Smart home on your mind? It is likely that you get all excited about smart lighting, smart gadgets and the ability to call out to Alexa to switch on or switch off appliances at home. How convenient. The only stumbling block may be the costs involved in upgrading all your lights and appliances with the ones that are smart. So, what’s the solution? The answer lies in the rather unassuming and simple Amazon Smart Plug. In one fine swoop, all your dumb appliances and lighting such as table and floor lamps, can become smart. Hey Alexa, now we are talking! As a device, a smart plug isn’t something that is exciting and cool enough to write about, but in terms of the convenience and utility that this can potentially bring to your power sockets, trying to explain the possible advantages and disadvantages is worth every word that has been written here.
The Amazon Smart Plug is priced at Rs 1,999 and the one that you buy this on Amazon.in, you get the one that is meant for wall sockets common in Indian homes. This is rated for maximum 6 ampere loads, which means all “light” appliances will work. Including electric kettles, TVs, lamps, fans, air purifiers and more. What you should not be plugging into the Amazon Smart Plug are heavier power consumption appliances such as geysers or an AC, for instance. You will appreciate the relatively compact footprint of the Amazon Smart Plug and it doesn’t get in the way of an adjacent power socket or make access difficult to the switches. There is a very tiny light on the plug, which glows blue when everything is connected and working well. It is so subtle that you will not notice it at night unless you specifically go looking for it in the dark. This also has a ting power button on one side, in case you need to power it down completely.
Just Follow The Map Or Ask For Directions
Setting this up is a breeze. Plug this into the socket and power that on. And leave that powered on, for all intents and purposes. Have your home Wi-Fi switched on and open the Alexa app (free for Android and iPhone) on your phone. Set up a new device, select a smart plug and wait for the Amazon Smart Plug to be detected, or scan the barcode that comes with the user manual inside the box. Within a couple of minutes, if you follow the on-screen guidance, you’ll have set up the smart plug. Remember, the Amazon Smart Plug will connect to your home Wi-Fi on the 2.4GHz band—do remember to leave that on, in case you have tinkered with your Wi-Fi router settings. The Amazon Smart Plug doesn’t have any built-in network connectivity of its own, which means a stable Wi-Fi will be essential for it to work well.
Your Smart Home Is Taking Shape
Now that the plug is set up, you can connect pretty much anything to it. Table lamps, floor lamps, air purifiers, electric kettle and more. This is now enabled with the “Alexa” voice controls, which means you can simply call out with demands such “Alexa, switch on the table lamp” or “Alexa, turn on the kitchen kettle”. With the winter months fast approaching, at least for the extremely cold North Indian winter, it’ll be incredibly comfortable to not have to get out of the cozy bed to switch off the bedroom light at night or switch it on in the morning, as you still find the courage to get out of bed. That is just one-use case, but the fact that having the flexibility to simply call out to appliances in general saves a lot of effort.
The Amazon Smart Plug will work seamlessly will commands with any Amazon Echo smart speaker, any Echo smart display, Amazon Fire TV devices or any Alexa integrated smart speaker made by other brands as well. This ties in seamlessly in the Alexa powered smart home ecosystem and doesn’t require any puzzles to be completed. The Alexa app on your phone will also let you manually switch on or switch off smart plugs individually.
What I really liked were the routines. It is very easy to set these up with the Alexa app on your phone. For every smart plug, you can set a daily or periodical routine for it to switch on or switch off. That’s great, for instance, if you want the lighting at home to switch on automatically late evening and maybe switch off late night. You can name these routines as how you’d want it, and a bunch of plugs can be mapped for the same routine. For instance, Alexa, Good Morning can switch on the electric kettle to warm up the water for your morning cup of tea, also switch on the kitchen light and the living room air purifier at the same time. Alexa, Goodnight can turn off all the lamps in the bedroom, for instance.
This is particularly great for our parents, who will no longer have to go through the daily struggle of switching off the lights before sleeping and then finding the way back to the bed in the darkness—not every home has the light switches next to the bed.
In the Indian homes in particular, power cuts are a common occurrence. The Amazon Smart Plug is, well, smart enough for that. In case the power goes off and returns, or the Wi-Fi cuts out and returns, the Amazon Smart Plug returns to its previous state and remembers the routines as well as last active role. If it was powered off when the lights went out, it will keep the connected lights or appliance switched off once the power cut is over. If something you had connected to this was powered on when the electricity went off, it will be switched on immediately when the power returns. The routines are also followed without any hitches.
The Last Word: Smart Homes, Simplified. Really.
It really doesn’t get any simpler than an Amazon Smart Plug to add some smart quotient to your otherwise dumb appliances, lamps, air purifiers and more. And cost effective, while at it. It isn’t expensive, at least when you weigh that against what you spend on getting completely new smart appliances and smart lamps and smart air purifiers. It’s just one app too, the Alexa app, that’ll be used to manually manage this. Next port of call—Amazon Smart Plug for ACs and water heaters. Then the home can be truly smart. Don’t run out and splurge a lot of money on a bunch of smart lights, smart lamps, smart air purifiers, smart kettles and more, just yet. Give the Amazon Smart Plug a shot, chances are, you’ll like the simplicity of it all.