GM and hi everyone! A special welcome to the 20 newest readers of the smart home newsletter! Thank you for giving me space in your inbox. And now onwards to this week’s smart home news:
Table of Contents
- 1 A New and Powerful Google Home Feature
- 2 Better Control of Your Smart Home Devices with Google Assistant
- 3 The New Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser with Homekit Is Exactly What You Need to Welcome the Holidays
- 4 Ikea’s New Dirigera Hub and Home Smart App Come Deliver Great Improvements
- 5 Smart Home AI-Generated Illustration of the Week!
A New and Powerful Google Home Feature
Last month, Google announced that Google Home is getting a makeover. The new design aims at helping users to personalize their devices, actions, and automation to allow them to control their smart homes more easily. This announcement also forced the company to accidentally spill some details regarding the upcoming Pixel Tablet in the process. Even though the Google Home redesign is still in its preview phase, the general public is already getting access to an all-new automation feature- the ability to trigger Google Assistant using a device.
There is no denying that device triggers can be helpful, especially when you tie one smart home device’s actions to another or when you want your automation routine to alert you as soon as it’s executed. For example, you can set a voice command where all the lights in your home turn off when you say, “Hello Google! Goodnight!” You can also set a routine where the smart light
outside your front door lights up when the motion sensor detects movement.
Additionally, you can set these routines based on the time of the day. For example, you can have the lights in your garage turn on at 7 am. It’s also worth noting that users can associate one trigger with multiple actions, just like any other routine on the Google Home app.
While the tech giant announced that these device triggers would accompany the Google Home redesign, the feature is already available for some users with the old Google Home design. This feature has already been spotted on iOS on the platform’s Google Home beta version. However, the availability of this new functionality is quite limited among most devices.
If you don’t have the new feature, it may interest you to know that Google Home offers a set of other triggers you can use until the new device triggers, interface and functionality arrive. You can opt to activate Google Assistant routines based on the time of the day, sunrise/sunset, or simply activate use voice commands to set routines off.
Better Control of Your Smart Home Devices with Google Assistant
If you’re a smart home enthusiast, you likely have a special relationship with Google Assistant. Nowadays, Google Assistant has become an integral part of many smart homes, and issuing voice commands is now the new norm. As a result, the experts at Google have worked hard to come with up state-of-the-art improvements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance how Google Assistant understands your voice commands to control your smart home.
In the coming days, you’ll notice greater flexibility regarding how Google Assistant controls your smart home device and provides you with your desired outcome. Some of these new improvements include:
Better device recognition by type – One of the best improvements made to Google Assistant is the fact that it now understands your smart device much better based on its type and the exact room they’re in. For instance, if you issue a voice command like “Turn the Fan Off,” Google Assistant will know the exact fan you’re talking about and do just that.
Better device recognition by name – If the voice command you’re issuing doesn’t exactly match the name of the smart device, Google Assistant will conveniently match the expected device in your home for the name that totally or partially matches your device name. For instance, the voice command “Turn the Lamp Off” will likely match the smart device in your home labeled bedroom lamp. On the other hand, ‘Turn on the Staircase Light” will likely match the lamp labeled stairs on the Google Home app.
Better targeting of actions and where they should occur – With the new improvements, Google Assistant is now better positioned to determine the exact
action to take place on your smart device and where the action should occur. For instance, when you issue the voice command “Have the vacuum clean the kitchen, bedroom, and living room,” Google Assistant understands the specific areas in your home you’re referring to.
These new improvements have been made possible by a set of large-scale neural networks capable of learning from examples in order to predict the most accurate action to take given a user’s command.
The New Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser with Homekit Is Exactly What You Need to Welcome the Holidays
Even though you can do many things with HomeKit, very few people have ever thought about automating the scent in their homes. However, this is exactly what the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser plans to achieve. Working in conjunction with HomeKit, this smart device adds fragrance and humidity to the indoor air on a schedule that suits you, and it also doubles down as mood lighting for your home.
One of the best things about the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser is that you can control it using a physical switch, Siri, the Meross app, and the Home App. This means that if you have a HomePod Mini or Apple TV, you can basically turn on the diffuser and come to a home that smells the fragrance of your choice.
This device is also small and light, meaning that it won’t take much of your nightstand or desk, and you can easily move it from one room to another whenever you please. Like most HomeKit products in the market today, you can unbox and set up the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser in under five minutes. Once you’ve set up the device, the next step is to scan the HomeKit code at the bottom, and it will be onboarded as a humidifier.
Once the device is up and running, you can easily add it to a room or group on the Home App or use it to create HomeKit scenes and automation of your choice. For instance, if you have a bedtime scene, you can add the device to run at night after the smart lights and speakers have gone off. If you don’t plan on any essential oils to the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser, you can simply use it as a humidifier.
Currently, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser retails for $60 in the country, though you can find it at a discounted price on Amazon. It’s also worth noting that Meross creates compatible versions for the UK, EU, and Australian markets with the appropriate power supply being provided. But, regardless of the region, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser is only available in the wood-effect, which may not appeal to everyone.
Using the Meross app, you can choose between light and heavy spray, a feature you won’t find on the Home App. Generally, this device is quiet when running and only makes a slight purring sound and the occasional trickling of the water. This can be such a relaxing sound to have inside your office, bedroom, or living room.
The mist that comes out of the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser is cold, and the water inside the reservoir also remains cold even after long hours of use. This is great news for users with pets or kids who may be tempted to feel inside the device.
- The following are some of the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser specs:
- The 400ml reservoir allows you to set heavy or light spray, which may last between 7 to14 hours. The device also comes with a 150ml jug for filling.
- The device is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
- The device comes with a waterless auto-function that prevents it from burnout even if the water inside the reservoir runs out.
- Customizable RGB lights are ideal for mood lighting. However, it’s worth noting that the lighting effect is subtle and will require a dimly lit room to add any noteworthy brightness or color.
If you’re looking for an affordable and functional diffuser that can be controlled using Apple HomeKit and also automate your smart home’s scent, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Essential Oil Diffuser is the ideal device for you.
Ikea’s New Dirigera Hub and Home Smart App Come Deliver Great Improvements
In the coming days, Ikea’s new Matter-compatible Dirigera smart home hub will be hitting retail stores in North America and Europe, as well as a completely redesigned Home smart app. Dirigera, the Swedish word for ‘Conducting,’ will play an integral role in Ikea’s plan to infuse the modern home with digital intelligence. The new smart hub and redesigned Home smart app are intended to show the company’s ambitions in the smart home industry.
In recent years, we have seen these ambitions grow from a simple smart lighting hobby to a strategic focus on manufacturing an extensive lineup of smart home products. The new products require hardware and software that is easy to set up, easy to use, and stable, which are qualities the company failed to deliver to its customers with the Tradfri Gateway.
Most people who used the Tradfri Gateway lamented about how difficult it was to add devices and maintain connections to them over time. The only thing missing in the new Dirigera hub is support for Matter, but that will change in the coming days. This hub will cost about $69, twice as much as the old Tradfri Gateway.
It’s worth noting that Ikea doesn’t provide a migration tool to move existing devices and scenes from their old Gateway to the new Dirigera hub, which will not sit well with some users. The good news is that you don’t need to remove your existing devices from the old Gateway before adding them to the Dirigera hub. All you need to do is follow the steps in the new Home smart app to reset each smart device, and the Dirigera hub will locate them for easy and quick inclusion into new or existing rooms and scenes.
The Home smart app is organized into rooms that map to the actual rooms in your home layout. The new app’s home screen is a simple but effective control for your Ikea smart home. Each room on the app is represented by a square and your choice of colors. In these squares, you’ll find interactive icons that allow you to control the devices in each room easily. Setting up the new Dirigera hub is simple and will only take you a few minutes. The Home smart app also
shows you the battery percentage of all the devices in your home and also warns you when the battery levels drop too low to replace.
Now that the Dirigera hub and Home smart app have started rolling out, the only things remaining are Matter support, adding the hub to your router over Wi-Fi, and allowing remote access to the Ikea devices when you’re not at home. Per the company’s announcement, these improvements are expected to arrive in the coming months. Currently, the Dirigera hub is fitted with radios for Thread, Wi-Fi, and Zigbee. The hub also supports Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
Smart Home AI-Generated Illustration of the Week!
This is it for today, See you next Sunday morning 😉. If you have colleagues, friends, or neighbors that would benefit from knowing about smart home devices, please consider sharing them.
They can sign up for the newsletter by going here.
➤ SMART HOME IN 8 WEEKS: Smart home devices have the potential to change your life for the better. Here’s everything needed to plan, create, and start living in your own smart home in just 56 days!
➤ GET CERTIFIED: My flagship course (Learn How to Make A Living As A Smart Home Installer) titled Certified Next-Generation Smart Home Installer (NGSHI) is live with the latest cohort of students. If interested in making an extra $1K per month providing smart home automation to your clients, then be sure to join the waiting list for the next cohort.