What is a smart button: the small device that you should have at home to automate it

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Smart button on a nightstand

These small solutions allow you to control home automation without having to use your cell phone or talk to a voice assistant.

Home automation has expanded in Spain thanks to Google and Amazon solutions for the general public, although there are others that are much more advanced, which are usually preferred by professionals. But in houses already built, It is normal to use security systems, smart speakers and lighting control.

All of this is complemented by devices such as smart plugs., which allow you to control heaters and fans, for example. In this way, devices that are already at home can be converted into devices that are controlled remotely. But to turn them on or off you still need either your cell phone or a smart speaker.

(Ikea and its three new sensors for the smart home: they cost less than 10 euros and this is how they work)

There are many who view these types of devices with suspicion due to privacy. You can always mute the microphone or turn off the camera, but there are still people who prefer not to have them at home. In that case, home automation control can go through the smart buttons.

What are smart buttons

These types of devices are very simple devices that are integrated into home automation. to activate or deactivate certain actions and routines. They are elements, normally made of plastic, that have a button, and that connect to the Wi-Fi network of the house or to a controller of the brand in question. They can be compared to the buttons on a remote control, or to light buttons, with the advantage that they can be programmed.

There are many types of buttons, some with one push button and others with several, some with information LEDs and others with small silk-screened icons. Most electronics brands that have approached home automation, such as Tapo, Xiaomi or Phillips, have some model.

Xiaomi button

Its battery is usually a small button cell which gives it autonomy of up to a year, and even more on some occasions. Recently in EL ESPAƑOL – El Androide Libre the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag 2 has been analyzed, a locator that is also a smart button, this function being one of the biggest differences with other locators such as Apple AirTags.

What can they do

The function of this type of device is clear: to replicate a command that can be executed from the mobile phone, or from a speaker. The advantage is that These buttons can be placed in places where we normally do not have a cell phone or speakers.. For example, it can be used to turn off the lights in a room, or to change their color.

IKEA button

They can also serve as a fan or heater controller. that is used at home but does not have a remote control. If connected to a smart plug, the button serves as a mini remote control. Furthermore, if you have a smart heater, like the one from Xiaomi, but not a smart speaker, it can be controlled from the button.

It can also be used to raise the blinds or activate the coffee maker as soon as you get out of bed, so that the drink is made while you carry out your daily routines. IKEA has one, compatible with its ecosystem, which includes stickers to remember what the use of that button in question is. This feature does not come standard on most buttons, but it is something that can be done by hand if it helps differentiate the buttons around the house.

button on a wall

In the case of Xiaomi, the Mi Wireless Switch integrates with the entire ecosystem of products compatible with Xiaomi Home, its home automation application. This makes it possible to convert into a remote control for your vacuum cleaners, blender, heater, air fryer or radiator.

How much they cost

These types of devices can be found in numerous online stores, such as Amazon, with prices that vary greatly depending on the brand, type, as well as the model. You can go from 10 to 40 euros. Something important is that Many times this type of device depends on a HUB or controller that acts as a bridge. It happens in the case of Tapo, Xiaomi or Phillips. One option is to buy one that has the new Thread protocol, although they are more expensive.

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag 2

With everything, You have to be careful with the type of button you buy, and know if any of our products are compatible with it. For example, Samsung’s SmartTag 2 is only compatible with devices that are integrated into SmartThings, which is the Korean company’s home automation platform.

Worth?

This type of product has been on the market for a long time., when home automation was beginning to emerge and neither Google nor Amazon had launched their smart speakers. The launch of the Google Home and Amazon Echo changed everything, because it made it possible to have hundreds of commands available only with voice.

Since then, these types of smart buttons have changed their focus. They are useful in areas where there are no speakersfor whatever reason, like the garage, to close a door. They are also relevant in rooms where privacy is greater, and we don’t want cameras or microphones. Even so, different aspects of the house can be controlled, thanks to these devices.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise