As my home automation system grows, it’s become painfully obvious that some of my purchases have added complexity to my life. This, of course, is ridiculous and defeats the purpose. With over 25 connected devices, and growing, opening apps to do anything has become tiresome. Ahhh, the good ‘ol light switches on the wall or buttons on a remote.
My first purchase to resolve this inconvenience was to add voice controls through Amazon Echo. It’s an amazing product and I use it for everything, but I also wanted a button to push or a light switch to flick. So, in steps Flic.
So, what is Flic?
Flic is a quarter sized, Bluetooth, clickable disk. When you click it, it triggers a Bluetooth call to your phone which, in turn, runs an action. There are a handful of integrated devices that are compatible with Flic. For example, you can click it and tell Spotify to play a song. For me, however, the best feature has to be the IFTTT integration. With this, you can trigger numerous home devices with a simple push of the button.
Flic in the Car
I have numerous SmartThings, Scout Alarm, and Arlo events that I want to automatically run as I arrive home (presence sensing). My first thought was to run it all through SmartThings and IFTTT presence sensing triggers (GPS and W-Fi). This works (most of the time), but it didn’t solve the problem. I don’t always want to run recipes when I leave. If my wife is home, for example, I definitely don’t want then inside alarm to set itself. Of course, we could setup rules that says if both of us leave, then do X. That’s doable in most scenarios, but not all.
Instead of using presence triggers, I’ve stuck a Flic button inside my car that will handle everything I need at the push of a button. And, since Flic works with Bluetooth / phone, it will only work if I’m in the car pushing the button.
So, here are the specifics…
When I leave
Step 1: I get in the car
Step 2: Single push the Flic button
Step 3: Flic sends a status update to SmartThings that sets mode to ‘away’.
Step 4: SmartThings ‘away’ mode turns on various security devices, adjusts lights, Nest, etc.
Step 5: ‘Away’ mode triggers IFTTT to turn on Arlo security cameras surrounding the exterior of my house
Step 6: ‘Away’ mode also triggers IFTTT to turn on Scout alarm to arm
At this point, the house is good to go (climate, security).
When I arrive home
Step 1: I double click the Flic button
Step 2: Everything is disarmed, lights turned on, etc. similar to the steps taken when leaving the house.
It’s that easy ;)
We’ll see how it goes, but it’s working well, for now. I have a few more Smart Home devices to add this month that might change how I use Flic as part of my daily routine. More to come…
Interested in learning more about flic, go here.