Holiday tech offers a bright new way to set the mood

Are you one who wants to have a good old-fashioned Griswold Family Christmas but without all the frustration, time spent handling lights and explosions? Well, now you can. Christmas decorating options go well beyond LEDs and battery operated candles.

In fact, multiple major tech companies are working hard to capture your imagination – and your decorating dollars – this holiday season. Two of the largest, Apple and Samsung, have created their own “ecosystems,” HomeKit (Apple) or SmartThings (Samsung), respectively. Most related products won’t work on the other brand’s product platform, so you need to plan ahead of time for what you are looking to do and how you want to do it.

Now let’s look at some of the ways to make your holidays a lot brighter. Start with the lights. The days of stringing them up, plugging them in and hoping for the best are all but gone. Now you can set up your lights, change times, colors and other options all from your smartphone … but you need the systems to make that happen.

One of the most popular is the Philips Light Kits with “Hue” bulbs. With these kits, you can develop themes and moods in each room of your home. Want to create a warm dining experience, and bright and fun mood in your family room or a cool and intimate low light situation in your den? Why not do all of them at once. Create the homey feel of the holidays, get the party cranking with disco lights or kindle a new romance at the touch of a button.

As a bonus, Hue lights can be synched with both Siri and Amazon Echo, to give you even more control over your entertainment environment. And, thanks to a security patch developed by Philips, a potential security flaw you may have read about has been fixed before it was exploited.

If you don’t want to spring for a whole house system, you can always pick up a smart outlet, which connects with an app on your phone to give you complete control of both small appliances and lights. Imagine, being able to turn your outdoor lights on and off without ever having to go outside or being able to turn the tree on and off without crawling underneath looking for the cord.

Finally, before you turn anything on, be sure your devices and accessories are secure. Remember, any ‘net-connected products are potentially vulnerable to security breaches, so upgrade your security, check your passwords and protect your privacy from any potential vulnerabilities.

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