they do manage to evade your cameras, there’s no way they’re getting past something like the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock (4th Generation). If you’ve got one of these installed on your door, here’s what you’re benefiting from: easy installation, the ability to lock and unlock your door from anywhere, integrated Wi-Fi connectivity to the amazing August App, virtual keys that you can create and pass out to family and friends, compatibility with all the major smart voice assistants, and a variety of other great features. None, of course, is greater than the security it provides. Those pesky burglars might just as well move on to the next house!
(You can read Andy Baryer’s review of this one right here on the blog.)
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Hopefully by now it’s become apparent just how helpful Smart Home tech can be when it comes to celebrating and safely enjoying the Holidays. Merry Christmas!!
Smart home tech is such a luxury, nothing that we really need, but so nice and fun to have (where are my sliding doors – smart home to me means living like I’m in Star Trek lol). I’m all in on Google (mostly because having the power of google search on my assistant is awesome, and it snowballed from there), and I continue to add little bits of smart home tech whenever I can.
On that, anyone using the Google Nest Home? Think it’s a good addition to a smart home? Think it would add value to someone who isn’t really tech savvy (i.e. I was wondering if it would be a neat gift for my parents who I’ve already embedded with google home/hue lights and chromecasts).
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