On our most recent episode of the IoT Podcast, someone called in as a follow up to our discussion on hacking solutions with smart plugs. If you recall, I used a smart plug to help us out of a jam with our sump pump during a recent hurricane. It wasn’t a situation that I initially thought a smart plug would come in handy but it sure did.
Our voicemail caller recently had a problem with the central vacuum system in his home where it would constantly stay on. While he could have had a technician come in to fix the problem, that would have been expensive. A much cheaper solution was to use a smart plug.
I think this device is really overlooked and doesn’t get the respect it deserves compared to connected bulbs, video doorbells and the like. The poor, lowly smart plug!
These come in handy when you least expect it. Stacey, for example, plugged her television into a smart plug that was tied to IFTTT and her Fitbit. Using IFTTT, she only allowed the TV to turn on if she met her step goal as measured by her Fitbit.
Other folks have plugged in their smart home hub to a connected outlet so they can remotely reboot them. I’ve done just that with my Wink hub back in the day and it worked like a charm. Some people have said they use this trick for routers, but once you cut the power to the router using a smart plug, you can’t easily turn it back on without internet access, so we’re not sure how that would work. If you’ve accomplished this, please tell us how.
The biggest challenge I have is where I want to use a smart outlet but I can’t. The main reason? The device I want to plug in and control isn’t capable of remembering its power state. My coffee machine is a perfect example: I’d love to remotely turn it on when I wake up so that by the time I go downstairs to the kitchen, it’s ready to go. Unfortunately, cutting the power to my coffee maker effectively turns it off so that only by pressing the power button can I turn it back on.
It would be nice if some appliance makers could build devices that safely remember their power state so they work better with smart plugs. Regardless, the bigger picture here is: Don’t overlook smart plugs for creatively solving some problems in your smart home! Oh, and if you’re not sure which smart plugs to buy, we’ve got you covered with a few recommendations.
To hear this week’s voicemail, as well as our full discussion, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: