Best Automations for your Dorm Room; With the days of summer numbered, there are plenty of reminders in our must-see malls that the school year is upon us. For students, a new semester brings new goals, challenges, and various other enrollment responsibilities. Whether you're a first-time student or returning to school for a second, third, or fourth year, we bet there's a lot on your plate to weigh and consider.
Dorm life is not glamorous. Rooms with concrete walls, twin beds, and bland furnishings leave a lot to be desired, especially if your school's housing office has strict rules about painting, hanging pictures, and building temporary lofts in your space. The same goes for your college apartment – if you're only here for a few semesters, you probably don't have much room to improve.
You can, of course, customize your bedding and personalize your office, but there are also a number of low-impact, high-tech gadgets to make dorm or apartment living easier and more fun. And the best part? They're all portable, so you can take them with you year after year! Here are six to get you started.
Smart security for when you’re away or asleep
Whether you lock your bedroom for a few days or want to lock your laptop when you go to sleep every night, smart security automations make all the difference when it comes to your peace of mind. For starters, you'll want to make sure you have some kind of voice assistant, whether it's a smart speaker or a smart display. Then you'll want to get your hands on some smart security products. We understand that you may not want to splurge on expensive equipment, but you can build a decent security system on a budget. Lifx smart light bulbs and Wyze security cameras are a great place to start, giving you a lot of on-the-fly control and customization for one low price.
Once everything is connected to Wi-Fi, you can start building your true security automation. A “Hey Google, good night” voice command, when issued, can be programmed to trigger your cameras and motion sensors when you check in for the night or plan to be out of the bedroom most of the day. If you're going home for a while, adding smart light bulbs to the equation can help deter potential intruders by making it look like someone is actually in the bedroom. Want even more protection? Consider adding a smart lock to this automation for added peace of mind. You'll be instantly notified if someone messes up your door, and you can use the lock's companion app to remotely lock/unlock your bedroom door when you come in and out.
Throw a smart party
While we won't argue for the quirky hangouts many colleges throw, we also won't argue that college parties don't exist and you just might find yourself at one. If so, do your mother a favor and be responsible. But what if you and your roommates host your own get together? In addition to keeping mom quiet, there are a host of guests you'll need to entertain as well. Fortunately, your smart hardware can help you throw an amazing party.
For starters, you can create amazing lighting and music automations with just a few smart bulbs and your handy smart assistant. Using Routines, as well as various If This Then That (IFTTT) plugins if you're feeling more adventurous, you can make your smart lights change color to the beat and vibrate according to the playlist you're streaming. Let's say you're hosting a game party.
Using IFTTT, you can create custom automations that send out your smart lights in a burst of fireworks every time someone scores a goal, kills, or completes a mission. The experience of a PS5 between brothers has never been so much fun.
Automate your moment of zen
After his grueling school week, long hours at work, and last night's "smart" party, we bet he's beyond exhausted. But what about next week, the essays you haven't written and the homework you haven't done? Be still, grasshopper. We do not run until we have taken a few small and relaxing steps.
For those with access to some kind of smart restoration light, your path to peace is just automation. Using any routine-building app at your disposal, you can pre-program your smart lights to dim, your restore light to brighten, and your meditation music to start with a simple command like "Alexa, time to get to stay". Along with luminance and melodies, you can also add smart tones to the mix. With the aforementioned command, your blinds will lower, keeping your surroundings calm and free from stimuli from the outside world. Even better, you can also integrate smart lighting into your wake-up automations for a Monday morning welcome from Mr. Sun.
Yes, it's back to school again. Whether you're moving into student accommodation for the first time or your last, you're probably overwhelmed with all the things you need to make your space feel like home. You have your towels and your bedding, your books and your laptop, your clothes and your photographs. But what about other technologies that can help your bedroom go from basic to spectacular? Once again, we bring you some of the most popular smart devices for your home away from home. This year's list includes products to make your year more enjoyable and safer, including voice-activated and Bluetooth speakers, smart lighting and security cameras. You'll also find some fun products along the way, because what's the point of having smart devices if you can't show them off for a while?
Remember to Have Fun
At the heart of Google Home is a built-in "high-excursion" speaker that delivers "crisp highs and rich bass. You can use it to listen to your favorite music or podcasts from various providers, including Google or YouTube Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Pandora, etc.
The main feature of Google Home is the Google Assistant. Like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant uses a cloud to answer your questions. As a bonus, the device can also access your Google account to get information about your daily schedule, whenever you use Google Calendar. As you'll see below, Google Home also integrates with other smart home products like lighting, security cameras, switches, and more. While Google Home's understated look won't win any design awards, it will easily blend in with your bedroom decor.
Smart lighting for less
Not too long ago, adding smart lighting products to your bedroom could cost the same as another college tuition payment. These types of devices are getting cheaper and, yes, even smarter.
Stack Lighting [No Longer Available]
Stack Lighting includes many unique features, including the ability to adjust the color temperature to the time of day. Called circadian lighting, this feature allows you to sleep more soundly. It also provides wake up alert. They also contain light sensors so your lights automatically dim and brighten based on the natural light in your room.
IntelliBulb Simply Smart
Feit Electric's IntelliBulb Simply Smart series of bulbs are renowned for being incredibly affordable and require no additional hardware or special applications. Instead, they are controlled by motion or your bedroom's existing light switch.
With the Switch to Dim light model, you can choose between three adjustable light dimming levels, 100%, 60% or 10%. Simply twist the bulb to make an adjustment. If you like a little light in your bedroom at night, consider the Dusk to Dawn light bulb. With a built-in light sensor, the bulb automatically turns on and off based on darkness.
Other Lighting Solutions
The 2A USB charger works in conjunction with your existing bulb. Use it to power and charge smartphones, tablets, and more. You might also consider TP-Link, which offers a full range of affordable smart lights that are ideal for your bedroom. These include color changing, white and dimmable lights. Each one is easy to control using the free Kasa app for iOS and Android
For Added Peace of Mind
These cameras not only protect your space when you are away from home, but can also be used to record special moments like parties and other events.
Logitech's Circle 2 is a 1080p HD home security camera that you can use indoors or outdoors. With a 180-degree field of view, the Circle 2 is available corded or cordless. You can monitor and record videos through the free Circle app. These cameras not only protect your space when you are away from home, but can also be used to record special moments like parties and other events.
Another great solution is the cheaper $99 SimpliCam from SimpliSafe. Offering a 120 degree field of view, SimpliSafe enables audio and video recording, live streaming, night vision and motion detection. For the price of SimpliCam, you can store up to 30 days of free video and download or share clips to watch later.
Automate everything with smart plugs
Smart plugs are often the first type of smart home products that people experience. These products allow you to control your non-smart devices from anywhere in the world through your smartphone by turning them on and off remotely or by scheduling their activation times.
The $50 iDevices Switch remains a popular choice for homeowners and renters. The product works with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit for voice commands. Other features include the ability to create unlimited schedules to turn your devices on/off based on your daily routine, remote access (allowing you to control and monitor your electronics from anywhere), and easy setup.
Smart Plug Mini
TP-Link's Smart Plug Mini offers similar functionality. Instead of working with Apple HomeKit, though, it's one of the few smart plugs to support Google Assistant. If you bought a Google Home (or have the Google Assistant on your smartphone), you can easily control your devices using your voice!
There are two final smart products to consider if you're headed to college: Tile Pro-Series trackers and Eclipse solar backpacks.
Released in 2017 and priced at $35, the Tile Style and Tile Sport are next-generation versions of the popular Tile trackers first released in 2013. These Tiles are sleek, rugged, waterproof, and offer twice the range and volume of their predecessors.
Eclipse Solar Backpacks
Eclipse's range of solar backpacks come in different styles including black, blue/grey, black/orange, camo and more. These backpacks come with a thin-film solar charging module that provides up to 4 watts of power to charge your mobile devices on the go. For daily walks around campus or long hikes, these backpacks cost around $170 and can be ordered on the Eclipse website.
It's time to start
From voice-activated speakers to security cameras, there are plenty of smart home solutions available for a dorm room or college apartment. Each one is relatively inexpensive and easy to set up, and will all help you have your best school year yet!
3 Tech Gadgets You Need to Create a Smart Dorm Room
1. Sonos One Smart Speaker
Get the best sound for your studio music (wink) with a Sonos One speaker. Sonos always gets high marks for its high-quality sound and seamless integration with almost every music streaming service, making it a great place to host your friends. Plus, the Sonos One comes with built-in Alexa functionality, meaning you can add skills, control other smart devices, and change your music with voice commands. The speaker doesn't come cheap, so if you're on a budget, try the Amazon Echo Dot instead.
2. Philips Hue Lightbulbs
Smart light bulbs are a simple upgrade that bring comfort and convenience to an otherwise barren space. The Philips Hue starter kit comes with two bulbs that are a perfect fit for your bedroom lights and can shine in 16 million colours, seriously. Set up routines that come on to wake you up and fade out to remind you to stop studying and go to bed. Philips integrates with Alexa and other smart assistants, so you never have to flip a switch again.
3. Eufy BoostIQ Robovac
No one likes vacuuming, but specks of dust collecting under the bed aren't much fun either. Set the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S to run while you're away and come home to a clean room. This robot can slide under furniture and navigate a room no matter how many obstacles you put in its way. While it's not the smartest vacuum on the market, the RoboVac is relatively quiet and will get the job done at a reasonable price.
Read more: The Best Automations for Smart Lights