My old iPad 1st gen is too old to run any app or game, so I wanted to find a good use for it. After doing some research, I have found an app called WhizScreen that allows me to turn my old iPad into a smart screen that can interact with other smart devices in my home.
The idea is simple; I bought a stand for my iPad that allows me to place my iPad in the living room, in a visible location. The stand has built-in power, so my iPad can always stay on. This is the one I bought but I assume any other will do the job.
Next I have used the WhizScreen app. Once the app is running, you can choose what to see on the screen; for me, I chose to use the slideshow and use my iPad as a smart digital picture frame. From time to time, I change my screen view to a clock or news reader.
Once those steps are done, I was able to use the Alexa app and connect the Alexa skill (WhizScreen) to my WhizScreen app. Once connected, I was able to use my Echo to "tell" the screen to do things; for example, I use my voice to switch between the different screens that are offered (clock, news, YouTube, picture frame, etc.). Since my main usage for the screen is as a digital picture frame; I use Alexa a lot to pause the picture that is shown on the screen.
Next, I have decided to buy a new tablet and went for the "cheaper" Amazon Fire 7", which is now used in my bedroom with the WhizScreen app as a digital clock. I also use it to wake me up to a YouTube clip. Since I have a Philips Hue light in my bedroom, I was able to connect the WhizScreen app to the Philips Hue so that the background color of the tablet in the bedroom changes to match the Philips Hue light in my bedroom.
Finally, to add more "smart home" feeling into my project, I have decided to use the server side API offered by WhizScreen. It is easy to use with IFTTT and SmartThings (for SmartThings you will have to create a SmartApp based on the code they post on the WhizScreen website blog). First, I decided to use IFTTT to send a notification (a message) to my screen in case I get a new email. Then I have used SmartThings to trigger a message on my screen every time a motion sensor is triggered. The WhizScreen settings page provides all the details you need to create such automation rules.
I hope some of you will find this project fun and maybe useful.