Have you ever thought, “gee whiz, I really wish I could talk to my light switch…”? Well, you’re in luck, smart thermostat maker ecobee just released a Wi-Fi smart switch with Amazon’s Alexa onboard called the Switch Plus!
Now, ecobee isn’t completely new to this “add Alexa to a wall-mounted smart home device” game. In 2017, they introduced their latest generation thermostat, the ecobee4, also with Alexa integrated right on the device with far-field listening microphones and a speaker. A talking thermostat? Yup.
Joe Dugandzic of smarterhomelife.com joins us again, this time in a crossover episode. We start by him asking me to describe my progression in Home Automation from my first smart lightbulb to the more advanced capabilities Steve and I enjoy today. But then we turn the table around and I ask Joe a series of questions submitted by NosillaCastaways.
As many times as I’ve talked to Joe about Home Automation, I continue to learn from him. There are at least two moments in this episode where I had an “aha” moment of learning.
Joe Dugandzic of Smarter Home Life has been on the show several times in the past year talking about Home Automation. This time he’s on to talk about how being a Youtuber working on Home Automation landed him a full-time job at a home automation startup company called Lynky. It’s a story of his technical chops, grammar skills, his good sense about marketing, and his deep knowledge of Home Automation that helped him become the marketing and project manager for the Lynky Home Intelligence Hub.
You can find Lynky at lynky.com. Joe also talks about how he found a woman named Heather Mingo, the perfect voiceover artist to redo the Lynky marketing video through upwork.com, . The video for Lynky can be found on YouTube of course!
This is Denise Crown, and I have a confession. I’m obsessed with Hue Lights. I started with the Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit and quickly fell in love. Before I knew what I was even doing, I had purchased flood lights for the kitchen, added bulbs to the bedroom, and purchased a Bloom and a Go Portable. I normally control them with either the Hue app on my iphone, or Amazon’s Echo Dot. The Echo Dot works well to control them, and has become my home automation integration tool of choice. It just works, and it works with everything I have.
What problems do the Hue Lights solve? Well, they are fun and a lack of fun is a big problem.
I asked the fabulous Joe Dugandzic to come back on the show to talk us through the comprehensive HomeKit compatible product guide he created. For a long time there weren’t a lot of HomeKit devices to enjoy but now that the market is filling up, having a really well organized page with all of the options is very valuable.
Joe has organized the page into categories rather than by vendor. He’s got lighting, outlets and sockets, wall dimmers & switches, security devices like locks and cameras, thermostats, ceiling fans and shades, fire and smoke detectors, specialized sensors like for air quality and water leaks, sand even smart buttons (which I think are dumb actually).
If you’re not of the HomeKit persuasion, every device on his site has a code for whether it’s also compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and he designates if it works in countries with 240 volt power or just 120. He also links to any video reviews he’s done on his YouTube channel at YouTube.com/smarterhomelife. With all this to go through, it’s a long show because I asked so many questions of Joe!
I was on the inaugural episode of the Conversations of Things podcast with Joe Dugandzic. I’ll explain how to make photo albums with Apple Photos that people actually want to see (spoiler, it’s about keywords). I’ll challenge some assumptions Bart Busschots made in his Let’s Talk Photography podcast about subscription models for software. And Bart is back with another fine edition of Security Bits.
This week I’m joined by the awesome Joe Dugandzic from Smarter Home Life (smarterhomelife.com) to talk about the huge set of product and capability announcements from Amazon about their Echo line of devices. We talk Echo Show, Echo Look, ecobee4, and the new voice calling in the Alexa app for your existing Echo devices. Joe is really into home automation with a fabulous YouTube channel so he really knows his stuff. Plus he’s fun and entertaining. Links to everything we talked about after the “continue reading” button!
This weeks’ show features interviews from CES with Oticon about their connected hearing aid, ShadeCraft and their Sunflower autonomous robotic shade, Ring (the makers of the video doorbell) about their Floodlight Cam and their Stickup Cam, and Whoosh!, an anti-microbial screen treatment system. I’ll also tell you the tale of how Steve and I didn’t believe Chris Ashley and Dave Hamilton when they said buying all new TiVos would actually save us money.
Steve and I had the great pleasure of meeting Joe Dugandzic in the Home Automation pavilion at CES and I was lucky enough to get him on as a guest for Chit Chat Across the Pond. Joe runs the website and YouTube channel Smarter Home Life at smarterhomelife.com and youtube.com/smarterhomelife, We talked about the complexities of Home Automation today, predictions about who the winners might be as the industry consolidates, and some of the coolest Home Automation ideas he saw at CES. Joe is definitely our people – he’s enthusiastic, loves tech, and has a gift for simplifying tech for average consumers. His videos are amazing so go check them out (when you’re done listening to Chit Chat Across the Pond of course!)
It’s a fun-filled episode this week with interviews from CES with Synology, Satechi, Elgato and iDevices. Sprinkled in between I’ve got a review of an app for Apple Watch called Workouts++, and an app called Cascable that will let you do more to control your WiFi-enabled camera.