Walking in the digital age – more like speeding through the digital age with all the recent technological advances that have been made in our ever present and ever-changing society. Now we are noticing it is the new year and a new year may inspire new home renovations or for some of our staff at Hawkins & Co. New Home Innovation.
Recently plaguing the market are these wonderful hubs to make our homes voice controlled. Now I will admit I was an adamant naysayer when it came to making those electronic and smart upgrades to my home. That is until I got an echo dot (3rd gen) to try to update my room/office space. My perspective more aligned with a smart way to save on electricity and to make things much easier in a fast-paced life.
In our office, we are using both systems.
Our lovely office manager Danielle, uses the Google Home. Here are her thoughts on Google Home:
“I have my Google Home mainly in place for my TV system and making it easier for our general enjoyment of Netflix and YouTube. We all love to ask it to play music and have it attached to our Spotify account. This makes it easy to play music for dinner parties and while cleaning the house (also for a 7-year-old to run by asking Google to play the Spiderman theme song for everyone else while he takes off laughing and yelling “I pranked you all”).
My oldest loves to play the quiz games with Google and was constantly doing one that was related to FIFA soccer when we first installed it. And both boys love to ask Google to translate what they are saying into other languages, which I will note is what you typically think young boys would ask to have translated because knowing how to say “I farted” in Chinese or Russian is very important.
We also recently upgraded the lights in our family room to wifi lights so that Google can control those as well. We love this as we can dim them or turn on only one when we want too. But buyer beware not all tech controlled lights work the same and read the fine print before bringing them home. Compatible doesn’t always translate into easy to use/set up.
Overall we love it and we will be purchasing other items to hook up to in the future :-)”
Now in my home, we are using as previously mentioned the Echo Dot as well as the Echo in the main area of the house. Recently we have integrated our power outlets and surge protectors into the echo system using the Smart Life App. As well as the lighting in our house, with the Sengled hub and bulbs, which allows us to control our lighting with Alexa or via the app, it also tracks the amount of money we are saving with our Smart LED light bulbs which are super cool. A feature I like about the Sengled system is the dimmer on the lights, where you can dim the lights without having to install a dimming system. How cool is that?! What I love about my Amazon Alexa, is that she has made my life that much easier, as well as doubling as an alarm clock and a weather station and a mini speaker. I can get a morning brief as well as turning everything off before heading out the door. The coolest feature I would have to say is the skills that you can teach your system. You can add anything from yoga sessions to catching up on the stock market, to heavy rain to help you sleep at night. I also like that it has games like Simon Says (my son loves to play with Alexa). It’s cool the integration that comes with Spotify as well. All in all the only feature I would change is being able to change the names of my outlets but other than that once you get to use to using it you kind of remember which is which especially as they are programmed throughout the house.
All in all, I feel like it is safe to say that maybe if you are looking to renovate, or innovate your home into 2019, that you should check out the affordable choices for trying one room in your house and watch yourself fall in love with having a voice-assisted home.
We’d love to hear your experiences as well. Be sure to share in the comments below!
Happy Tech Year from us at Hawkins & Co.
~ Olivia (and Danielle)