OK, Now that we’ve all had fun talking about all the future stuff that is supposed to be coming this year, let’s have fun talking about what has actually arrived!
What Home automation device/feature/automation which is new to you in 2019 is your favorite? Basically anything since last Christmas. (So stuff you got for the holidays counts. )
Big, small, whatever as long as it’s fully installed and you’re actually using it.
Looking back over the last six months, I think my favorite is the echo button. These come in a two pack for $20, occasionally on sale at two for $16.
This is a big button about the size of a pack of playing cards. It’s white when it’s off, when you tap it it changes color but you don’t get to pick what color it is.
The only thing it does is send a “button pressed“ message to a nearby echo device, which it pairs with via Bluetooth. So when I first saw them I thought they would only be good for playing games on echo.
But then a few months ago they added the ability for these to trigger an echo routine (not a SmartThings routine), and once you have that, you have integration with lots of other things, including virtual switches for smartthings.
This is an excellent size for a kid’s nightstand, or a dog to push, or even mounted on the wall as a switch. Just remember there has to be an echo device nearby as well.
We started with one (I split a two pack with my brother), and now we have five.
It’s not elegant, but it’s cheap, pretty sturdy, easy to push, and works well.
this is the routine I use when I know my housemate is playing video games in the family room and I need help, but it’s not a real emergency. Since the light stays on, it’s a reminder to him but it doesn’t interrupt his game if he is on a crucial campaign.
I guess as I think about it my favorite thing is really the feature that is echo routines, but I do like this button.
I even have one in my wheelchair saddlebag I can have my dog press to alert my housemate that we are home. (The dog can press it right through the saddlebag fabric.)
I used to use a much more complicated setup involving Geopresence, but this works really well for us now.
Also, for an extra $8 - $10 you can trick this out with vinyl skins from any of about 100 different designs.