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Take the load off Dad's shoulders

Few connections in life are stronger than a father and his son. Our fathers shape us deeply. They are our protectors, role models, occasional jungle gyms, encouragers, and providers. We look to them for advice and help when things are challenging.

As our fathers get older, the relationship flips. The children become the caregivers. We get a chance to give back to our fathers, thanking them for what they’ve meant to us. Ultimately, we want to make their lives easier. Our dads work hard their whole life to provide for us. The least we can do is to give them something to make their lives easier.

One of the best uses of Staples Connect is to make things easier and more accessible around your dad’s home. Here’s a few ways you can do that.

1. Replace traditional light switches with easy-to-push rocker switches and remotes.

As dad gets older, flipping a light switch gets harder. A rocker switch like the Leviton dimmer requires less force to operate, making it ideal for a dad whose strength isn’t what it used to be. Cooper Aspire and Lutron Caseta dimmers are also great options. Both of them feature easy-push buttons and indicator lights to let you know exactly how bright the light is.

But this isn’t the only thing that’s useful about these switches.

2. Connected light switches and lamp modules turn on lights in hard-to-reach places.

It’s hard to turn on many table lamps. Their knobs or switches are usually in hard-to-reach places at awkward angles. If dad doesn’t have the range of motion he used to, turning these on and off can be hard.

But with Staples Connect, you can solve all this by making these lights turn on automatically when a light switch is pressed. Connect a lamp module like this one by GE Jasco, then create an Activity that turns on the lamp module when the connected dimmer switch is pressed. Your dad will be able to press one button and have all the lights turn on.

This will allow him to save his energy and avoid awkward places, keeping him safer and giving you peace of mind.

3. Turn on the lights automatically when dad enters a room.

Some of our dads aren’t physically able to use a light switch. Staples Connect can help with this too. Place an EcoLink Motion Sensor near a door and create an Activity to turn on the lights in that room whenever the sensor detects motion. This is especially useful in bathrooms or rooms your dad might go into at night or with his hands full.

4. Turn off everything and save energy.

If your dad has trouble remembering to turn off lights and appliances before bed each night, you can solve this with Staples Connect. Create an Activity that turns all the devices in your dad’s house off (well, the ones that should turn off) when it’s time for bed. This will save him time, energy, and money.

5. Simplify controls for hard-to-reach devices.

Table lamps aren’t the only devices with hard-to-adjust controls or in difficult places. Staples Connect can help with those devices too. Just like we automated the lamps, we can automate devices like thermostats and window shades to be easier for dad.

Add a connected thermostat like the Nest Learning Thermostat or a window covering like Lutron’s Serena Shades to your Staples Connect. Then make an Activity that sets those devices to the right level when dad presses a button on his Lutron Pico Remote. Whenever dad wants to put the blinds up, he’ll just press a button on his small remote and watch the shades go up automatically. And when he wants to turn the thermostat up, he can use another button on his Pico for that as well.

These are five ways—five easy ways—that Staples Connect can help you help your dad to maintain his independence and dignity as he ages. It’s a way you can give back to dad and also give yourself some peace of mind, knowing that he won’t have to exert himself more than he should. Staples Connect has a lot of uses, and one of them is to help care for your dad.

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Staples Connect: the hostess with the mostest

Spring is in the air. Full days of sunshine are finally upon us as the weather continues to warm up. It’s the perfect season to have some well-deserved fun with your friends. As Robin Williams would say, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” And we completely agree: it’s time to party!

The date is set and your guests have all been invited. After spending countless hours searching Pinterest, you’ve finally found the perfect hors d’oeuvres. Desert? Eh, piece of cake. And thanks to the creative geniuses of Pinterest, your mind is swirling with decoration ideas. Unfortunately, time isn’t on your side. You’ve got less than a day to figure out how to make your home party-ready.

Time may not be on your side, but technology certainly is.

Technology has become a part of almost every aspect of our daily lives, especially under your own roof. With the emergence of home automation, your home is smarter than ever. There’s no better time to get creative and use this technology to plan your spring soiree. They don’t call it the “Internet of Everything” for nothing. (Although we agree that the “Internet of Partying” is much catchier.)

Rely on Staples Connect to bring your home into the 21st century. Staples Connect lets throw a party you’ll actually have time to enjoy. Control endless scenarios in your home that you never thought possible until now. It’s a more convenient way to prepare for an unforgettable affair.

There are countless ways Staples Connect is the hostess with the mostest.

Before your party even begins, set the perfect opening scene by configuring a few simple Activities with Staples Connect. Make your guests feel initially welcomed by creating a “Party’s Starting” Activity.

Your party starts at 6:00 p.m., so this Automatic Activity will begin promptly at 5:45 p.m. – not too late, not too soon. Your “Party’s Starting” Activity activates your GE Outdoor module turning on your outside lights next to your front door and festive party lights wrapped around your railing to full brightness. Now your guests will know which house the party’s at.

This Activity will also dim the Philips Hue downlight bulbs heading up your stairs to a bright shade of red and activate your Ecolink motion sensors in your upstairs hallway to send you a notification if they’re triggered, ensuring that you don’t have any unwanted visitors in your bedroom. Finally, it will turn down your Nest thermostat a few degrees and turn on your Philips Hue Bloom located in your front foyer to a vibrant shade of turquoise at 75% brightness and full saturation. The scene is set and your night is ready to begin. It’s time for your guests to arrive.

You hear the doorbell ring as you put the final touches on your assortment of refreshments. It must be your first guest. You excitedly look through the peephole to see which one of your friends it is. Of course! It’s Larry and Sue. Your long-time friends are always the first to arrive and last to leave. As you begin to open your door, you trigger your “Guests Are Here!” Activity.

By the time the door is fully opened, upbeat music starts softly playing in the background from your Bose speakers. Before you can properly greet Sue and Larry, they’re already gushing about your colorful entryway. “Larry, colorful lights likes these would be perfect around the bar in our basement!” Sue proudly states. Grinning ear-to-ear, you lead them inside knowing more excitement awaits. As you proudly say, “Watch this!” and press a button on your Lutron Pico remote, the Philips Hue Lux bulbs in your living room begin glowing a soft yellow, the GE Link bulbs in your dining room dim and the music playing from your Bose speakers gets louder much louder. Sue and Larry can’t contain their amazement as they beg you to show them what’s making all this happened. But before you can explain Staples Connect to your dear friends, your doorbell rings again. More guests have arrived!

Your living room quickly fills up with people. Your old friends are catching up with one another and your new friends are beginning to mingle. Everything’s off to a great start. Some of your friends are raving about your colorful lights. Some are even using the crisp sound blasting from your Bose speakers as a way to break the ice and initiate conversation. Your second Activity has done it’s job!

Now that all your guests have met one another, it’s time for some entertainment. And what better way to have some fun than to sing some karaoke? Before you gather all your guests, you trigger your third Activity, “Connected Karaoke.”

This Manual Activity locks your front door and turns out your front lights to ensure you don’t have any party-crashers during a potentially embarrassing moment. But that’s not all. It also turns on the Philips Hue lightstrips under your fireplace stoop and your Philips Hue bulbs in your living room light fixtures. Your light strips illuminate a bright green making the step in front of your fireplace the perfect stage for your karaoke performances. Your multiple Hue bulbs radiate all different colors, from hot pink to dark blue making your living room’s atmosphere more fun than your favorite disco club.

Larry, the outgoing gentleman that he is, offers to sing first. He kicks off the karaoke contest by belting out a classic: Wild Cherry’s “Play that Funky Music.” Everyone cheers as the combination of this classic hit blaring and the colorful lights beaming makes all your guests reminisce about all those wild times they had in 1976. Now everyone wants a turn on the microphone.

Your guests begin belting all their favorite classic songs. Everyone is on their feet dancing and singing along to the oldies music blaring from your Bose speakers. Between the colorful beams of light, your friends’ fearless dance moves, and upbeat music blasting, your living room’s transformed into a disco club. Karaoke was a hit!

All the boogying must’ve worked up an appetite. Your guests quickly devour all the snacks you prepared beforehand. Thank goodness for Pinterest! After the last slice of cake is eaten, the time has come for your party to wind down. Knowing that Sue and Larry tend to overstay their welcome, you’ve got just the plan to subtly let your friends know the nights over.

You’re exhausted. You begin to yawn as Sue and Larry continue dancing. You don’t want to be rude, but you need some rest. And although almost all of your guests have said their goodbyes by now, Sue and Larry are still in full-party mode.

Luckily, your “Party’s Over” Activity has got your back.

When 10:45 p.m. strikes, your “Party’s Over” Activity begins. The Philips Hue bulbs in your living room adjust to a creamy-white at full-brightness, the Philips Hue downlight bulbs above your stairwell change to a bright yellow hue, and the Philips Hue Bloom in your front foyer turns from bright turquoise to off. Not only does your “Party’s Over” Activity adjust your indoor lights, but it also turns off the music playing from your Bose speaker and turns back on the outdoor lights by your front door.

The couple stops dancing and grabs their jackets. Larry and Sue can’t wipe the smiles off their faces as they proclaim what a wonderful evening they had. Even better, they thank you for having them and scurry out the front door. Your “Party’s Over” Activity did the trick!

As you change into your pajamas and get in bed, you receive a text message from Sue who enthusiastically asks when your next soiree will be. Smiling, you put your home in Sleep mode. Your front door locks, all your lights turn off, and your Nest thermostat turns back up a few degrees as your head hits the pillow. Your eyes close as you reflect on what a fabulous evening it turned out to be. Thanks to Staples Connect, your party was a huge success! And to Sue’s delight, you fall asleep dreaming of all the other parties Staples Connect could help you throw.

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Even on Vacation, your home still works for you

“Vacation.”

Ahh, the joys that word brings to mind. It’s when we get to relax, go somewhere warm and tropical, kick off our shoes, lie in our chairs, sipping pina coladas as the world goes by. It’s beautiful. It’s needed. With all that we’ve got going on during our lives, we need time to unwind and not think about everyday things. We need our island in the sun.

When we’re on vacation, there’s plenty of things we don’t want to do, like thinking about work, getting up early, doing chores…the list goes on. One of them is tipping the neighborhood that we won’t be home for a few days. We don’t want our house to become a target when we’re not there.

Fortunately, Staples Connect gives us a way to address this.

To solve this problem, we’re going to make a series of scheduled Activities that make it look like someone is still in our house even when we’re not there. These Activities will only run in Vacation Mode. When we’re home, the house will be under our command. When we’re away, it will look like someone is still there. We’ll do this by turning on our GE Link bulbs and Philips Hue Lux bulbs throughout the day, when we would normally be present.

The GE Link and Philips Hue Lux bulbs are new members of the Staples Connect family, and they’re great additions to your lighting. The Link bulbs are bright LEDs with a retro-influenced design and the Hue Lux bulbs combine the power and reliability of the Philips Hue system with soft daylight tones. Both of them are energy-saving bulbs, which makes them perfect for this kind of use. You’ll be protecting your house without breaking the bank.

We’ll use these bulbs in four Activities that will be the basis for our fake schedule.

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First, we’ll create a “Good Morning – Vacation” Activity. This Activity will turn on the Hue Lux lights in our bedroom—perfect for a restful morning wakeup—as well as the lights in the kitchen and dining room, where we’d normally eat our breakfast. We’ll set the Activity to turn on at 6:00am.

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Next, we’ll create an “Off to Work – Vacation” Activity. This will turn off the GE Link and Hue Lux lights in the bedroom, kitchen, and dining room, and will turn on the lights in the living room and office. This Activity will run at 8:45am.

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Next, it’s time for a couple evening Activities. We’ll make a “Home from Work – Vacation” Activity that turns off the light in the office, turns on the GE Link lights in the kitchen and dining room, and turns on the outside lights. This Activity will run at 6:00pm.

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Finally, we’ll make our “Off to Bed – Vacation” Activity, which will turn off all the lights in our house at 10:00pm.

This gives us four Activities that simulate a “normal” day around our house. We’re almost there. We just need to enable these Activities in Vacation Mode so that they’ll run when we’re not home (but not any other time). To do this:

  1. In the app, tap Modes.
  2. Tap the right arrow on Vacation Mode to edit it.
  3. Tap “Activities are enabled.”
  4. Now we need to make sure that only the four Activities we’ve just created run while we’re away. We’ll do this in two steps. First, tap Enable all so it’s not selected. This will disable all the Activities that would normally run.
  5. Next, we’ll enable the four Activities we just created. Scroll down and tap each of those Activities to enable them in Vacation Mode. When you’re finished, tap Save.

With our Modes set up, when we’re going on vacation, we’ll simply set Staples Connect to Vacation Mode and our home will automatically turn on and off the lights so it looks like someone’s home. We won’t be advertising to the world that we aren’t paying attention to our home. Staples Connect takes care of your home even when you’re far away.

Bonus: we’ve set up your home to turn on everything the same way each day. If you’re concerned that people might start to notice that your home’s pattern isn’t changing, you can create a second set of Activities that run at different times. When you create these new Activities, be sure to schedule them to run on certain days of the week. Then you can go back to the four Activities we created earlier and change them so that they don’t run on those days. This will really make people think you’re home.

Staples Connect lets you stay in charge of your house even when you’re away but also lets you relax and know that your home is being taken care of. So put your feet up. You’ve earned it, and your home will be fine.

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Staples Connect 1.7 features support for Nest, Bose, GE Link, and much more

You asked, we answered! We’ve just released a new update to Staples Connect, packed with lots of exciting new devices, features, and performance improvements. Here are some of the things you can look forward to in Staples Connect 1.7.


Works with Nest

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The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your heating and cooling needs and seamlessly adjusts the temperature of your home to keep you comfortable while saving you money. 


Augment your life with Bose Speakers

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Life’s better when you’re listening to your favorite music. Staples Connect now supports Bose SoundTouch Portable, 20, and 30 (Series I & II). Set up your Home Mode to greet you with your favorite song as you walk in the door after work each day.


Lighten up with Hue Lux and GE Link bulbs

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The Philips Hue Lux and GE Link bulbs are great additions to your home’s lighting! Whether you’re relaxing on vacation or proving that you’re the hostess with the mostest, these bulbs make your home work for you.


Stability updates and performance upgrades

We’re always improving the security and performance of the Staples Connect app so everyone can enjoy it more, and we’ve rolled out a number of changes in this version.

There’s a lot more in this update. Download Staples Connect today from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or Windows App Store and see for yourself.

As always, stay posted here for the latest news on Staples Connect updates, features, tips, and more. We’re always working on things to share with you and we’ve got some much-requested features coming soon.

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