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The Easiest Way To Pilot Your Smart Home? Try A Button.

Logitech's cute, easily programmed buttons offer a vastly simplified way to control your burgeoning network of smart appliances.

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The Internet of Things is a confusing place. You may have several smart products in your home, like a Wi-Fi-connected fridge, a Bluetooth-enabled air conditioner, a pair of Sonos speakers, and a Philips Hue lightbulb in your lamp. But how do you control them all? The smartphone has been the traditional answer to that, the universal remote for the Internet of Things. But here comes Logitech, with another idea: most appliances—even smart ones—don't need a remote. They just need a switch.

The Logitech Pop Home Switch aims to be that switch. A colorful button you can affix to any surface, the Logitech Pop offers light switch-like simplicity for any number of daisy chains of connected gadgets. To set up a Pop switch, first you plug in the base station into a spare wall socket, then set it up to connect to Wi-Fi through a companion smartphone app. Once that's done, each Pop switch can be assigned to issue up to three different command sequences to nearby smart devices, depending on how a user interacts with it: pressing it, long pressing it, or double tapping it. It's all done through an intuitive app that lets you assign each command to a different smart object in your home.

For example, you could set up a Pop Switch so that it sets the thermostat on your smart A/C to one of three different settings, depending on how you press it: cool, chill, or arctic. But you could also set it up so that pressing the Pop Switch turns on your lights, your air conditioner, and your Sonos at the same time. And because the Pop can work in conjunction with a Harmony hub-based universal remote, which blasts a room with radio waves to control your "dumb" gadgets, you can even teach it to interact with some non-smart appliances: for example, you could program a Pop Switch to turn on your dumb TV at the same time as it turns off your lights and lowers your smart blinds.

Right now, the Pop works with three major smart platforms—SmartThings, Belkin WeMo, and Lutron—so if your connected gadgets are compatible with those, the Pop should work out of the box with them. And if they aren't? Logitech supports IFTTT, the online recipe maker that lets you link online services with if this then that logic statements, allowing you to hook the switch up to hundreds of other connected gadgets. Even cooler? IFTTT support allows you to use it as a button for the regular Internet as well, meaning you could set up a Pop Switch to, say, call your phone for you when you lose it, or check your Gmail. The Pop is available for $100 for the base station and two buttons, or $40 for just a single button.

Eventually, voice assistants like Siri and Alexa might well function as the heart of your home's IoT—but the AI still isn't quite there yet. Until then, a dumber solution to controlling your smart home is probably the smarter option.

[All Photos: via Logitech]

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