30 thoughts about the Pico Remote

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“I’m thinking of getting into home automation. What devices should I buy?” We’ve been asked this question countless times, and each time, we’ve told the person to buy a Lutron Pico remote.

Our appreciation of Picos is well-known. We’ve written about them more than almost any other device. They’re often used in Activities. We enjoy all our devices but Pico remotes are one of our favorites.

We like our Picos and we want you to like them too. Today, we’re going to explore the world of Pico Remotes, see why they’re useful, and look back over some of the uses we’ve found for them.

(1) Pico remotes are small handheld devices that (2) are made by Lutron, one of the premier lighting manufacturers in the world. (3) Pico remotes were designed to allow people to more easily control Lutron’s Serena Shades, Caseta Wireless dimmers and light switches, and other products.

(4) A Pico remote measures 2.6″ tall x 1.3″ wide x 0.31″ thick. If you cut a pack of Post-It notes in half, it’s almost exactly the size of a Pico remote. (5) Pico remotes are designed to be held in hand but can also be mounted onto (6) tabletop stands or (7) specially designed wall plates.

(8) There are multiple versions of Pico Remotes. The ones supported by Staples Connect fall into three main categories: (9) two-button, (10) two-button with raise/lower, and (11) three-button with raise/lower. (12) Within these categories, there are remotes designed for shades, lights, and other modules. All of them work the same in Staples Connect.

(13) In Staples Connect, Pico remotes are “Controllers”, which is short for “scene controllers.” A scene controller is a fancy way of saying that a device can start an Activity, which is exactly what Picos do. (14) Pico remotes don’t have a category on the tile page  because they don’t have anything that can be controlled. (This is also true for range extenders, which is why they are the other device that doesn’t have a category as well.) (15) In Staples Connect, a Pico remote is used as the trigger device in an Activity. When you’re creating an Activity, choose “I want one of my devices to start the Activity,” then choose your Pico Remote from the list of devices in your home. (16) Each of the buttons of your Pico remote can be used to start an Activity. (17) All of the buttons can be used in more than one Activity. You can start as many Activities as you want with the “On” button. That said, (18) it’s generally not a good idea to start too many Activities with one button. You don’t want to create an overlap in Activities where the same trigger starts two different Activities that try to adjust the same device to two different settings simultaneously. (19) With great power comes great responsibility.

So why do we love Pico remotes so much? (20) We love Picos because they are small, tangible ways to control your home. Yes, Staples Connect is a home automation system. It can take care of itself well. But if you want to control an Activity, pressing a button on a nearby Pico remote is more convenient than pulling out your phone and triggering the Activity yourself. (21) Pico remotes help to bridge the gap between the connected home and the real home—not just for you but also for the others in your home. (22) Once you start using Pico remotes to trigger Activities, you’ll quickly think of other ways to use them. Of all the devices we support, Pico remotes might be the ones that prove their worth the best.

We’ve described a lot of scenarios where Pico remotes are extremely useful tools. One of the first articles we ever wrote (23) used a Pico remote in a “Good Night!” Activity, which is still one of our most popular scenarios. Who doesn’t love the royal feeling of pushing a button next to your bed and watching all the lights go off and the thermostat turn down automatically?

A little later, we (24) covered how to add and use Pico remotes more generally in the system. Later, as part of our “Back to School” series, we explored (25) how the littlest members of your family could use a Pico remote to banish monsters that live under beds, giving you a good night’s sleep(26) Pico remotes were also key components of our fantastic party—a button press and your lights create the perfect ambience while the Bose speakers flood the doom with sweet-sounding music—proving you to be the hostess with the mostest.

Finally, on Father’s Day, we considered (27) how Pico remotes can make life easier for elderly parents. A Pico remote can control lights, outlets, thermostats, speakers, and shades. We used ours to control the shades in Dad’s house so he doesn’t have to struggle with the cords and hard-to-twist rods.

These are just five of the many, many ways we’ve used Pico remotes in our Activities.

Before we go, we’ve got two important notes. First, (28) Pico remotes can also be used to change Modes as well as starting Activities. Second, (29) Pico remotes can’t be used to control locks and garage doors. These devices use secure communications and Pico remotes do not. This ensures that your home stays secure.

We’re going to keep writing about Pico remotes because we find new uses for them all the time. (30) And we’d love to hear your uses as well. You can tweet at us (@staplesconnect), leave them on our Facebook page (facebook.com/staplesconnect), or use the Suggestions link on this site. How do you use your Pico remotes?

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