Every light's a smart light in the CNET Smart Home
For the past six months, we've been taking a step by step approach to building a connected home experience here in Louisville Kentucky.
But now, we're about to take a giant leap towards making this house into a smart house.
Alexa, turn on the living room.
Turn on the family room.
Alexis, turn on the kid's room.
Alexis, turn off the whole house.
Here's how we did it.
Now automating an entire home's worth of light isn't actually as complicated as you might think.
But you will need to make some decisions about the hardware that you're gonna use.
Smart bulbs will let you dim the lights up and down and they're also pretty easy to install.
You just swap them in for the old ones and then add them to your system.
They also don't cost that much.
These non-color changing versions of Phillips Hues lights only cost $15 each.
On the other hand, smart switches are nice because they'll still work with your automations even when things are switched off.
They do cost a little more, though.
And the installation is a little more tricky.
Once we figured out what we wanted and what we needed here in the CNET smart home, we made a shopping list and bought everything we needed and then got to work installing it.
It actually wasn't that tough.
It took us about a day to get everything hooked up and synced with our system and we had a whole house full of smart lights.
But then, the question is control, and our answer was sitting right in our kitchen, the Amazon Echo Smart Speaker.
The Echo has made a support for Phillips hue bulbs and for Belkin remote switches.
So we stuck to those and then added them all into the Alexa app.
From there, it's just a question of naming everything.
You name them in the Philips Hue and Belkin WeMo app and then you can name additional groups of lights in the Alexa app.
If you're thorough and you add A lot of different names for the same switches and the same groups of lights.
You can create a system that'll respond to you no matter what you're asking for.
Now yes, the cost of all this gear definitely adds up, but it's important to remember that you don't need to automate everything all at once.
You can start small, with the most important lights in your home, and build out from there.
And if your house is smaller than this one and it doesn't need multiple Amazon Echos to control it You can keep the cost of a whole home lighting solution well below the price of a new TV, a new laptop.
That's not bad for a whole home, smart lighting setup with voice controls at the center.
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