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Do you remember the Clapper? It's the sound-activated light switch with the catchy jingle:
clap clap "
Even in the 80s we knew we wanted smart lights. Now, instead of awkwardly clapping when you're ready for sleep, programmable switches can do almost anything.
Using If-This-Then-That commands (IFTTT), you can have your lights turn blue when it's raining and even flash the lights to notify you of updates from your favorite sports team.
But what about the good old Clapper? They had a point – it's certainly nice to turn off the lights on command from your couch. Smart phone apps let you control your light from your phone, but new technology has taken it a step further with voice controlled home automation.
Amazon Echo makes voice controlled lights easy
Get ready to spend a lot of time talking to Alexa.
It's the name of Amazon's new smart Bluetooth speaker and personal assistant, Amazon Echo. If you already own WeMo or Hue WiFi lights and are looking for a compatible voice activated system, Amazon Echo is definitely a good place to start. That's because it works with so many smart light bulbs and switches, including the following smart lights:
- Philips Hue A19
- WeMo Insight Switch
- Hue BR30
- Hue Bloom
- Hue LightStrip
Once your WiFi light bulbs are connected to Amazon Echo, you can simply say, "Alexa, turn off the hallway light." Congratulations, couch potatoes. The days of standing up are officially behind you.
Apple HomeKit and Siri for iOS home automation
Philips Hue and Apple HomeKit are making your smart lights even smarter with voice controlled lights. The updated Hue hub can connect with your HomeKit, which means you can easily use your phone or Siri to control the WiFi lights.
After jumping through a few potential hurdles like iCloud error messages (as solved in this article by Cult of Mac), you can create "scenes" in the Philips Hue App. Avid movie watcher? Create a theater-like scene for movies. Whether it's bright lights in the morning to wake you up, or dim lights at night to ease you to sleep, the possibilities for scenes with Hue are endless.
Here's where it gets even more awesome. Instead of opening the Hue app to control the voice activated light, you can simply tell Siri to dim your lights to 21%, or turn on your movie scene, or turn your down lights, or make your lamp blue.
HomeKit and Hue are a match made in smart home heaven.
As you can see, setting up voice activated lights is much easier than it sounds, and definitely too cool to not try.
And while your days of sporadic clapping may be done, you can still enjoy the catchy theme song.