Automation Advice

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Posted by Jack Zhang on

The Best Google Assistant Applets For the ELA Network

When transforming your traditional lighting solutions into smart lighting applications, there are a number of benefits to be had. With ELA, one of those benefits is the easy integration of your ELA system with several smart home voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home’s Google Assistant.

Once integrated, there are a number of functions that can be set up so that you are getting the most out of your smart lighting experience. We’ll examine Alexa in a later piece. For now, let’s focus on Google Home and the best applets available for your ELA system.

 

What’s An Applet?

If you’re unfamiliar, an applet is like a mini application that performs a single, or limited number of functions. If you’re looking for applets to use with your ELA system, look no further than IFTTT.com

 

Using IFTTT, you are able to enable a number of applets that work with your lighting system and in conjunction with Google Assistant. Because after all, what’s the point of having a virtual home assistant and smart lights if they can’t work together?

 

Here are some of the best Google Assistant applets you can find on IFTTT to use with your lighting solutions.

 

Set The Scene

Like a mood ring, you can use Google Assistant to customize your lighting based on how you’re feeling. Customize different colors or shades for how you are feeling. Happy? Maybe you want the light to be a bit brighter.

 

Sad? Maybe you want it to be blue?

Want to relax? Perhaps you’d like the light to be dimmer.

 

Customize with Google Assistant your preferred settings and always have the correct lighting.

You can do this by setting a simple phrase. Make it personal to you. That way when you say it, boom, your mood is correct, and the lighting is on par.


Goodnight Time

Remember those old commercials? Clap on, clap off! To turn off the lights? Now you don’t even have to do that. It’s even simpler. All you have to do is say “Goodnight Google” and the lights will turn off for you.

 

Change The Color

Bored? Need a change of pace? Just looking for something new and different? You can ask Google Assistant to change the color of your lighting scheme. Set the scene for a dinner party, shed some light on the subject, or just add a tinge of color on a dreary day.

Simply tell Google what color you’d like, and they’ll take care of the rest.

 

Morning Routine

It’s always important to get a fresh start to each day. With Google Assistant, simply wish Google a good morning and your lights will turn on automatically. What’s more, if you have a connected Android device, it will start playing music.

 

And So Much More...

The above is just a sampling of the applets available to you for your ELA lighting solutions. Explore more at IFTTT and see how else you can integrate your ELA system with other applications and smart home utilities.

 

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Posted by Jack Zhang on

A Beginners Guide to IFTTT

 

In the world of IoT, there’s a lot to absorb. So much in fact that it may seem intimidating at first. True, there’s a lot to learn but often it isn’t as complicated as it seems. One area which seems confusing to many at first is the world of IFTTT, or “If This, Then That.”

 

What Is IFTTT?

“If This, Then That” is a free web service that helps to automate certain processes, especially as it pertains to other tasks. This is done through the use of Applets. Applets may sound like complex jargon, but really are just small applications (programs). In fact, when you hear “Applet,” you should be hearing “small, simple program.”

By using these Applets, you are able to use the IFTTT service to tie certain programs together and create conditions which dictate further actions. Lost yet? Relax. It’s simple!

By using certain “recipes” from IFTTT you can join devices, set conditions, and otherwise link specific actions. For example, let’s say you’d like to receive a notification whenever one of your contacts has a birthday, there’s an Applet for that. 

Want to receive a notification whenever the International Space Station flies over your house? There’s an app for that too. No pun intended, but the sky is the limit and there are 1,000’s of Applets to choose from and creating your own is easy as well.

 

How Does It Work?

What the Applet does is essentially create a set of conditions that, when met, trigger an action. The meaning is in the name IFFFT.

If THIS happens then THAT happens. For example, If the International Space Station flies overhead, then you get a notification. Notifications can come through email, text, or via the IFTTT app.

 

IFTTT For IoT

There are many IFTTT Applets to choose from as they pertain to your IoT devices. For example, you may want to set your smart thermostat to maintain a certain temperature once you’ve left the house. You may want to set your smart lights to a certain level when you approach the front door, etc.

 

There are many existing recipes that can accomplish this task and more are being added every day. If your devices are compatible, there’s an IFTTT recipe to be found or made.

 

Why Would I Use IFTTT?

 

Many smart devices have built-in notifications or allow for a certain level of customization. Why then, is IFTTT helpful? IFTTT bridges the gaps where proprietary services may fail as well as links separate services to one another.

Your smart washing machine may already send you a notification when the wash cycle is done. However, perhaps you’d like to be informed differently? Your smart washing machine probably can’t flash your smart lights to let you know the wash is ready to be put into the dryer. IFTTT is most useful in this way. When two programs or services are not otherwise joined, IFTTT can provide the bridge.

Want to automatically save all your Tweets? Create a saved copy of your emails in Google Drive? Now you can.

 

Getting Started With IFTTT

Getting started with IFTTT is as simple as signing up online and/or downloading their mobile app. This can be done by signing up with your Google or Facebook account, or even just an email address if you’re “old school.” From there you’ll be able to link services, create and browse recipes, and more. The system is user-friendly as well as intuitive.

Have fun creating your own recipes or browsing existing ones. IFTTT has an extensive list of partners which are constantly adding new recipes to the list. Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, Google, and more are all compatible with IFTTT. When creating or implementing your recipes, you will need to allow IFTTT to connect to certain accounts (Such as your Facebook account) if that’s when that recipe calls for. 

IFTTT sounds spooky, but it really isn’t! It’s a sleek, clean way to automate processes, set up cool combinations, and get the most out of your devices, subscriptions, and services. So, don’t be shy. Try a recipe today. IF you do, THEN we guarantee you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

 

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Posted by Jack Zhang on

Light Timer

You know the drill.

 

It’s 7 AM. You’re startled out of a deep, peaceful slumber by the piercing sound of your alarm. You’re already annoyed (with your heart beating out of your chest) and now it’s time to get up, turn on the lights (which are somehow brighter than the sun) and fumble through the morning still half asleep. By the end of it, you’ve gone from feeling mildly irritated to fully enraged.

 

Don’t know the feeling? Well, here’s some simple math:

 

Obnoxious alarm + sight depriving light = very unhappy start to the day.

 

 

 

It goes without saying that mornings like those are no fun at all, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Maybe you can’t do anything about the early mornings themselves, but the experience can be transformed. I can tell you – cutting out all those unpleasant triggers in the first moments upon awakening can make all the difference between a drab morning and an energizing one. Imagine a morning without any distressing commotion, a morning that is highly anticipated and full of inspiration.

 

 

Does this seem achievable?

I can tell you that it is, and I have the solution for you.

 

The answer is Lettin Smart Lighting – the most convenient tool for unlocking the type of morning that isn’t an oxymoron. It’s an automated lighting system where each bulb is connected to your phone via WiFi. All the controls are easily accessible through one device!

 

Lettin presents you with a variety of customizable options, such as:

  • Choosing the brightness of morning lights (with millions of colors to choose from!)
  • Choosing when the lights turn on
  • Choosing when to get out of bed! ;)

 

With just a tap of your smartphone, mornings can be taken from disheartening to empowering. All those early morning nuisances are eradicated with one simple installation; resulting in a permanent and blissful beginning to each new day. 

 

All the lights are connected and controlled through your phone, making it easy to use and helpful at eliminating all that unnecessary early morning stress. Plus, it’s simple; If you can set the alarm on your phone, you can set the light timer in the Lettin app. Now, it's just a matter of waking up to experience the ever elusive "good morning".

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Posted by Jack Zhang on

DELL is Committed to The Future of IoT In A Big Way

If you’re plugged into the world of IoT, little more than a day goes by without some exciting news. It’s true, the world of IoT is changing rapidly. What’s more, it’s growing by leaps and bounds with new products and bold initiatives that promise to fundamentally change the way we live, work, and more.

Often, IoT news can be dominated by young, hungry startups with big ideas and big funding. In fact, there are over 3,000 IoT businesses currently operating in the United States. Startups get a lot of the love when it comes to IoT, though it isn’t as if major players in tech aren’t getting involved. Far from it.

Recently, Dell technologies unveiled a bold and progressive new strategy outlining their approach to IoT and the steps the plan on taking over the next several years.

 

A New IoT Division

Dell will be creating a new division within the company specifically to address IoT products and services. The primary goal of the division will be to orchestrate the development of these products and services both internally and through partnerships within the existing Dell network.

 

Distributed Computing

Dell is developing a new model for computing that aims to combine the powers of IoT, automation, and AI together. This new distributed computing model is being touted as a way of creating a new interdependent ecosystem “from the edge to the core of the cloud” as CEO Michael Dell put it.

 

New Partner Program

Over the next three years, Dell will invest $1 billion in new products, services, and initiatives; much of it through a partnership program. Dell has already partnered with Microsoft to create a new IoT offering that seeks to consolidate and integrate both company’s existing and future IoT developments.

First up? The new platform will seek to bring together Microsoft’s Azure IoT Edge with Dell edge gateways and VMWare’s Pulse IoT Center. VMWare’s current CTO, Ray O’Farrell will be leading the new Dell IoT division which is likely to play a large role in this venture.

 

New Investments

Dell Technologies Capital is the venture arm of Dell. Founded in 2012, Dell Technologies Capital is committed to investing heavily in IoT solutions by providing startup funding, market guidance, and more. A few projects in development include advanced IoT security solutions, AI technology, and more.

 

What’s Next?

Dell is not the only large player getting involved in the IoT game. Microsoft is about as large a partner as Dell could hope for. IBM, Google, Amazon, and other large companies are also investing heavily in exploring and innovating the world of IoT.

As time goes on, consumers can expect more progress in the IoT sphere with products and services aimed at integrating technologies more seamlessly, developing new solutions, and innovating existing processes.

Where does that leave the consumer? Hopefully with a bevy of exciting new IoT products to choose from soon. IoT is here to stay and bold new products are on the way. With a large commitment and renewed focus from several major tech companies, it may be here sooner than we think.

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Posted by Jack Zhang on

Why Smart Lighting is Great in the Evening

When it comes to conserving energy, there is no end to the list of ways you can cut costs and use fewer resources. In fact, automation is a key factor, both in the workplace and now at home, that will assist you in this endeavor. At the same time, your efforts should reward you in other ways, including making life more convenient and even brightening your mood overall.

Smart lighting can do all of this and more, especially in the evening. Consider that smart lighting can be fully automated, add a certain ambiance after the sun goes down, and even play a role in entertainment, especially in the evening.

 

How Smart Lighting Works

Smart lighting can be programmed a number of ways, including based on an occupancy sensor (detection of motion), photosensing (based on amount of ambient lighting), and automated scheduling. In fact, many smart lighting systems use a combination of these things to function in order to save you the most energy and provide the best possible experience.

One of the nicest things about having smart lighting in the evening in relation to these particular benefits is that you can utilize the geofencing option provided by the system, using an app that works in conjunction with Google maps. What that means is that, if you’ve forgotten to turn off the lights before leaving or don’t want to walk to your car in the dark, you can leave the lights burning. Then, when you exceed a certain distance in radius to your home, they will automatically shut off. Then, upon your return to the ‘fenced’ area, they will automatically come back on so you’re never in the dark.

 

Cloud Control

In the past, people have incorporated an automatic on/off control when they’re out of town to make it appear as though someone is home, operating the lights, for security purposes. But the regular schedule can be sussed out (think about Home Alone).

By contrast, smart lighting allows you to tap into a cloud, where you can control the state of your lighting remotely. So, while you’re on vacation, you can create random patterns of changing lights for a more realistic ‘occupancy’ appearance. This can create even greater peace of mind so you can better enjoy your travels.

 

Color Combinations

Another great thing about smart lighting is that you aren’t stuck with a plain white light scenario. You can choose from a variety of colors, impacting your physiological state. For example, on nights when you’re entertaining outdoors and want everyone alert, you can utilize cooler colors that help people stay focused and high energy. On quiet nights when you need relaxation, you can implement warmer tones.

A combination of colors can really make an ambient stage for any evening. Consider using warm blues with off whites to help soften the look while still brightly illuminating the area. You could also work with a warm yellow, accented with a darker blue, which can be separated for warm and cool color needs or used in conjunction to gently keep people relaxed but focused.

 

Smart Lighting Works

With the way you can save money and add convenience to your life, as well as these other incredible benefits, there’s no reason you shouldn’t start looking into smart lighting in your home, especially in the evening. The investment is small in comparison to the savings, and the bulbs are inexpensive to replace and extremely durable and long lasting. With smart lighting, you can really achieve a great atmosphere with little effort in your home.

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