Our way of interaction with machines has changed so fast since Internet has grown exponentially for the last years. Most of us consume services like spotify, netflix, twitter, amazon... If you stop to think, you'll notice Internet has opened a new door for humans to interact with machines, and the next step is going to be machines interacting with machines. For example, we are not far away from configure our fridge with our basics and let it do our groceries order weekly by itself, rather than open any ecommerce and spend time on it. That would be machines interacting with machines.

All these new ideas will come to our homes creating smart homes and making our life easier. Below I'll show how easy was to solve two of my daily headaches by using smart plugs.

First, let me introduce you what gadget I'm using for this:

I bought 2 of them in different orders. I recommend you to track the prices as sometimes it raises and decreases quickly. At the time of writing this post, the price is EUR 33.20 but if you keep an eye, it's possible you can get it by less than EUR 25.00. I got them paying EUR 19.99 and EUR 24.91.

There's also another version a bit more expensive with exactly the same appearance but with the additional feature of energy consumption monitoring:

All TP-Link devices are easy to setup. You just need to install the Kasa App in you smartphone and follow the instructions. the smart plug will connect to your home's wireless, so you'll be able to switch on />off from anywhere. It also has simple button to physically toggle on/off.

Once your device is configured, you can use your phone to switch it on/off or create schedule templates for each day on a weekly basis. It also has a random feature to simulate activity if you are not at home. Kasa app also can be used as a bridge to connect with other smart home standards as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. That's a very important aspect as sooner or later you'll consider buying more smart home gadgets and you can end up with 4-5 apps just because you decided to buy different brands each time. So at least, your next gadgets to buy should have integration with the standard home assistant you decide to use.

Now, let's talk about what I use my two smart plugs for:

Outer Christmas Lights

I have a plug at my balcony where I plug some lights during Christmas. Before I bought the smart plug, I had to go outside and plug the lights on when it gets dark. Sometimes I was lazy, sometimes it was cold and sometimes it was raining so I thought better to keep them off. I could just buy a time programmer but there are some special nights I want to keep it on for more hours or some days when it rains that I prefer to switch it off, so that actually would not solve anything. Using the smart plug was the final solution. I can time program it and manage the exceptions at my fingers. I can switch it off when it rains and switch it on for the whole Christmas night, so my kids can try to see Santa landing on the balcony from their window.

Xbox Shield

My youngest child is two years old and he likes buttons. A LOT. Xbox power button is probably his favourite button. You know... it makes light, sound, and daddy leaves whatever he is doing when he pushes. As I was afraid of the damages this can cause, I got the idea of using a smart plug for Xbox so it is on only when he's supposed to be sleeping and goes off when he wakes up. Now, the button just does nothing, so he does not find it interesting at all. If there's any special occasion when he's still awake and I want to play (mostly never) or watch a Blu-ray I can use my phone to switch it on.