On our most recent IoT Podcast, Matt called in to our voicemail hotline with an interesting use for a smart plug. Normally, we take questions from our hotline, but Matt’s idea was too good not to share. Essentially, he figured out a way to add a smart button to his house without actually owning or buying a button.
As background, Matt’s wife has been ill and recovering in bed. Thankfully, he says she’s getting better! Her bedroom is on the second floor of their home and Matt’s home office is in the basement. So they needed a simple method for Matt’s wife to contact him when she needed something.
Texting would likely be what most people would think of, but during her recovery time, that proved to be too difficult for Matt’s wife. Essentially, something simple, like ringing an old-school bell, was needed. Here’s where Matt’s useful idea solves the problem.
Since nearly all smart plugs have physical buttons on them to enable or disable the power, Matt repurposed a smart plug to use as a smart button.
He installed one smart plug within reach of his wife in her bedroom. And he has lamps connected to smart plugs in his basement home office. Using the bedroom smart plug button as a trigger event, he created a rule in his smart plug mobile app that turned on a light in his office when his wife needed something.
Boom: An “on-call” button without dedicated smart button hardware!
Matt used Wyze plugs for his implementation but this solution should work for any brand of smart plugs. To keep things simple, it’s likely best to use two plugs from the same brand and set up your automation rule in the supporting mobile app.
Either way, this is a fantastic use of smart home technology, particularly when you can reuse one connected device for a different but useful purpose.
To hear Matt’s suggestion, as well as our discussion in full, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: