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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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.