Be a home automation champion and put “smart” in smart plugs with these 10 creative ideas!
In this article:
- What Is a Smart Plug?
- Risks and Countermeasures
10 Home Automation Ideas Using Smart Plugs
What Is a Smart Plug?
A Smart Plug is an outlet extension that can be connected to a Wi-Fi network letting you control appliances remotely with an app.
When used in tandem with smart apps, home automation junkies can do so much more. We’ve listed some ingenious uses below.
1. Smarter, Convenient Mornings
Wouldn’t it be lovely to wake up to a perfectly brewed coffee, or a delightful hot dish waiting for you? Before going to bed, simply prep your coffee maker or load your microwave and schedule a brew or heating using an app.
Enjoy a few extra minutes of sleep with lesser morning to-dos to get you going fired up and ready for your day.
2. Protect Your Home from Thieves
Some burglars are more opportunistic than strategic. They see a house empty for a couple of days, they see a goldmine.
If you’re away for a considerable amount of time and are worried about your home’s safety, you can outsmart these criminals by playing around with your lights and appliances to make it look like the house isn’t empty.
With the use of a timer or an app, you can create illusions of activity in your abode with the tap of a button. Turn the lights on when it’s starting to get dark, play some music, turn on the TV—you get it, be creative.
3. Perfect Temperature
Some smart plug models have the capability to check the weather condition. Save energy by instructing your smart plug to turn your AC, humidifiers, or heaters on and off at specific temperatures and humidity levels — convenience and frugality in one.
4. Smart Sprinklers
You can use a smart plug to create a watering schedule and turn off your sprinklers if it’s predicted to rain.
5. Control Your Kid’s Screen Time
Is it time for homework already? Getting your kids to turn their devices off can be a struggle.
Not if you can control which electronics stay on and at what certain times! Have the power to turn the TV, gaming console, or even the router off with the help of a smart plug.
6. Automated Green House
If you want to take your gardening to the next level, you can try automating your very own greenhouse. This means creating a synergy between smart thermometers and your smart plugged vent, misting, and heater controls.
7. Never Worry About Leaving Any Appliance on Again
You’re off to work or a trip. Suddenly, you find yourself wrestling with your mind about whether or not you left the hair straightener on. Enter the dreadful anxiety of possibly burning your place down.
With the help of a smart plug, you can say goodbye to worries like this.n a just a second, you can turn off whatever device you feel you may have left on.
8. Bedtime for You, Bedtime for Your Devices, Too
Leaving appliances turned on the whole night can blow up your electric bill. Plus, isn’t it annoying when you have to get out of bed just to turn off the TV downstairs?
With the help of smart plugs, you can easily switch off everything from the convenience of your bed.
One way to do this is with a smartwatch or a fitness band. With the Jawbone Up and IFTTT integration teamed up with a smart plug, programming your appliances to shut down when you go to bed is very much possible.
IFTTT Definition: If This Then That, or IFTTT, is a free web-based service that allows users to create simple scripts or applets, where an event in one service or device triggers an action in another.
9. Safer Charging
We’ve all overcharged a device at least once in our lifetime. Something that’s not so good for our batteries.
With a smart plug on the equation, this will never happen again. Just program the ideal charging duration for your device and it’s going to be like overcharging has never even been a concept that ever existed.
10. Seasonal Ideas
Awesome Halloween Tricks
Pull the craziest prank on your buddies this Halloween.
Your friend goes to the restroom. After doing his business he comes out to an empty house.
The lights are out and an eerie piano piece suddenly plays somewhere in the house. Then the lamp by the living room turns on and off as the AC blasts off to max.
While the piano piece reaches its climax, the TV turns on, max volume flashing some serious gory stuff. Ehhhh.
You get it, you can be creative!
Automated Christmas Lights
If you’re like us and love Christmas, chances are you put up lights during the holidays. You’re also likely to be familiar with the dilemma of not being sure when exactly to shut them off.
Well, we choose to leave them on for a couple of hours at night for the neighborhood to enjoy but when it gets late and you’re all comfy in bed or on the couch, getting up to turn them off can be a real drag.
Enter the smart plug. Now you can schedule when your lights go live and when they go off.
Risks and Countermeasures
Like any other Internet of Things devices, there comes a certain level of risk with using smart plugs—they could be the entry point of hackers when invading your home network to steal your data.
Unlike a home break-in where there’ll be obvious signs of the crime, digital privacy invasion is more sneaky.
Here are a few things you can do to protect your family.
Internet of Things Definition: the convergence of computing devices via the Internet allowing them to communicate and carry out practical functions.
1. Always Complete Security Updates Especially on New Devices
These security updates are meant to protect you from criminals. Better think about it first before skipping a software update and pressing “download later” on your device.
On the other hand, for smart home gadgets that do not automatically update, it is advised to check the app for your smart device for firmware updates.
When buying smart devices, one should also check the update log between the manufacture date and the time it is bought. Most of the time, these updates are fixes for the previous version’s vulnerabilities so choosing not to update could be really risky.
2. Use Multifactor Authentication
Security experts will tell you that having just one password isn’t enough nowadays. An authentication factor beyond a usual password can add a layer of security to your home network and, ultimately, your data.
This extra authentication factor could be anything from a security key to a one-time code sent to a known phone through call or text. With this, unknown users have no way of accessing your smart devices or the apps used to control them.
Other options include biometric authentication such us the use of a fingerprint, eye scan, and even voice and facial recognition. With the use of multifactor authentication, you’re are still protected even if a perpetrator has stolen your username and password.
3. Install Malware Protection
Antivirus apps, like Malwarebytes, have built-in firewalls that let you choose which apps run on your phone or computer. If an app that you’ve never used before runs, the program will alert you and prevent malware from being used on your device.
4. Always Change Default Usernames and Passwords on New Devices
There are online forums where hackers can easily get default usernames and passwords of devices. Make sure to change the usernames and passwords of your new devices including smart plugs, refrigerators, and other appliances to secure passphrases with numbers, symbols, and capitalization.
5. Only Use Known Devices
Do not pick up, or worse, use an unfamiliar USB drive or CD you might find somewhere. Hackers like to prey on our natural curiosity and some of us unfortunately still fall for this trick (AKA social engineering).
Hackers tend to leave malware-equipped devices outside office buildings, homes, or any communal places. A Google study shows that 50% of people will put a stray memory stick into their computers—some of us take the bait, and end up paying for it later.
6. Don’t Use the Same Network for Your Main Computer and Your Devices
Segregating your internet connections can reduce the risk of getting all of your devices hacked. You can either get a separate internet connection or split your existing one with a virtual local area network (VLAN).
A VLAN can segment your main network and compartmentalize traffic. Because of this, when one device is compromised, it cannot be a tool to access the others.
Watch these smart plug that works With Alexa & Google home in this video from Top 10 Zone:
Convenience and energy efficiency—smart plugs can bring your home to a whole new level of awesome.
Isn’t it amazing how such small a device can let you go big on automating your home? What a time to be alive!