There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about having a “smart home”. As a gadget man, this is something that interests me a lot. Particularly if it makes my house a “safer home”. I don’t know about you, but one thing that worries me when I go away on trips is coming back to find out that my house has been burgled. To give me piece of mind, I have a light out front and back that comes on automatically when it gets dark. You don’t need to buy a special lamp for this. These days you can buy bulbs with sensors built in. So, you could have one in a lamp in your front living which will automatically come on when it gets dark. This will give the impression someone is at home. Albeit, that person is up all night!
It is possible to buy plug adapters that will turn appliances on and off at random or set times. They are not too difficult to set up and cost around 500-700 Baht. All you have to do is plug a lamp into one of these and set it up by the window to give the impression that someone is at home. But, there are downsides to this. How can you know for sure it is turning itself on and off and what do you do if you forgot to set it up before you left home? That is where the new WiFi Smart Plug by TP-Link comes in handy. Yes, it is more expensive at 990 Baht, but it has a lot of advantages. It can also double as a remote control to turn things on and off like lights and fans if you are too lazy to get up! Remote controls for plugs normally cost about 400 Baht.
To use the smart plug, you just need to download an app for your smartphone. The set-up process is very simple and only took a few minutes to have it up and running and connected to my local WiFi hotspot. During the set-up, you give the plug a name, I chose “1st Floor”, and also an icon, I chose a lamp. I also have a second plug in my office on the second floor. Alongside each name there is a power button. Press it and your device comes on. Press again and it goes off. It’s that simple. There’s a green light for on, so you know the status. That’s the remote control part of the smart plug which allows you to control devices from your chair. In theory, you could set one up so that you can turn on the coffee maker from your bedroom as soon as you wake up.
The second part is more useful if you want to deter burglars. I have a lamp on the second floor set up near the window. The smart plug has a switch and so other people can still manually turn it on and off. If If I am not in the room, I can check my smartphone to see if it is turned off. But, the best thing is, it doesn’t matter if you are at home or not. You can use 4G to connect to your smart plugs. You went out without leaving a light on? No problem, you can turn the lights on from wherever you are in the world. Literally. In addition, you can also set up times on your smartphone app for the plug to come on and off. Or, just set it so that it will go on and off at random times during a set period of time and then repeated on days that you set. A final setting allows you to turn the plug on or off after the expiration of a countdown set by you.
If that is not enough, you also get a summary of how long it has been turned on. You can see statistics for the current runtime, total runtime, daily average for the past 7 and 30 days, and total runtime for the past 7 and 30 days. If you want to spend a bit more money, you can get a smart plug with energy monitoring for 1,290 Baht. This will tell you your current power and total consumption for today. As well as daily averages for past 7 and 30 days. Pretty neat I think. I have been using these plugs for a couple of weeks now with no problems. TP-Link also has WiFi cameras to monitor your home while you are away. I haven’t tried one of those yet. Maybe that will be next.
I bought my smart plug at the recent Mobile Expo. I am told that you can also buy them at shops in Pantip Plaza and Fortune Town.