How the Conscious Home Can Make You a Better Parent

One of the inevitable side-effects of Google’s recent $3.2 billion cash acquisition of Nest is that people who had never before heard about the Internet of Things are starting to pay attention.

The news of Nest being bought by Google makes me very excited about the future.” –

I recently came across a thought-provoking post by Jared Banks who runs a great architecture blog called In it, he daydreams about a futuristic utopia in which a fully conscious home could somehow feed him information about his kids and their patterns to make him a better parent. He poses a hypothetical “wouldn’t it be cool if”-type question to other architects about what it would be like to not just design a space for families to physically exist in, but a multi-dimensional experience for families to live in.

It’s a blueprint. An outline of things to come. And it suggests that “this imagined future is still a few years away“–which might be true, if you’re Google.

What’s interesting about much of the mainstream media’s analysis of Google’s acquisition of Nest is that it tends to focus on what might be possible in a Google-powered smart home of the future, while rarely focusing on what is possible in a smart home today. Charting a roadmap without first understanding your coordinates is a curious practice, so we felt we owed it to people like Jared to describe how the conscious home of today can make you a better parent.

Here are a few easy ways that SmartThings can help parents gain peace of mind, teach good habits, and even sleep more. To get started, all you need is a $99 Hub and about 15 minutes to customize your conscious home.

• Know when your kids come and go from home
By placing a SmartSense Presence sensor in your child’s backpack, you can get a push or text message each time he or she comes home. You can also choose to only receive messages when your son or daughter doesn’t come home when they’re supposed to. (Check out one of our great user stories about this here.)

• Prevent kids from accessing liquor cabinets, gun cases, cleaning supply cabinets, and other dangerous or off-limits areas of your home
Simply place a SmartSense Multi sensor or compatible open/close sensor on a cabinet, drawer, or case and get an immediate alert on your phone if your child is accessing off-limit areas. To deter your child or daughter from tampering further with these dangerous or off-limit areas, you can also install a flashing strobe alarm to drive home the message.

• Teach your children good habits… and ensure that their bad habits don’t cause higher electrical bills–or worse
There are lots of ways to use SmartThings to teach your children good habits, but our favorite is by using the “Once a Day” feature of our iOS and Android apps. This can turn on a light or flash a Philips hue bulb to remind your kids to do important things each day if they haven’t done them–ie: walk the dog, take their vitamins, start their schoolwork, etc.

By monitoring and controlling any pluggable or hard-wired light or electronic through the “Power Allowance” feature of our iOS and Android apps, parents will no longer need to worry about whether kids have shut off different lights or small electronics that kids regularly use. Simply set a minute limit in our app and the lamp, light, or electronic that your kid uses will automatically shut off at that time.

And if your child tends to leave the faucet or bathtub dripping, place a SmartSense Moisture sensor in areas prone to water to prevent a small leak from causing a costly flood.

• Allow parents to sleep more
You no longer need to wake up to turn on lights and walk your son or daughter to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Easily trigger any nightlight, hall light, or bathroom light to automatically turn on when there’s motion detected. And once motion has stopped being detected for a few minutes, the lights will automatically turn off.

And for those with babies or toddlers, you can even plug in a musical mobile and set it to start playing for a set amount of time to soothe your tyke back to sleep if he or she wakes up and starts jostling around in the middle of the night.

How To
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