Streamline Your Daily Routine with Smart Assistants
Picture this: You pull into your driveway and without skipping a beat, your home practically comes to life. It’s an orchestra in motion: your smart garage door opens which triggers your smart lights to flip on in your kitchen. Your smart thermostat adjusts to your preferred temp and your smart oven cranks the heat in preparation for tonight’s dinner. You are a conductor and your home is a symphony — each device plays together in perfect tune.
How is this possible? Thanks to smart assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, your intelligent home can perform futuristic tasks on demand. And the key to getting the most out of your virtual sidekick? Routines. Alexa’s Routines allow for straightforward commands along with IFTTT (If This, Then That) to sync up your home and life. Plus, connected devices typically cut down on electricity costs by saving energy (cha-ching!).
Routines are a relatively new feature, with Amazon announcing their addition in September 2017 and Google unveiling theirs in March 2018.
How Do Routines for Smart Assistants Work?
Essentially, multiple actions can be programmed to a single phrase. So if you say, “Alexa, good morning,” or “Hey Google, rise and shine!” your assistant will kick into action performing several tasks at once — perhaps cranking up the thermostat, playing background music and preparing your caffeine fix. This saves you the hassle of listing off commands like a drill sergeant — no need for “Alexa, play music.” “Alexa, turn up the heat.” “Alexa, start the coffee pot.”
Routines are exclusive to a person (through their voice) so the whole family can set up their own.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
If you’re brand new to smart assistants, you’ll first need a smart speaker. There are several available on the market at affordable prices, such as the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, and Google Home. Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi and download the app for your device. From there, sync up your intelligent home gadgets (thermostat, locks, plugs, etc.) as you normally would. Routines are set up and customizable through your device’s app.
Streamline Your Life with Smart Assistant Routines
Let’s take a realistic look at how Routines could optimize your day. And of course, remember that your experience will vary depending on your personal preferences and the smart gadgets you have in your home.
6:30AM: “Wake up.”
- Takes your phone off “sleep mode”
- Announces the weather forecast and morning traffic
- Turns up the heat to your preferred setting
- Picks up on your latest podcast
- Brews a pot of coffee
8:00AM: “Leaving the house.”
- Locks up your home
- Tells security cameras to start streaming footage
- Sends robot vacuum to clean the floors
- Turns off any plugs not in use, like the one for your toaster
8:30AM: “Commuting to work.”
- Reads your upcoming meetings and appointments
5:00PM: “Commuting home.”
- Reads missed text messages
- Tells you the latest sports highlights
5:45PM: “Arrived home.”
- Turns on your television to your favorite show
- Dims lighting for a relaxing mood
- Turns up the heat to a comfortable temperature
- Deadbolts your front and back doors
- Lowers the heat to save energy and money
- Turns off lights, even the one you forgot in the basement
Are Smart Routines Really That Smart?
The idea of automating your home with a single phrase is quite remarkable — but there are some challenges to consider. For instance, there’s the initial setup. If your humble abode doesn’t already have high-tech gadgets, it takes money and effort to get started. And who wants to spend a Saturday afternoon changing out regular light bulbs to smart bulbs? If you already have a functioning thermostat, why replace it if you’re on a tight budget?
However, if you’ve closed on a home already equipped with smart home technology, smart assistants can help slash your electricity bill and make life all-around more convenient. Just cue the orchestra and watch your home’s devices come alive in perfect harmony.