Do you remember that Disney Channel Original Movie Smart House? The one where the boy tried to prevent his dad from dating by getting his computerized house to act as a surrogate mother? Yeah, well that movie is no longer fiction. With tech giants like Google and Amazon creating lines of smart devices, from lightbulbs to doorbells, you can now program your entire home and keep tabs on it at all times, even when you’re away.
The tricky part, however, is trying to get all of your home devices to work together. If you’re stuck trying to get your home security cameras hooked up to your tablet, or lightbulb to work with your Amazon Alexa, refer to our step-by-step guide below.
Popular Home Devices You Should Buy
Before we get started on how to get all of your devices to work together, we’ll go over a few devices you can automate and equip your home with.
- Security Cameras: Home security cameras no longer have to cost an arm and a leg. Today, you can deck your home with security cameras all around your home for just a few hundred dollars. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing your house is protected even when you’re not home.
- Doorbells: Smart doorbells? Yup. You read that right. Today, companies such as Ring Inc. are creating motion-sensor doorbells and other security devices, so you no longer have to look through your peephole to see who’s on your front porch.
- Computers: We knew from the beginning that computers were always smart. But today, more than ever, computers have the power to perform thousands of functions. You can connect your laptop with light up keyboard with your security cameras so you can view the perimeter of your home, as well as other devices such as Bluetooth speakers and home appliances like your microwave.
- Smart Appliances: Want to get a head start on cooking as you’re heading home from the grocery store? With smart appliances like ovens and microwaves, you can send recipes straight to them to streamline your dinner prep so you can get down to what matters most: eating your delicious meal. And after cleaning up, did you realize you forgot to start the dishwasher? With a smart dishwasher, you can schedule start times anywhere straight from your smartphone.
How to Connect Your Smart Devices
The aforementioned devices merely scratch the surface of all the smart devices on the market and ones that are probably being invented right as you’re reading this. However, thanks to one company, IFTTT (if this, then that), you can have all of your smart devices live in harmony.
IFTTT allows you to connect over 360 devices with each other, so your home can become smarter than ever. For example, if someone suspicious activates the motion sensor on your security system, your front lights will turn on and music will play from your synced speakers to scare them off. Pretty cool, right? Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Sign up for IFTTT. Creating an IFTTT account is easy, and best of all, free!
Step 2: Browse the IFTTT website or find an applet that interests you to use.
Step 3: Search for the devices you want to be synced, such as your thermostat, Hue lightbulbs, and Amazon Alexa. Once you find the devices you want, grant permission to IFTTT by signing in on their respective apps and clicking okay.
Step 4: Find more applets and repeat!
What Can IFTTT Do?
Once you have IFTTT set up, it’s time to explore all that it can do. Whether you want to control your computer from your phone or sync your phone photos with your email, IFTTT does it all. This integration service allows you to sync all your home devices and services together, making your life easier and more exciting. Check out just some of the things IFTTT can do:
Talk-to-Text: If you’re too tired to type out a long text message or are too lazy to get up from the couch to get your phone, you can send a text to someone with your Google Home and Android SMS service.
Create events in Google Calendar: Make sure you never have to make an excuse for being late again with the IFTTT Note widget, that allows you to use your iPhone or Android device to schedule appointments on your Google Calendar.
Get you out of sticky situations: Have you ever been stuck in a conversation that never seems to end when you have to be at work in 5 minutes? The Button Widget allows you to “call” yourself so you can get out of any dragging or disastrous situation.
Tweet Photos: Tired of snapping a photo, then having to open up Twitter and selecting that photo and then clicking upload? This widget allows any photo you take to be directly uploaded to Twitter, so you can have those precious seconds back.
Brew Coffee: Do you have a Fitbit and love coffee? You can get your smart coffee maker to brew a hot cup of Joe the moment your Fitbit registers you as awake.
Turn Your Lights On: When you come home from the grocery store, you will carry every single bag in on every extremity you have. No matter what. But what happens when you open the door and it’s pitch black and you have 15 bags on each arm? The IFTTT app will automatically turn your lights on without you having to go through the app when it registers that you’re home.
Find Your Phone: Is it in the depths of the couch cushions? Or maybe the Bermuda Triangle of your car where your seat, middle console, and buckle meet? There’s nothing more common, yet fear-inducing, than misplacing your phone. Thanks to Alexa and this IFTTT widget, you’ll always know where your phone it.
When it comes to smart homes, we’re still in the infancy stage. It’s only been about five years since the very first Amazon Echo was released, and 3 for the Google Home. And as you can tell, within those few years, technology has come a long way. Expect to see more home devices on the market in the future and make sure you use this guide to keep them all connected!