Having a kid is no walk in the park. You’re constantly busy, constantly tired, and it never seems like you get a second where it doesn’t seem like you have your hands full (literally and figuratively). Since arriving at our house 14 months ago, we’ve watched NPP go from a tiny little peanut that spent most of his time pooping, eating, and sleeping in the same spot in the house, to a little toddler who never stops moving, except when he’s in your arms. He’s constantly getting into things, and constantly getting at things, so MOMPC and I spend most of our time and attention making sure he doesn’t do harm to himself, our dog, or our house!
One of the things that has been a huge surprise hit in our house in managing the day-to-day operations of…house things, has been our recent foray into home automation. For those of you that missed 2015, home automation has been a HUGE booming market. It’s estimated that over 40% of people plan on buying some sort of home automation technology in 2016, and this family is certainly one of them!
Our home automation centers around one main tool, a hub by a company called Wink. What does the Wink Hub do? Well…not much on its own, but when you pair it with a lot of the other stuff we’ve purchased in 2015, it really begins to open up a whole new world of convenience and efficiency, and truly makes you think that the future is now!
For the most part, our primary usage of the Wink Hub comes from the numerous GE Link Lightbulbs that are scattered throughout the house. GE Link Bulbs, when paired with the Wink Hub, allow you to control on/off functionality, as well as the dimness of the bulbs, all from your smart phone or Wink Relay Smart Panel. I can, for example, dim the lights in our living room to 25% of full power when it’s time for the evening hours, or turn off all of the lights on our first floor and dim our bedroom lights when it’s time for bed. I can check the status of the lights at our house when I’m at work, or turn on a light when I know we’re going to be home after dark, and we forgot to turn on the porch light.
The Wink Hub really made leaps and bounds, however, when it received an update to integrate with our Amazon Echo. No longer do we have to pull our phones out of our pockets to turn on, turn off, or dim our lights. Now, we simply say, “Alexa, dim living room lights to 25%” and within seconds, soft mood lighting gently caresses our living room.
So what else have we purchased in 2015 that made our light so automatically easy? Late in the year, once we realized that our little guy wasn’t so little and made it difficult to retrieve our keys to get in the front door, we purchased the Schlage Connect Camelot Touchpad Deadbolt. We now have a deadbolt connected to our Wink Hub, that allows us to do so much more than your average deadbolt. As a father, I’m constantly worried about the safety of my family, and the first line of defense in our house, is our front door. Many times, at night, I would sit in bed and wonder if our front door was locked. I would fight the thought until I finally got out of bed, put on pants, and went to check the lock, usually to find that it was locked. With the Schlage Connect Deadbolt, I can now just check my phone, verify that the door is locked, and sleep a little easier. And with the Wink Hub, I can even program shortcuts that allow me, for example, to press one button on my phone when I pull into our driveway, and have our lights come on, our door unlock, and not have to worry about fishing my keys out of my pocket while carrying a chunky little baby.
Even Christmas brought us a new toy to play with, the GoControl Motion Sensor Control Kit. While I haven’t had much time to play with it, I can happily say that I wandered downstairs this morning, in my usual pre-coffee haze, and had our lights come on when I stepped into the living room, without ever having to touch a thing, or mutter a word!
I love living in a home automation home, and it’s been incredibly helpful to our family. Whether it’s shouting at the Amazon Echo to play another round of Kidz Bop Radio, or warming our Nest Thermostat up when we’re on the way, or unlocking our door because our hands are full of groceries, it’s been a great year for our house, and a great year for our home!
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