New Video – Had A Baby? How Smart Home Tech Can Help! (My Top 8 Features)

When you find out that you’re going to be a parent, thinking about smart technology around you home probably isn’t top of your priority list. However smart devices can be really helpful, so I wanted to cover my favorite 8 features that I’ve found useful since becoming a dad.

Feel free to jump to specific features/points of the video:

  • Ask what the weather is – 0:29
  • Easily play songs – 1:36
  • White noise as a sleep aid – 2:34
  • Smart lighting – 3:31
  • Pausing and resuming fire TV without a remote – 4:05
  • Smart cameras and doorbells for security – 5:14
  • Setting a timer – 5:41
  • Set a reminder – 6:24

If you prefer text, feel free to checkout my guide on this topic here.

Video Transcript

Hey YouTube, it’s Tristan from Smart Home Point. Around 15 months ago I became a dad which has been really rewarding, although a bit tiring at times! Uhm, one of the things I didn’t think about at first is how I was using my smart home technology in a slightly different way because I was a dad, and you know sometimes I have a baby in my hand and that made me change the way I was using smart technology. So I wanted to film this video and cover the top eight features of smart home technology that I have found useful since becoming a dad.

The first thing I found useful is getting simple weather forecasts from my Google Home or my Echo devices. You can simply say “what’s the weather like today?” or “will it rain later?” and you’ll get an answer really quickly, and this is really useful for a number of reasons. For example, first thing in the morning, if you’re changing your child and getting them ready for the day you want to know what the weather is. How warm it will be, whether it’ll rain, and that’ll determine what clothes you put them in. “What’s the temperature today at the moment?” “It’s 11 degrees Celsius. Today, you can expect a high of 18 degrees”. If you want a more specific bit of information: “ask big sky if it’ll rain this afternoon”. “Likely not. There’s a two percent chance of rain at around 1600 hours. If it does rain, you can expect around 0.01 millimeters.” In other words, I don’t need to worry about rain so I can dress my child accordingly.

The next feature I found useful is being able to play songs really easily. Uhm instead of in the old days having to – sort of – go up to an MP3 player, make sure it’s hooked up to a speaker and actually playing a song, you can literally ask your Google Home or your Echo device to play a song such as ‘baby shark’ or ‘gummy bear’. You’ll hear a range of different new songs when you become a parent! But it’s really easy to play songs with your smart speaker which is really positive. “Play baby shark”. “Here’s baby shark by Pink Fong, on Amazon Music”. “Stop”. “Alexa, play I am a gummy bear”. “I’m a gummy bear, by Kids Now, on Amazon Music”. See, nice and easy!

The next feature I find useful is playing white noise through my smart speaker at night as a sleep aid. I’ve spoken about it before on this channel but it’s been proven the white noise does actually increase sleep quality. So last thing at night I ask to play white noise or sleep noise or a similar song. “Play wait and bleed by Slipknot…” .. sorry not that one, no, definitely not that one! No, for example in Google Home there’s actually loads of different relaxation sounds built in – I’ve done a video on it previously if you want to take a look. Uhm you can ask Google Home to play loads of sleep noises. If you’ve got an Echo device, you can also ask it to play spa noise, white noise, rain music.. loads of different ones. I’ll put details in the description. “Play spa music”, “playing spa music”.

The next feature I found really useful is smart lighting. Whilst previously I’ve been a bit of a skeptic of smart lighting, as per another video that I’ve done recently, since having a child I found it… a lot… really useful, and that’s because if you’ve got a child or baby in your arms, you don’t want to have to actually always go over to light switch and turn it on. Sometimes it’s nice to rely on automatic timers or voice control to actually control that light. It’s nice you can also dim it right down, so at night that light can act as a nightlight as well, instead of having to go out and buy loads of separate nightlights

The next feature I find really useful – it sounds quite trivial – but on my Fire TV, if I’m playing something on YouTube for my children – or for myself for that matter – it’s really useful to be able to start and stop it with my voice. So for example you can hook your Echo device up to a single Fire TV or Fire TV Stick and then you can say something like “pause my Fire TV”, and then “resume my Fire TV” and your Echo device will do this. Sometimes there’s a bit of a delay: it takes two to three seconds to pause or resume, but this is still a useful feature. For example, if you’re doing a nappy change and you want to concentrate, or you can see that your child’s distracted by the TV, you can very easily disable the TV or pause it, so you can focus on the nappy change. Equally if you’re taking the child out of the room quickly – maybe somebody’s at the front door – you can use your voice to actually pause the TV whilst carrying your child, and this is a lot more convenient than trying to fumble for the remote and find the remote. “Pause my Fire TV”, “Alexa, resume my Fire TV”.

Next up is smart doorbells and smart cameras. This might seem a weird point to bring up, however when you first come home from hospital with a tiny baby in your arms, you know you’ll do anything in life to protect them and keep them safe. And actually smart doorbells and smart cameras can actually provide a little bit of extra reassurance. Obviously it won’t really reassure the baby – they won’t know what they are = but it’ll reassure the parents, and that could be quite a useful thing.

The next feature I found really useful is setting a timer on your Google Home or your Echo smart speaker. For example, you can say to your Echo device ‘set a timer for 10 minute’s time’, and then it will alert you in 10 minutes with a sort of ringing alarm type sound, to let you know that that 10 minutes has elapsed. This can be useful for limiting time on things like Jumperoo or certain toys, or maybe limiting time when watching TV. “Set a timer for 10 minutes”. “10 minutes, starting now”. “Alexa, stop”. There we are, nice and easy.

The final really useful feature that I found for me personally is the reminder feature, as you can say to your smart speaker ‘set a reminder to do blah blah blah in three hours’, or ‘at 8pm tonight’, and this is really useful because during the day you can have hundreds of different things you need to do – almost every hour – and it’s really easy to forget something. If you say to your Echo device ‘set a reminder for 8 pm tonight to take the bins out’, you’re not going to forget that because your Amazon device will actually remind you to do that. “Remind me to take the bins out tonight at 8pm”. “Okay i’ll remind you at 8pm”. “This is a reminder: take the bins out”. “Alexa, thank you”. “Alexa, stop”. Okay, it turns out you need to say ‘stop’ as opposed to ‘thank you’, but that’s a really useful feature to get reminders throughout the day. I use this feature quite a lot.

Okay thank you for watching this video. I hope you found it useful. As you can see, I’ve listed the top eight features that have been useful to me since becoming a parent. I know that if you found out you’re becoming a parent, buying smart home technology is probably way down the list of priorities for you, but if you’re able to – and you’ve got the resources to – I suggest that you buy a smart speaker in all your key rooms. You might also want to look into smart lighting and smart doorbells and cameras, because these can be useful as well. Thanks for watching this video. If you liked it, please click the thumbs up button and don’t forget to subscribe.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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