Ashley Waltrip knows how busy life can get. Her family is in the military, she's a mother of three with two children with special needs. She told us her household is always on the go. How does smart home tech fit into this? We spoke with Ashley to find out and learn how her busy family lives a little easier.
Hub of Choice: Ashley’s family uses SmartThings for her Z-Wave devices and uses HOOBs to connect everything to their HomeKit.
What got you into smart home technology?
We have always been into technology, the move to smart home products was out of a desire to regain time lost in our day-to-day functions. We knew there had to have been an easier way to do things.
What was your first smart home product?
It was a smart switch. We have a two-story home and the constant leaving lights on had to go. We are always on the move, and nothing was worse than getting all settled in the car to leave, only to notice a light was left on upstairs.
How did you learn about Inovelli?
Credit goes to Reed at SmartHomeSolver, he did a review on the Red Series Switch and it was life changing. All of a sudden I found everything I wanted in one little box. The only thing I was missing was a better way to use my ceiling fan and light. Shortly after, you took care of that and I knew this company was for me. What kept me excited about Inovelli is how easy they made it to get direct answers.
What hurdles have you run into with smart home technology?
Patience has really been what I have found the most with a smart home. It takes a while, a lot of trial and error, a lot of luck, and just time to find the perfect set up.
Can you explain a bit about your process incorporating smart home tech into your children’s schedules?
Smart home schedules for my kids' lives have been amazing. Their day starts off with Alexa slowly turning up the lights underneath their bed to wake them more naturally. Then she tells them the weather, a fun fact for the day, and finally puts on some peaceful music to get them going.
As they move downstairs Alexa has already turned on the lights and slowly increases it throughout the morning and is playing the same music. Winters are dark around here so that helps offset that. Because I have a child with executive processing disorder, we rely heavily on Alexa. She has a morning checklist for each of my kids that helps keep them on track with what they need to do, such as putting away dirty clothes, making their bed, brushing their teeth, applying deodorant, and staying on top of their chores.
Alongside that with school being distance learning and all their classes are via Zoom, Alexa gives them a 10 minute, a 5 minute, and a Time-to-Start warning so they can get logged in. Each child has a smart bulb behind their monitor to signal us what class they're in. If they are in a Zoom meeting, it turns daylight white which helps them have better lighting for their web camera (also makes it easy for us to see). If they are only working on an assignment then the light turns green. If they need help from one of us they can set it to red. We also have a Happy Light to help mimic the sun and a smart air purifier that turns on during school hours so they both have a good learning atmosphere.
While they're in class, we have a preschooler to occupy with and keep out of their room. Since they work in our office, we have a Wyze camera set up in there so we can look out for them signaling for help and for us to make sure they are doing their work - they are kids after all. Because they share the school space we do have noise cancelling headphones for both in hopes they distract each other less. The boys also have access to Alexa for quick answers should they need them. Finally, since they rely on routines and visual cues, we have LED Light Strips to help show them when it's time to change classes.
Once the school day is over smart home is still life. Alexa will tell them of any appointments and if we have an appointment or obligation then she changes the kitchen cabinet colors to let us know it's time to leave. Our other smart lights also give visual cues for their day. If the mail has been delivered our kitchen lights change color so they know to go grab the mail for us. When its bedtime our kitchen lights turn red and function purely off the motion sensor so that there are no unnecessary bright lights turned on. When they head to bed a soothing sleep playlist plays while they read before going to sleep. Alexa will let them know when it's 10 minutes, 5 minutes, and 1 minute before they need to close their books, set down their glasses, and go to bed. Once it hits their bedtime, Alexa will turn off their night lamps so they don't feel tempted.
My preschooler uses it more at bedtime because she will have Alexa read her bedtime stories. Everyone in our home has a motion sensor under the bed in case they need to get up in night. Once up, the light strips under the bed are turned on to help guide them. The bathroom has lights under the vanity as well and are motion based for any late night potty runs.
Check out Ashley's unboxing video of the Red Series Smart LED Strip!
Have your Smart LED Strip notify you when it detects motion (like how Ashley’s family uses it in the kitchen late at night):
The Ultimate Bedtime Scene: