When someone starts to convert their house into a smart home, it is common for connected light bulbs and plugs to be among the first purchases. However, there are other smart devices that are not so popular and less intuitive to understand, but we already told you that they are capable of taking home automation to another level: we are talking about smart buttons. If you are not very clear about how they work and the most interesting uses of smart buttonswe recommend that you continue reading.
What is a smart button
Robot vacuum cleaners, smart TVs, motorized stores, speakers like Nest or Echo, washing machines with Wi-Fi, connected lamps, smart thermostats, sensors of all kinds… and yes, also smart buttons. As the name suggests, smart buttons are a button with connectivity, i.e. a switch connected to the home ecosystem. And as such, it is what allows you to activate a certain action in the simplest way: physically.
Clearly simplicity is a virtue, but it has certain advantages beyond the intuitive nature of pressing a button, such as not needing cables or cameras or requiring having a microphone always listening for possible voice commands. Thus, a smart button is a device to manually and remotely activate certain routines, thus going from on to off and vice versa (although there are more functions linked to double tap, long press, turns).
At the design level, they are essentially a small plastic gadget with a push button and connectivity, although there are other more advanced ones with several buttons, informative LEDs, and silk-screened icons. A good way to understand a smart button is to compare it to a light switch, but without the need for it to be fixed to a wall. There are some with a support to fix them to the wall, although you can have them on hand as if they were a miniature and simplified remote control.
Although we can find models only with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, it is common for them to be linked through a hub or bridge that unifies devices and connections. As for power, the standard is that they have a compartment where they house a battery (generally a button), so you can forget about charging them frequently since their autonomy can be around a year of use.
How do I use a smart button?
Yeah raisins Before taking out your cell phone or asking your speaker out loud to do something, for example turning on the light in the living room lamp, you might be interested in making the jump to a smart button. Before embarking on the adventure of buying a smart button, the million dollar question is: Is it compatible with my devices?
The first thing is to pay attention to the product specifications to check if supports some major platforms, for example Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home or Samsung SmartThings. We will also have to look at connectivity, since some require an intermediate bridge. Others offer a closed experience restricted to their brand.
Some examples: IKEA buttons like the TRÅDFRI only work with IKEA Home smart devices and require a hub to work, the Xiaomi button connects via Zigbee to the Mi Home application for home devices, the Tapo smart button It uses a hub to connect to your app and devices, the same thing the Hue Smart Button does.
So it is essential that you choose a smart button compatible with the connectivity and products you want to control. One way to make sure is to opt for those from the same brand.
The best thing you can do with a smart button
If we do not have a smart button, the usual thing in home automation is that we execute actions using voice commands to our smart speaker, from the mobile application or with sensors that detect that a parameter is within a stipulated range. With a smart button you will be the one who decides when to carry out an action manually, so you will not need to talk or access your phone.
Therefore, its mission is to reproduce a command that you can execute from the application or with a speaker, with the advantage that we do not need to have the mobile phone or the speaker nearby nor the effort of opening the app and searching for the specific action or making an effort to speak and that they understand us (I wish talking to a speaker was as grateful and intuitive as talking to a person, but today that is not the case). Likewise, it can be useful for home automation where we are not interested in whoever is at home having full access or we want to simplify the experience to the minimum essential, for example for the elderly or a vacation rental apartment.
- To turn off, turn on or change the intensity/brightness of the lighting of a bulb, lamp or the lights of an entire room.
- To turn on or off some devices, for example for a fan, stove or robot vacuum cleaner.
- To control a smart plug as a remote control.
- To raise or lower blinds.
- To start the coffee maker when we wake up without leaving the bed, so that when we get to the kitchen we have the coffee ready.
- To start or stop the music.
- Suddenly activate a routine: change the dining room to a romantic atmosphere, create the ideal setting for studying in your office, prepare the bedroom for sleeping.
Cover | Xiaomi
In Xataka Home | How to start with home automation step by step from scratch