It’s strange to think that our homes used to be dumb, but that’s the way it was. The future is now, old man, and the Smart Home is on the crest of the wave! Connecting everything in your house to the Internet of Things, your own personal smart network, can make your life a whole lot 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 plugs on the surface seem fairly simple, as they essentially enable you to turn whatever’s plugged into them on and off. Not so, however, as you can also set up a variety of routines and schedules to improve the ease and quality of your home life, and even make your house and belonging safer.
What Is a Routine?
Simply put, a routine is a set of instructions for turning on or off devices via Alexa that you can activate with a single voice command. While you can individually control any device that’s connected to your home smart network, using Routines can cut out a lot of extra hassle, as well as do specific actions at certain times of day.
Using a Routine, you can switch everything in your house off at the same time by telling Alexa that you’re leaving the house, or turn everything that you want on again by telling Alexa that you’re back. You can set it to work 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 that you just left. Eco-friendly, and super-futuristic!
It can also be used to make it look like there are still people in your house when you’re actually away on holiday or at work, making your house a less appetizing target for anyone considering a break-in. Or you can set it to wake your kids up with a specific reminder, turn on the lights, open the windows, get your coffee going, turn up the thermostat when you get home… the potential for customizing your home experience is limited only by your imagination, and what you’ve got connected.
Getting a Scheduled Routine Set Up
Setting up a Routine for your Smart Plug is a slightly involved process, but easy enough once you get the hang of it. Here’s what you do:
- Open the Alexa app from your iOS, Android, or FireOS device
- Tap on Routines in the menu
- Tap on the plus (+) button to the top right of the screen
- Tap on the plus (+) next to when When This Happens
- Tap on Schedule
- Choose the day and time that you want to Routine to occur at
- Tap on Done
- Tap on the plus (+) next to Add Action
- Tap on Smart Home
- Select the name of your Smart Plug
- Tap On or Off to choose what effect the Routine has on the Smart Plug
- Tap Next
- Tap Save
Assuming that you set this Routine up to switch the Smart Plug on, you’ll need to create a separate routine following the same steps telling the Plug what time you want it to turn off again (likewise for the other way around). Unless, of course, you don’t want that to happen automatically, in which case you just have to tell Alexa to do it as normal.
Setting Up Groups for More Efficient Routines
If you have more than one Smart Plug, or a variety of devices that you want to turn on or off at the same time, then you can save yourself a lot of effort by assigning them to a Smart Home Device Group. This is how you’ll be able to turn on the lights, espresso machine, and start a playlist going all at the same time.
To set up a Device Group, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Open Alexa on your iOS, Android, or FireOS Device
- Go to the menu and tap on Devices
- Tap the plus (+) button
- Tap on Add Group
- Pick one of the preset names, or enter your own customized group name
- Tap on Next
- Tap on the devices that you would like to add to the group
- Tap on Save
Go Go Gadget House!
Using scheduled Routines, you can have your house running like a well-oiled machine, turning on and off what you need when you need it. If you’ve got any cool set ups that you’re using at home, why don’t you let us know about them in the comments section below?