Here's the easy way to make your holiday lights display voice activated so you can turn it on or off with Alexa, Google or Siri!
Tis the season for a techy Christmas tree!
Sure, you could use an old-fashioned rotary timer to turn your holiday lights on and off, but if you have a Google Home or Alexa device in your home, you can use your voice to activate your display! Even Siri on your iPhone will work as well.
To start, all you need is a Smart Plug. This is a plug controlled by WiFi. Whatever you plug into it is now controllable via voice or an app.
There are lots of models to choose from, they average about $20. Amazon makes their own that works with Alexa, there are scores of others from the likes of Belkin and even Ikea. Two tips: look for a plug that does not require a "hub" and be sure that it only takes up one power outlet so you can still use the other wall socket above or below.
Whichever plug you choose, just make sure it works with your setup - whether that’s Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Apple’s Siri and Homekit. Usually, you can tell by the item description online or by the logos.
To set it up, plug in the plug, then plug your lights into it and then pair the plug with its corresponding app on your phone. The smart plug brand will usually have its own app that you must set up first. You can use the manufacturer app to set a virtual timer for your lights to go on and off at certain hours. You can stop here if that's all you want to do, but if you want to control with your voice, you must complete one more step.
Next, link the plug to Google, Alexa, or Siri. You'll do this inside the Google Home app, Alexa app or Home on iPhone. While you link the two, be sure to name your plug something that's easy to combine with a voice command like this: "Okay, Google, turn on the outside holiday lights" or "Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree."
That's about it!
Now you can use your voice to control your setup!
Keep in mind, once this is all set up, you don’t have to be physically inside your house to turn your lights on or off. You can use the Google Home app, Alexa or Siri on your phone to control them from anywhere.