It’s strange to think that our houses used to be dumb, but they were. The future is now, old man, and Smart Home is riding 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 Smart Plugs are a relatively new addition to this growing interconnected world. Powered by its Alexa AI assistant, these plugs on the surface look pretty simple, essentially allowing you to turn whatever is connected to them on and off. However, this is not the case, as you can also establish 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 that is connected to your home smart grid, using Routines can eliminate many additional annoyances, as well as perform specific actions at certain times of the day.
With a routine, you can turn off everything in your house at the same time by telling Alexa that you are leaving home, or turn everything you want back on by telling Alexa that you are back. You can configure it to work by command, at a specified time, or even through a connected motion or touch sensor. Imagine walking through 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 actually on vacation or at work, making your home a less appetizing target for anyone considering a burglary. Or you can set it to wake your children 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 to personalize your home experience is limited only by your imagination and what you have connected.
Get a routine setup scheduled
Setting up a routine for your Smart Plug is a bit of a complicated process, but pretty easy once you get the hang of it. This is what you do:
- Open the Alexa app from your iOS, Android, or FireOS device.
- Tap on Routines on the menu.
- Tap on the + at the top right of the screen.
- Tap on the + next to when When this happens.
- Tap on Calendar.
- Choose the day and time you want the routine to occur.
- Tap on Done.
- Touch the plus + next to Add action.
- Now, touch Smart House.
- Select your name Smart plug.
- Tap Upon O Off to choose what effect the routine has on the smart plug.
- Tap next.
- Tap Save money.
Assuming you have configured this Routine to turn on the Smart Plug, you will need to create a separate routine by following the same steps that tell the Plug what time you want it to turn off again (the same way in reverse). Unless, of course, you don’t want that to happen automatically, in which case you just have to tell Alexa to do it normally.
Group setup 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, you can save a lot of effort by assigning them to a group of smart home devices. Here’s 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 will need to do the following:
- Open Alexa on your iOS, Android or FireOS device.
- Go to the menu and tap Devices.
- Tap on the + button.
- Tap on Add group.
- Choose one of the preset names or enter your own custom group name.
- Tap on next.
- Touch the devices you would like to add to the group.
- Tap on Save money.
Will the routine still work if my phone runs out of power?
Yes, once you set the routine on your smart plug or other Amazon smart device, it should still run without your phone needing to be turned on. The routine is not stored on the device or sent from the phone every time it is run. As long as you have internet access, Amazon’s servers can send the routine to your smart plug.
Why won’t my smart plug connect to my Wi-Fi?
Make sure you are trying to connect to a 2.4 GHz network. Many smart devices, such as plugs, lamps, etc., cannot connect to a 5 GHz network. But don’t worry, most routers today they have a 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless network.
Go to the gadget house!
With scheduled routines, you can make your home run like a well-oiled machine, turning what you need on and off when you need it. If you have some cool setups that you are using at home, why not tell us about them in the comment section below?