Smart Holiday

By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0 Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

Smart lighting has been a part of smart home setups for a number of years now.  It’s great for saving energy, turning lights on and off remotely, and often comes with the option of  turning on when it gets dark or a specific time.

Did you know that you can use this technology for the holidays?  There are a number of ways to add your decorations to your smart home system.

Holiday Music:

Amazon Alexa and Google Home allow you to sync music across your smart speakers.  You can play the same holiday music across all your rooms on these devices.  To do this you usually set up “speaker groups” in your devices app.   For example, the Alexa App for Alexa and the Google Nest App for Nest.  Once you do this you can ask the speaker to play a playlist on all the speakers in the group.  Thus sending holiday cheer throughout your home in a coordinated way.

Holiday Smell:

You can get that holiday scent such as evergreen or hot apple pie from a smart device to put throughout your home.  There are a number of devices that can do this.  An example is the Pura Automated Home Fragrance Device or the Asakuki Smart Wi-Fi Diffuser.   Both run under $40 and have good ratings online.

Smart Plugs:

One of the easiest ways to add automation and save energy is to use a smart plug for your holiday lights.  A regular indoor smart plug will work for your tree and inside lights.  For outside you need a weatherproof version and there are a number on the market.  Make sure you get one that works with your smart home system.  Smartthings offer about $22 for an indoor plug and $27 for an outdoor, Nest offers devices for about $35, and most other systems have these devices available as well.

Smart Trees:

If you want to step it up, you might consider a smart tree.  The “Mr. Christmas Alexa-compatible tree” is one example.  They run about $250 on Amazon and offer a number of features.  In addition to the normal abilities of scheduling times to turn on and off you can also set the colors and even a “twinkle” mode.

Smart Lights:

Be the talk of the neighborhood with smart holiday light strings.  Twinkly is a version of a number of smart holiday lights on the market that can be controlled and customized from your phone.  You set up the lights where you want them and then take a picture from your phone.  From that you can customize them any way you like by simply tapping the lights in the picture on your screen.

From our team at User Friendly 2.0 to yours have a wonderful Holiday season!  The Tech Wednesday Blog will return in January of 2021.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw