One of the reasons that DIY (do-it-yourself) home automation rarely works is that there’s too much tech for the average person to deal with. That’s why back in the 90’s the most popular remote control home system was based off of working through electricity from within a standard wall outlet — all you did was plug in a module to the wall outlet and then plug the control unit into another wall outlet and the two could now communicate. You’d think that the 21st Century could do better — hey, it can! Or at least iHome’s Control ISP5 Smart Plug can.
The ISP5 is an efficient way to control a small appliance — essentially turning it into a networking device susceptible to being commanded to turn on or off. That’s pretty good for a $39.99 retail, but what’s more important is that its ease of execution means it will be used. That’s well worth spending the money for.
The Control Smart Plug doesn’t need a hub (a specialized control center, as it were) in order to work — just plug it into the wall outlet and it’s got the power to do what’s needed. As to what that is, internal Wi-Fi circuitry integrates with your home network to enable connectivity and control utilizing a free app. But first a few notes on the physical side of things: the Control Smart Plug can handle up to 1800 watts so that means keeping it away from being plugged into any heavy duty units please (lamps and coffee makers and “mild” appliances like window AC units are OK). Its shape allows for the other AC plug on the outlet to be used, so you’re not giving up an entire outlet (as can be imagined, its best not to even try using the Plug with a power strip. Or if you want, plug another Control Smart Plug into that free outlet — you’re limited to one or just a few as each Plug is its own entity and can be controlled as same.
So now a bit more about that app — it’s called iHome Control and is free and comes in both iOS/Apple and Android flavors. Use it to set up the Control Smart Plug (or Plugs) and then access features from a remote location, using a ”hot spot” or through cellular as location no longer matters. It’s also compatible with Apple’s Homekit and the AppleTV, by the way, but it’s not a requirement to have this in order for the Plug to be used (i.e., you don’t have to be spending more money if all you’re after is a simple implementation of home automation). The ISP5 is also compatible with the WINK home automation system as well as with Amazon’s ECHO system (but again, you don’t have to have these in order to use the Plug).
What the app allows for is near-instant on/off functionality as well as being able to configure control through the network — using multiple Plugs and grouping them into rooms or zones (on iOS you can access commands via Siri). You can also create scenes for multiple control as well (basically creating what are called Macro commands for specific commands to go out at a specific time).
iHome’s Control Smart Plug can be considered the latest in the realm of DIY home automation control devices. It is simple to set up and easy to understand — which means it won’t end up being forgotten about in a fit of rage of anger at one’s high-tech incompetence.