I have always been into gadgets and they are further invading my home. Back in May we got an Amazon Echo. After the initial excitement and playing around with To Do lists, it has basically existed as a Prime Music player while the girls have breakfast and we pack up for school listening to Kidz Bop.
This past week, I found out that Echo developed support for new smart home devices and I dipped my toe in the water with a Wink Hub ($40) and GE Link light bulb ($15). These were remarkably easy to set up and within 30 minutes of unpacking the devices, my daughter could say “Alexa, turn on the piano light” and she would respond “OK” and the light would magically come on. While this is a trivial example, the old system was them playing in the dark until I walked over and turned on the floor lamp whose control is about 6 feet off the ground.
With my newfound enthusiasm, I am planning on picking up the GoControls Essential Security Kit so that we can check to see if the garage door is closed from the comfort of our bedroom. This is a stop gap as there are kits available that allow you to control the garage from a smart phone, but they are a little more expensive.
I may also get GE Link bulbs for the kids room and their bathroom so I could say “Alexa, turn off all of the upstairs lights.” However, having the GE Link bulbs would require the kids to have a smart phone to manage their own lights. An alternative is the Leviton Universal Wall Switch, but unfortunately those are $60 each and likely more difficult to install. That may be a fun piecemeal way to go and by spending a few hundred dollars a year, I could have a fully automated smart home in a reasonable period of time.