Tech filled Adventures to do this Summer!

It’s getting close to summer time and for most that means a much needed vacation from the regular nine to five.  Whether you’re planning to backpack the Country side, jet set around the world or are having a quiet staycation at home this summer, there are plenty of places to explore, enjoy, and learn from, that will help bring out your inner geek or techie.

Tech fun can be easily found by just downloading an app from your app store. How about Geocaching this summer?  It uses your phone’s GPS systems to enter coordinates to find hidden treasures. Treasure that has been hidden, all over the world, from other “Geocachers”. Geocaching has been around for a while but it is inexpensive and can lead to hours of outdoor exercise and treasure finding fun.

Other phone apps let you explore your current area or travel destinations by taking you on guided walking tours to see things you might have missed in the area or didn’t even know about. Urban Adventure Quest Tours for example, is one app that gives you clues to find each destination on its tours and even has trivia and team competitions on the app as well.

Be sure to look at some of the other apps available in your app store that you can download for simple adventures using your smart phone’s technology to enjoy the places around you.

We are very lucky that Switchmate’s Corporate Office is located in the beautiful, Bay Area which is close to many tech industry startups, such as ours.  If you happen to live in the Bay Area or are planning a visit here, there are lots of tech things to do and see. The Intel Museum in Santa Clara, Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose and the NASA Ames Exploration Center located at Moffett Field are all cool places to visit that you really shouldn’t miss.  If your heading to Mountain View, hit the Computer History Museum then swing by the Googleplex for a self-guided tour thru the allowed, public access areas. While you’re there, don’t forget to take some pictures with the many Android Statues, each happily named after pastries. You can also head on over to the Apple Company Store in Cupertino, which is the only place where you can get licensed, Apple branded apparel.

The Bay Area is definitely not the only area to have cool tech places to visit.  Stop into the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Kennedy Space Center, Florida for a great space adventure.  While you’re in Florida, if you have a roll playing gamer with you, head over to MagiQuest in Myrtle Beach to use real, interactive wands to solve mysteries! Launch a spaceship at Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tenn. Heading to Pittsburgh, PA on your travels? Head over to Carnegie Science Center and check out the largest robotics exhibition, roboworld, yes, roboworld, the name alone suggests we should go there right away.  Live in New York City or heading there?  The new Gulliver’s Gate in New York City is opening this summer and really looks incredible.  It is an interactive, miniature world of well-known sites and places filled with lots of technology!

All around the world and not just in the States, there are museums and interactive places to explore and learn how our exciting world is changing daily with technology. So go out there this summer and explore the technology all around you. Your inner techie will thank you.

Do you know of a great tech place, not listed, that we should definitely see? Taken a tech vacation before and have some good ideas? Share with us in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.

Want to save a little Energy this Spring?

Spring has finally arrived in many areas. Coming in on Spring’s heels will be bright sunny summer days, soaring temperatures, and the inevitable higher energy use, and sadly, subsequent bills.

With Earth Day right around the corner, we realize there are so many easy ways we can do our part to use less energy and enjoy the added benefit of lower costs on our monthly bill.  We wanted to share some simple ways we’ve learned, how you can reap the rewards of saving energy while helping the community around you.

Here are a couple of easy things you can try today…

  1. If forgetting to turn off lights, fans or lowering your thermostat when you leave the house is a problem, start using one of the many smart home products that can solve those issues.  For instance, with Switchmate you can set a timer to turn off your lights & fans and have them turn back on later to cool down & light up the house right before you arrive.  No longer will they need to be on all day!
  2. Avoid using your oven around 3-6 pm when temperatures in the home are hottest. Cook early in the day or late at night when its cooler and then warm up dinner on the stove top.  Cook dinner, on low, in a crock pot.  Things like this, help keep your home cooler and there is less need for extra fans & air conditioning during this time. You could even go outside and use the grill to cook dinner.
  3. Close your blinds during the day and make sure your windows are shut.  This keeps the cooler morning air in and helps shield the house from the direct sunlight during the day, keeping it cooler inside.
  4. We often forget to shut off our kitchen and bathroom fans.  Make sure to turn those off.  If you have your home cool or are using air conditioners, that air is going right up those types of vents, so don’t leave them on longer than you need to.
  5. Plant trees on your property.  Not only are they good for the environment but they provide shade coverage for your home.  How about planting some fruit trees and have the perk of growing fresh fruit in your backyard at the same time!

While this is just a couple of ideas, there are so many little ways to do your part and a lot of ideas are simple to accomplish. So don’t be afraid to try.  Save some energy this spring, we promise you wont regret it.

We want to hear your ideas! If you have any easy energy saving tips, please leave them below in the comments.

Is Smart Home Automation for you?

Smart Home Automation is not just for the highly technical, overly nerdy or mechanically inclined.  It really is on the way to becoming the future for all homes, existing and new. Since there are so many smart devices on the market today, almost anyone can make some or all of their home into becoming a “Smart Home”.

So what does Smart Home even mean?  The term, Smart Home really just means that a computer or a cell phone is used for programming the home’s environment, its devices or its appliances.  You might have seen coffee pots that turn on right before you wake up and brew your favorite blend or crock pots that start hours after you have left the house to cook at the right time, your favorite meal, so you can come home and it is all ready to eat.  A light that comes on when you walk by, lighting up the yard. These are all types of devices that make your home, a Smart Home.

So what are some of the benefits to having a Smart Home?  Well, the biggest benefit to having a Smart Home is that it makes your life easier and is more cost efficient. Its simple really, when you don’t have to have your lights on all day, you are saving energy and who doesn’t want to see a little savings on their energy bills? Being able to turn down your thermostat when you just don’t need it up, is just a good idea. Smart Home Automation can also provide added security to your environment. With motion detection lights that turn on when you come home and light your walkway or doorway eliminating spooky and dark areas.  Lights that turn on and off, at a set time each day making it appear you’re home when you are really away.  Cameras that only record when something comes into frame.  These are things that can make you feel more safe. Something everybody wants. All these things are benefits of having a Smart Home and the easy part…most of these things can be done with a simple cell phone app!

So, if you haven’t started to turn your home into a Smart Home.  It is probably time to start. You don’t have to spend lots of money.  Just figure out what your specific needs are and go from there.  Use Smart Home Automation to solve life’s stuff.  If you are always late for work because you have to wait for the coffee to brew.  Get a coffee maker that you can set the timer to come on a few minutes before you wake and turn off when you leave.  If you hate to get out of bed when you’re done reading to turn off the light, get a device that you can turn off with your cell phone with the click of a button from your bed or even better you can have it voice activated. If you have a child that likes to fall asleep with the lights on, get something that enables you to set a timer and have it go off an hour after bedtime. Can’t reach your light switches?  Get a device where you can use your phone to turn them on and off.  Just don’t be intimidated, there is no need. There is Smart Home Automation for every level of skill and need. So go ahead, jump right in because we are pretty sure Home Automation is for you!

Switchmate Featured on KWCH 12 News “Does It Work” – YES!

Switchmate was reviewed by the local Kansas news station, KWCH 12 News during their segment “Does It Work Wednesday”. So what was their final answer? Well of course they said YES!

During this segment, Alex walks KWCH through the simple installation of snapping the Switchmate over his light switch and just like that, Alex was turning the light on and off through his phone. He then continues to demonstrate other key exciting features that Switchmate has to offer, like the Timers and Welcome Home features.

He showed how simple it was to set up Switchmate’s Timers that turns lights on/off automatically at preset times. The neat part about the Timers is that they will continue to turn the lights on and off, even when you are away from home for increased security and peace of mind while you’re away from home. Just set the timers through the free app and never worry about turning your front porch light on or off again!

Alex also walked KWCH through the Welcome Home feature by demonstrating just how it works. As Alex walked up from his driveway and entered him home, Switchmate automatically turned the light on as he entered! With this feature, you never have to worry about entering a dark home or room again, which is pretty cool!

Overall when KWCH asked Alex their infamous question for “Does It Work Wednesday” Alex expressed said yes! Take a look at the segment here!

5 Ways You Can Use Your Switchmate!

Switchmate was recently reviewed by lifestyle blog, Mother Daughter Projects on different ways on how to use a Switchmate. Do you have a hard to reach light switch? Place a Switchmate on it and make it easier! Do you want to control your fireplace switch during the winter time? Snap on a Switchmate and start controlling the switch from your smart phone! Lastly, want to arrive home with your porch lights already turned on? Set the Timer on your Switchmate and your lights will turn on and off! Or you can set up the Welcome Home feature to have your light automatically turn on as you arrive home or enter a room!

There’s various ways and places to snap your Switchmate on and its set up is simple! All you’ll need to do is Snap your Switchmate onto your light switch, Tap the Switchmate App to set up your device after downloading from the App Store, and Start enjoying Switchmate’s many benefits!

Check out Mother Daughter Projects’ video on more ideas on how you can use your Switchmate!

Wonder What Having Switchmate Can Do For You? Lets Take a Look at the Timers Feature!


You know with Switchmate you are able to control your lights with your smartphone, but how you ask. Well let us tell you about one of the many features! We’ll first take a look at the timers feature.

Timers – Want your light to turn on and off when you are away? Let Switchmate take care of that for you!

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Switchmate’s timers feature automatically turns your lights on and off at preset times even when you are away from your home. You can make it look like someone is home even if nobody actually is! This feature is especially great to use when you go on vacation because you won’t have to worry about having a dark home while you’re away.

Also, we all know the holiday season is among us and some of us like to decorate our home with holiday themed lights. Ever forget to turn on your festive decorations and then also forget to turn them off? Don’t let your lights burn out during this holiday season. A benefit to creating a timer on your Switchmate is that you save energy because your lights don’t have to be left on all night long!

Setting timers not only takes care of turning your lights on and off for you, but the feature also helps you become more energy efficient and provides you a sense of security for your home. With timers, lights are on only during a designated time, and turn off when the time is up thus saving you the hassle, energy, and a few dollars on your next energy bill! The timers feature will also give you peace of mind when you know your lights are turned on and off for you while you’re away from home. Switchmate gives the effect that someone is controlling your lights even when no one is! Don’t leave your home in the dark, but also don’t leave the lights running 24/7!

Switchmate has two settings available on how you can select times for your timers:

  1. Preset specific times for when your lights will turn on and off
    • For example, if you arrive home around 5PM and go to bed around 9PM, set your Switchmate timer to turn on at 4:30PM so you don’t walk up to a dark home. Then have your lights turn off at 11PM to keep your house well lit for a short time after you go to bed to fend off unwanted behavior around your home. Don’t worry about leaving your lights on throughout the night but also have your lights act as a security blanket for your home.
  2. Choosing the Sunrise and Sunset options for when your lights will turn on and off
    • The Sunrise and Sunset options optimize prime hours of when to turn your lights on and off when the sun isn’t shining. Your Switchmate knows when the sun sets and when it rises thus keeping your home lit when the sun can’t. For example, with these options your lights can turn on when the sun sets at 4:35PM and then turn off when the sun rises at 5:50AM. It’s a great setting to have if you prefer not to have specific preset times for your timer!

Additional Settings: Repeat and Label

  1. The Repeat option allows your timers to function the same time for certain days, weekdays, or even everyday. You just have to select the days of the week you would like your timer to turn your lights on and off.
  2. The Label option allows you to rename your timers instead of the default name it is initially given. You get to personalize your timer however you like!

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Did you know about all these customized settings that the timers feature offers? Next time you open your Switchmate App and create a timer, don’t forget about these settings: Sunset and Sunrise, Repeat, and Labeling your timer to get the best experience with your Switchmate!

Stay tuned for more as we also take a look at the Welcome Home feature and Tap On, Tap Off!