How to stunt out your house with tech for the holidays

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Source:   —  December 07, 2016, at 6:58 PM

Stringing lights on Christmas trees is a standard practice for the holidays, but there'south a lot you can do to decorate beyond plugging something into an extension cord.

How to stunt out your house with tech for the holidays

Stringing lights on Christmas trees is a standard practice for the holidays, but there'south a lot you can do to decorate beyond plugging something into an extension cord.

Presently that bright residence products are more affordable and ubiquitous, two thousand sixteen is prepared to deliver a next-level celebration.

Whether you map on impressing guests at a party or just wish to create sure your house is warm before you obtain residence after vacation, let'south get a see at how bright residence devices can automatize the season.

Getting started

First, you'll necessity to determine which ecosystem you wish to be a portion of, such as the Samsung (SSNLF) SmartThings or Apple (AAPL, Tech30) HomeKit platform. Not all devices work within the same ecosystems, so you'll wish to purchase bright residence products that running on the platform you select or you'll have to switch between apps.

Next, ensure the products you purchase are secure. Modify the default log-in title and password on all new devices before installing them. In October, the cyberattack that took parts of the internet offline, including sites such as Twitter, Netflix and Spotify, were carried out by products connected to the residence that were infected with malware.

Related: Your Hackable House

The excellent news is more companies are building security directly into products. For instance, Apple requires HomeKit-capable bright products to meet security and technical specifications. Set up is typically easy, too -- you add the gadget to the system by plugging in the device and entering a special code within the HomeKit app.

And if you're using HomeKit, Siri can handle your requests. You can ask the voice helper to lock the doors doors, turn the lights on or off or set the mood for a film night.

Connected lights

Lights are a grand entry-point into the bright residence space. Automatize your home'south ambiance with Philips Color light bulbs, with kits that start at $130, and create a different environment in each room. If you're having a film night, you can dim the bulbs from the sofa via the smartphone app, or turn the room a festive green when unwrapping gifts. You can also sync Color lights with the Amazon Echo and Siri, as well as platforms love Google Home, SmartThings and Nest.

These lights also work with third-party apps such as the Color Disco to create fun light shows for a holiday party. While there shouldn't be any security issues, researchers found a flaw in the Color system earlier this year that could've allowed attackers to remotely get control of the lights from afar. Philips has since patched the flaw.

Outlets

App-connected outlets, such as those from Incipio and ConnectSense (at $40 and $60, respectively), plug into your home'south regular outlets to control tiny appliances and lights. Add one behind the Christmas to avert climbing below the branches; you can control it via your phone instead. It also works for outdoor lights, so you don't necessity to freeze when you turn them off late at night.

Web cams

To capture Santa delivering gifts, cameras love Nest Cam ($200) or Blink ($100) can be placed throughout the home. It'south simple to check in while you're far to look if pets or kids are peeking into presents before Christmas morning.

Related: These Christmas lights don't necessity to be wrapped around the tree

Bright thermostats

Bright thermostats love Nest or Ecobee, both cost $250, let you set and modify temperatures from afar. This means you can return from a holiday ride to a toasty home.

Bright speakers

The Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) Echo bright speaker, at $180, works with hundreds of bright residence gadgets -- many of which are highlighted above. You can also ask Alexa, its built-in voice assistant, to play music, tell you the weather and ask for Santa'south location. It'll also add and purchase presents directly via the Echo, or set timers when baking holiday cookies.

Exterior of the box

If you'd rather hold your residence offline but still have decorations with a tech flare, consider the Tree Dazzler, a quirky curtain of lights that hang over your tree. There'south also the Star Shower, an As Seen on TV laser device that projects thousands of tiny stars onto the front of your house. Both cost about $40.

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