When Technology & Design Marry

If you could travel in time, where would you go? In all honesty, I think that we currently live in an incredible space in time, and feel pretty lucky to be a part of it. Technological advances now offer themselves in amazing ways.  From organizing, to research and exploration, it amazes me the opportunity before us.  What's more, as a designer, I'm finding myself enamored with the ways technology is becoming more accessible to the general public for home design elements. At last, the two are becoming one in certain facets of live, and it is amazing to watch the unfolding of it all.

No, i haven't found a paint that makes your house clean itself....yet. Today, I'm going to share with you the latest lighting upgrade we've begun in my household.  It is our latest show and tell item when guests come over, and we are big fans so far. Seriously, I'm sorry, but if you've been to our house recently, we've no doubt shown you.

*Just a heads up, while this is a product I genuinely am a big fan of, in full disclosure, Amazon will pay out a small commission if my gushing over their products convinces you to click the links and purchase these items!

So here it goes.

A revolutionary lighting system where tech meets design

One of the biggest family argument-causers known to man is the issue of leaving on lights and finding the culprit of the crime. But do you know what technology has done for us? Technology, my friends, has made turning off lights FUN, and believe it or not easier. Wait, WHAT? You may be asking, how does flipping a switch get any easier. Well, what if I told you that Amazon has a product that allows us to turn off ALL of the lights in our house with a single voice command? Oh, and say you've left your house an realized you forgot! Oh yes, even then, you can remotely turn the lights out using your phone. MIND BLOWN. I know. Not only that, but depending on the bulbs you use, you can also alter and adjust the color of the light emitted. Additionally, the device allows for dimming, timers, flashing light alarms, and many other variations of settings.

So now you ask, "How can I make this happen?" And now, I tell you.  AMAZON has a product called the Amazon Echo. And if you think lighting is the only technological opportunity this device allows for, you are incredibly mistaken. In addition to our light manager, our Amazon Echo has now become our primary music player, our grocery list maker, our meteorologist, our internet search provider, our therapist, and aids in easing a wide array of household tasks.  There are so many apps available for the device, and I am only touching on the tip of the iceberg. The easiest way to quickly explain the Echo in a nutshell is that it is like a home-docked Siri on steroids. 

Here is what it looks like:

 

The product is advertised as follows:

  • Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
  • Controls lights, switches, and thermostats with compatible WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Nest, and ecobee smart home devices
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, and more

 

To set up your home on the Echo lighting system, I've listed the basics of what you need to get started.

1. Amazon Echo

It all starts with this device, and the possibilities only grow from here. Also, while one centrally stationed dock works for us right now, Amazon Dot is now available if you want devices in more than one room (which we are now considering)

 

2. Philips Hue LED Starter Kit (2 bulbs + Hue Bridge hub)

This starter kit will work in a standard bulb context to give you a feel for how the product works. The technology is advancing at a rapid pace, so keep an eye out for a wider range of bulb availability for a more diverse range of lighting contexts i.e. candelabra bulbs, etc.

3. Additional bulbs

The starter kit comes with two bulbs, but you can order additional bulbs. We started with just a room or two, and as we can, we purchase more smart bulbs to expand which lights we can control using our Echo.

 

4. Another (optional) item to consider
Remote

This voice remote allows you to communicate with the device from other parts of your home. This is a nice option if you aren't ready for additional dot devices yet.

 

It has also been very helpful for us to have Amazon Prime since so much of what we do can link to our account. This may be something you want to consider as well. If you use Amazon often, Prime membership comes with some great perks. If you'd like to give prime membership a test run first, you can click this link to sign up for a free 30 day trial!

 

You will also want to download the FREE Amazon Alexa App which will be full of great ways to maximize what you can do with this incredible device. 

Questions? Let me know, I'd be happy guide you in your journey of merging technology and home design! If you have a tech-loving friend or family member, these items make very exciting gifts. Who knows what the next 10 years will bring. Exciting times no doubt.