This post is to explain how I’ve personally setup my smarthome environment. There are many options out there, and I’ll discuss why I’ve chosen the equipment I have.
The center of my smarthome is my Google Home. This acts as my central controller and main input device. You can use an Amazon Alexa, or Apple Homepod, or the Essential home instead, but I’ve chosen the Google home primarily because I have already used Google Assistant with my Google Pixel smartphone. I also liked the contextual searches of Google Assistant over the competition (I can ask follow up questions naturally!)
Now I can link my smart devices with my Google Home, and through commands I issue on my phone or to my Google home, I can control things such as my lights, TV, fans, or other smart switches. I enjoy creating chain commands, or macro commands, triggering multiple devices with one command. I’ll explain how I do that below.
Smart Bulb – I use Lifx light bulbs, they are more expensive than other lightbulbs out there, but you can use them without a separate hub to control them. That was my main reason for purchasing Lifx bulbs.
Smart Plug – I use Wemo smart plugs, you can simply plug them into any outlet and then you can toggle that devices power over wifi
Media Controller – Logitech Harmony Hub – Harmony Hub turns your smartphone or tablet into a universal remote, giving you control over your home entertainment and smart home devices. I’ve connected my Tv, soundbar, xbox, cable box, and lights to mine.
I’ll be setting this up with an Android phone – you can access the Home app on your device to setup your Google Home, add new smart devices, control those devices, add content to playlists and so on. To add devices, click the menu tab in the upper left and select the Home control tab. Click the plus in the lower right to add your new device. You can select your device from the list and follow the steps from there.
Once you have added your devices, it will be time to setup commands. My favorite app to use is IFTTT which stands for If This Than That. It’s a great app which allows you to setup custom voice commands by selecting an input (examples are: a command to google assistant, or a change in the local weather, or your favorite sport team just scored – all are examples of inputs) and you then set an output (examples are: Turning on a light, launching your movie sequence, or updating a google sheet)
For a command to google assistant, Click the my applets tab, and then click the plus in the top right corner. Click on IF THIS, and search for google assistant. I use the say a simple phrase trigger, and then you can put multiple variations on how to say a command, and what your want google to respond with. You can then set a secondary action the THEN THAT. Select what device you want to control, if you don’t want any secondary action, do something simple like add a line to a google sheet.
With your command setup, you can then select whether you want notifications each time it runs, or you can switch that off. Now you have a smart home! In my next post, I will cover creating macro commands and show you how you can operate multiple devices with just one phrase!