Chances are good that by the time you read this, you've broken most if not all of your New Year's resolutions. Nobody's blaming you, of course. Our brains just aren't programmed to follow through on hard promises. But what if you could program your home to help you keep those promises?
To show you how easy that can be, let's break down a few of the most frequently made (and broken) resolutions, and a few easy smart home tricks designed to help keep you honest.
It's much easier to hit snooze on your alarm in the morning than it is to get up and go for a run, especially in the colder winter months.
With a good smart home hub (SmartThings, for example), it's super easy to program a Wake Up scene that nudges you from your bed. What that scene consists of really depends on what sorts of smart devices you have in and around the home. It might be lights that ramp up to 100 percent brightness slowly, your favorite morning playlist cranking out of your Sonos smart music system, and a smart plug that automatically turns on your coffee pot when it's time to wake up.
If you're more of an evening exerciser, you can also use SmartThings to keep you honest by linking it with your Fitbit activity tracker using this handy IFTTT recipe. Simply set up the recipe to control the device that's mostly likely to distract you from your daily workout (like a smart plug connected to your TV), and you won't be able to turn that device on until you've hit your daily activity goals.
Of course, you don't need IFTTT and activity trackers to cut down on your TV viewing. If you simply want to cut down on boob tube consumption and spend more time with books (and you're not alone if you do; according to Neilson, this was a top ten resolution in 2015) all you need to do is connect your TV to a smart plug, and set daily timers that cut power to said smart plug. This isn't a permanent solution, mind you, and it's easy to override those timers. But let's face it: it's probably easier to just pick up your Kindle or a paperback instead.
We've already touched on many of the ways that smart climate control can save you money. But did you know that a smart home can also reduce your energy consumption every time you turn on the lights?
It's true! Most good smart home hubs will allow you to pre-set a brightness level for dimmer switches in and around the home. So, for example, simply hitting the light switch on your way into a room might adjust the light to 75% brightness instead of 100%. If you need more light, of course you can manually adjust the dimmer yourself. But setting a lower default brightness means you're using less energy without even thinking about it, which can quickly add up to dozens or hundreds of dollars saved per year, depending on the cost of electricity in your area.
smart home, how-to, family living, smart home scenes, one touch living, Z-Wave, home automation, smart plugs, smart lights, IFTTT, SmartThings
Looking for the perfect Holiday gifts for your family? The experts at Z-Wave.com are here to make your shopping experience easier with starter bundles that can be customized to fit the exact needs and skill level of everyone on your holiday shopping list!
This month we're going back to basics with Josh from ZWaveZone.com, an awesome resource for everything Z-Wave home automation related. If you're new to the world of smart home, you may be wondering where to start and how using Z-Wave can benefit you and your home. Josh offers his top tips and tricks to getting started with a Z-Wave home and products he loves.
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These days, having a voice-activated digital assistant in your pocket is pretty much taken for granted. Instead of typing on tiny touchscreens, we've all become accustomed to simply whipping out our phones and saying, "Hey Cortana, call Dad," or "OK Google, dial 911," or "Hey Siri, what is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"
Instead, just use smart locks to give them a virtual key, and to give a virtual key to baby sitters, dog walkers, and temporary guests. You don't need to ask your neighbor to water your lawn while you're out of town, or to check to see if you closed the garage door and turned off the lights. You can monitor your lawn watering, and the status of your doors and lights, with your smartphone or tablet.
If you're still manually turning your lights on and off, 2016 should be the year you finally dare to embrace home automation. Smart home solutions can help you streamline your life to be more efficient and productive. Plus, with fewer home tasks to worry about, you'll end up with more time, energy, and money for the things that really matter.
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I have Somfy motorized blinds, and I ended up buying a Z-wave controller that translates Somfy's proprietary protocol to Z-wave so I could control it with the Echo, $179.99 at Amazon using a hub like SmartThings or Wink, $60.28 at Amazon for voice control.
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But you could also do Z-Wave. I recommend you steer clear of ZigBee for this because I haven't yet found a ZigBee switch I love. Aeontec and Fibaro offer these $40 modules that fit inside your electrical box that will allow you to keep your switch, if you happen to like your switches.