The "Smart Home" is a cool vision -- You can automate your house by connecting your lights and appliances and locks and sensors and other devices together, control them remotely, and even access them over the Internet. So you can turn on the lights automatically as you approach the house, or fire up the slow cooker when you are finally ready to head home.
But all this can be a significant investment in time and money, even to get started with a few devices. You also need to choose and set up the infrastructure to connect them together. And, with the recent news about hacking large numbers of embedded devices that are part of this Internet of Things (IoT), you also need to be careful about security, including changing default passwords and validating firewall access.
Or -- you can get started the easy way with the Switchmate home smart light switch. There's literally no installation, no need to re-wire the light fixture. Instead, simply place the Switchmate over your existing light switch, and it attaches magnetically to the existing screws. There's no tools, no wires, no fuss at all.
The Switchmate then has a motorized slider that can flick the switch on and off, which you can control wirelessly from your smartphone over Bluetooth.
Using the Switchmate app (iOS or Android), you then can control the lights remotely, including having them turn on automatically as you enter the room, and setting timers for it to turn on and off, whether you are at home or away.
This is a clever approach to getting started with smart home automation. It works well -- the magnets are strong enough to keep the Switchmate securely in place, and you can still flick the switch manually. It runs on two AA batteries that should last up to one year.
The Switchmate home smart light switch is available for $39.99, in white and ivory to match your decor, and with models for either toggle (standard) or rocker switches.
See Holiday Tech 2016 for more fun holiday ideas from the mobile digital revolution.
Find the Switchmate Home Smart Light Switch on Amazon.com