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News | Smart tech that turns a home into a party house

Mohamed Hakim

Smart homes can make coffee, but do they know how to party? Yes, and no.

You can set up a system like this one, which starts a barnburner at the cry “Alexa, let’s party,” but making the connections among bulbs, speakers, and virtual assistants takes some doing. Banding your gadgets together into a raucous gang of party animals requires using the app If This Then That (IFTTT) as glue. Once that’s done, you’re ready to rage on.

1. The host
Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo Dot hears your rallying cry and sends the signal to the rest of its party people—er, gadgets. Using IFTTT, your initial voice command can also tweet out the invite to friends and order pizza to keep ‘em fed.

2. The party planner
Alexa relays the shindig-starting message to the Logitech Harmony Hub, which connects to all your devices—from appliances to home theaters—via Wi-Fi. The console is what gets your lights in sync with your speakers, and so on.

3. The mood setter
In party mode, the LIFX bulbs cycle through 16 million colors in a pattern that makes your living room look like a Daft Punk concert. An end-of-night action called “party’s over” can reset the lights to max brightness and whiteness.

4. The DJ
Spread out as many as 32 Sonos One Wi-Fi speakers, and they’ll create a mesh network that kicks out jams in every room. The smartphone-controlled gadgets are also Alexa-friendly, so you can shout to skip a track mid flip-cup battle.

5. The entertainment
Smart fog machines aren’t a thing (yet!), but the D-Link Wi-Fi Plug can fill in. Hooked into an outlet, the socket controls the flow of electricity to whatever it powers. Turn on a bubble machine—or a fan for when it’s “getting hot in herre.”