Bring your Christmas lights into this century with the help of Siri and HomeKit!
If you decorate your home for the holidays, you can make things a little more futuristic and a lot more interesting by adding some HomeKit enabled devices to the mix!
That way you can ask Siri to turn off your tree, power down your inflatable reindeer, and shut down the red and green yard lights.
Plug 'em in, plug 'em in
The easiest way to go about controlling your holiday display is by connecting your lights to a HomeKit-enabled switch. A HomeKit-enabled switch — at the very least — lets you turn on and off whatever's plugged in. Some take things a step further and feature a nightlight, let you monitor energy usage, etc.
There are loads of HomeKit-enabled switches on the market at this point (it's a pretty obvious HomeKit product), but there are a few that stand above the rest.
The iDevices Switch from — you guessed it — iDevices is one of my favorite HomeKit-enabled switches.
Not only does it feature a customizable night light (it's got an LED strip running across the front that can be changed to loads of different colors), but it's also smart about taking up space. See, the problem with these internet-connected devices is they have to be big enough to contain all the necessary smarts. But that can mean a huge, honking wall sore. The iDevices Switch puts the plug on the side so there's less jutting out of the front of the device. It's clever!
You can also use it to monitor energy usage so when the kids ask why you turned off the inflatable Frosty the Snowman before 10 p.m., you can tell them their allowance would have to be used to cover the extra wattage!
iDevices Outdoor Switch
The iDevices Outdoor Switch is a whole lot like the indoor variant. The difference? It's air-tight. Yep, you can be certain that annual blizzard won't destroy your HomeKit-enabled switch.
It also features two plugs instead of one and the same energy monitoring as the indoor switch.
Elgato Eve Energy
Elgato Eve Energy is a lot like the iDevices Switch. It plugs into the wall and you plug something into it. It'll also let you track power consumption and the Eve app does a good job of visualizing that data over time.
It's got a nice slim design, but unlike the iDevices Switch, you'll have to plug your electronics into the front of it, so it does jut out of the wall a little more.
The Eve Energy features an indicator light that doubles as a switch — you just press the little green button to turn on and off whatever you've got hooked up to it.
iHome Smart Plug
The iHome Smart Plug recently got an update that brings it in line (and potentially past the line) with the competition.
Much like the previous two plugs, you plug it into the wall and plug whatever you'd like into it. The iHome Smart Plug now features an RF remote so those without smart home control can turn on and off the device.
Interestingly, unlike similar plugs, the iHome Smart Plug connects over Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth LE. In my experience, Wi-Fi connected home automation accessories are far better than their Bluetooth LE cousins, because they stay connected. Bluetooth LE devices tend to lose connection and require some form of "wake up" process.
Also, just like the other plugs, you can keep track of energy consumption. Pro tip: Buy LED Christmas and holiday lights. They cost more up front, but they'll save you money each year and you'll be using them for years to come!
Light it up!
Smart plugs are an easy way to augment your current setup, but you can do some super fancy stuff with HomeKit-enabled bulbs.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance
If you've got Philips Hue lights in your home, you might consider picking up a few extra Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs. They're bright, they're able to change to loads of different colors, and they're just doggone neat!
You can set up a red and green theme when you watch your favorite holiday movies and a blue and white theme when you want to bring a little winter into your home.
Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus
It's a little (a lot) more expensive than regular ol' Christmas and holiday lights, but the Philips Hue Lightstrip can make for a dazzling holiday display in your home.
The Philips Hue Lightstrip is six feet of multi-color LEDs in a bendable strip. You can wrap it around your furniture, string it behind your TV or home entertainment setup, fasten it to your baseboard, etc. It's pretty nifty!
With more than 16 million colors and 50 thousand shades of white to choose from, the possibilities are endless.
Decorating for the holidays?
Are you decorating your home for the holidays?
Will you be using any smart home accessories? Gimme a shout on Twitter or in the comments below — I wanna hear your plans!