February 6, 2020  |  Written By Amanda Herren

You’ve all seen the commercials about the Amazon Alexa products. To some of you, that may seem too futuristic, like self-driving cars. How can you use smart home technology to your benefit? There really are so many ways. 

If you want to use a full smart home setup, you must start with a hub. There are many to choose from and a simple search on Google is a good place to start. The hub will aid in setting up further products. You can control your thermostat, garage door opener and even your door locks from your smart phone. You can also hook up a doorbell with a camera to check for all those packages being delivered to your door! The possibilities are infinite.

Alexa is just part of the puzzle. For anyone with an Amazon account, Alexa can do just about anything within reason (she can’t fold your laundry for you…yet!) You can choose from Amazon “Skills” which includes anything from weather to music to telling you a joke. We use the joke feature often in our home; my little ones think it’s hysterical. Alexa can turn off or on your lights or turn up your heat when you’re cold. She’ll tell you goodnight if you just need someone to talk to before bed.  She’ll even greet you when you get home.

You can program your outside lights to come on before you come home. I don’t like coming home to a dark house, so I make sure a hallway light is on when I get home. I can adjust the timers for my lights based on daylight savings time too. These take the place of old-fashioned plug-in timers (no more little ticking noise) and you can adjust the timers from your phone with a designated app. Do you want to control the Christmas tree during the holidays? You can easily do that. 

My favorite is the hair straightener or curling iron feature. With one simple Wi-Fi plug, you don’t have to drive home anymore to make sure you turned off your hair products. Let’s be real, we’ve all done this at least once. Now you can check it from your phone instead. 

Let’s talk about the most inconvenient home appliance, the crock pot. Your dinner needs to cook for 6 hours but your work day is 8 hours. No worries! You can switch the crock pot to warm from your phone! Mind blown, I know! 

I always remember Walt Disney’s “Carousel of Progress.” Everyone thought that virtual reality and talking to ovens was such a foreign concept. Personally, I just can’t wait for all cars to park themselves and pick me up at the door. But that’s another story for another day.

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