I am currently employed at a distributed software company and work most of my days from my home office. During my work days, I am taking part in frequent virtual meetings and also podcasting a little.
For a while now, I’ve wished for a way to conveniently and clearly signal to the rest of my household that I’m engaged in an activity, such as podcast recording, which requires silence and no interruptions. I recently managed to rig something which I’m quite happy with and I wanted to share it with others.
- On Air Light: non-affiliate link
- Smart outlet: affiliate link – non-affiliate link
- Echo Dot: affiliate link – non-affiliate link
- Echo Show: affiliate link – non-affiliate link
The actual light is pretty light so I literally hung it with some command strips stuck to the wall in the kitchen. This was the best place I could find to mount it where it was visible but not too obtrusive.
The light comes with a remote. However, I want to be able to turn on the light without leaving my office. So I plugged it into a smart plug (the one in the middle):
But turning it on remotely isn’t cool enough. I also wanted to be able to enable it via voice command. I’ve got the smart plugs integrated with Alexa and use the Echo dot in my office…
I then configured a “routine” in the Alexa app which is triggered when I tell Alexa “I’m going live”.
But just turning on the light wasn’t enough. So I added a few more elements to that same routine.
After turning on the light, I have the Echo Show in the kitchen announce: “Daddy is recording now, please be quiet”.
Next in the routine I have the decorative light behind me turn on so I can be more presentable on screen. Then my Echo Dot gets set to “do not disturb” mode so it won’t announce messages sent to me. Lastly, I threw a 90 minute wait into the routine, after which the on air light is shut off, thereby ensuring I don’t accidentally leave it on all the time. I chose 90 minutes because I very rarely have meetings which last longer than that.
I additionally decided to create a second routine in the Alexa app so that when I say “Alexa, I’m done recording”, the on air light turns off and the kitchen Echo Show announces “Daddy is done recording. You may now resume your regularly scheduled noisemaking”.
Comment below if you also have a handy home office setup like this for turning on an “on air light” and telling everyone to keep quiet for a while.