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Taking your smart home to the next level

An entry level look at using scenes and automations to elevate your smart home experience.

What Can Scenes and Automations Do For Me?

First let's talk about scenes, they allow you to control lots of accessories at one time. Think of something you do often that has the same sequence of events each time. For example, let's start with when you wake up. Do you repeat the same steps every day? Stop the alarm clock, turn on the bedroom light, open the blinds, turn on the bathroom light, start your favorite morning playlist. Well these are all things that can be done with a scene. You can create a scene called "Good Morning" and have all of those actions happen at once. How about when you go to bed? Do you turn off the lights, and I mean walk around the whole house and turn off all the lights. Then you lock the door, close the blinds, turn off the TV and so on and so on. You get the idea. Now what if you want these things to happen without any input from you? That's where we get into automations. Today we will talk about creating useful scenes around the house and how to create convenient automations to make them happen.

Adding a Scene

Depending on your smart home setup, how you create a scene will vary. Some apps will start with a basic collection of devices & actions and simply call this a scene while others may add more options a refer to it as a routine.

Creating a scene only requires a few steps. First you group together the devices you want to control, then you set the actions you want them to take. You’ll name the scene and then be able to activate it in a number of ways. Take a look at these step by step guides on creating scenes for Apple and Samsung devices.

Automating Scenes & Creating Routines

Automations are a great way to really elevate the smart home experience. They can activate an entire scene or just a single accessory. An automation involves a trigger, sometimes a condition or multiple conditions that need to be met, and then an action or set of actions to take.

Triggering an automation can be done in a number of ways. These are a few popular ways to do so: sensor based, like a door sensor or motion sensor; time based, including events like sunrise or sunset; and location based, when arriving to or leaving a location you specify. An easy automation to setup is having your lights turn on at sunset. Something more complex may involve turning on the lights when your front door opens, but only if nobody is in the living room, and only if it is after 4 pm but before 9 pm.

These are just a couple of examples on how to use an automation. As you start to build automations yourself you will see more advanced options. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to what your smart home can do. Here are a few links to get you started creating automations and routines on your devices.

Now that we've covered how to create scenes & routines you may be wondering what can this really do other than turn on some light bulbs. This is where the smart home really gets fun and more practical.

A great automation I use daily is locking the door and turning off all the lights when I leave for work in the mornings. I don't always leave at the same time so having this automation run based on my location is a very handy feature. In addition, this only happens if nobody else is home. If anyone else is still home then the automation won't run. When I arrive home the door automatically unlocks as I approach. When I open the door, if nobody is in the living room and the lights are off, they will turn on.

Another easy automation to setup is having your lights turn on at sunset. Something more complex would be like my example of turning on the lights when your front door opens, but only if nobody is in the living room, and you can add conditions like only if it is after 4 pm but before 9 pm. Smart lights are usually LED and they seemed expensive when I first started. Looking back and thinking about it now though, it's a bargain considering I've only had to replace one light bulb in the past 8 years. To be honest it didn't even burn out, it would still turn on or off with the light switch, but it no longer connected to wifi so I replaced it with a newer one. There is still something futuristic about waking up in the morning and tapping one button or speaking a simple voice command to start my day. A Good Morning routine can turn on the lights, start the shower at your preferred temperature, open the blinds, have the weather displayed on your tv, your calendar events and appointments announced, and so much more.

Adding scenes or automations to your smart home setup is one of the first steps in getting the most out of your home. Hopefully this has helped you to understand the usefulness and practicality of adding these tools into your setup. Thanks for reading and comment your questions or thoughts down below. Feel free to suggest future topics, we'd love to hear what you want to know more about.



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