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Old 04-25-2019, 06:09 AM   #1
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Smart Home Technology

While considering going to a smart house which type of technology do you ponder is best and would spend your money in and why? If you are familiar with any please share your ideas. Thanks.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:41 AM   #2
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Re: Smart Home Technology

It's interesting, but not sure what it has to do with windows and doors, unless you're talking about some kind of smart locks, or smart alarm system.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:32 AM   #3
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Re: Smart Home Technology

In what way? I have a lot of smart home stuff, but not much in the "window and door" department, save for a few open/closed sensors

Though one thing soon on my list is a programmable lock. I like the idea of restricting certain people at certain times
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:41 PM   #4
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Re: Smart Home Technology

I think there are many different valid answers. It all depends on wheat you want to do.

Some folks like to be able to say "Alexa, dim the lights" or "start the coffee maker."

Some folks are audiophiles who like to pipe the music to every room, or TV enthusiasts who automate their home theater.

Some folks like to use "presence detection." Like have lights and doors operate automatically when they enter or leave the house, or a room. Believe it or not, there are occupancy sensors for beds and even some sort of smart toothbrush.

My thing is monitoring. I want to know the temperature of a couple of spaces that have water pipes running through them. That allows me to adjust the thermostats so it's just warm enough not to freeze, but not waste a lot of energy. Then I found I could also monitor my existing Honeywell thermostats. Next I'm working on being able to monitor when each heating or cooling zone comes on and off, as well as the burner on the boiler. This should give me good data I can correlate to fuel usage and climate data.

One big decision is whose "hub" you want all these devices to talk to. Most of these use a cloud-based system, like my thermostats. The app doesn't change the thermostat. It sends a request to the Honeywell servers (if the internet isn't down) to send a request back to the thermostat. Likewise with SmartThings and most other brands. They all want to be "in the loop" between you and your devices.

I don't like that model, so I'm using an open source product called Home Assistant on a Raspberry Pi device. Everything is local, although I can connect to it remotely. OpenHAB is another similar project, I tried them both and it was almost a coin-flip to pick one. There are also commercial "local control" hubs.

The next thing to choose is the protocol to connect to the devices. There are lots of IP based options, but many of those are also programmed to "phone home" rather than allow direct connection. With some (like Sonoff devices) you can flash the firmware to install an open operating system, but that gets pretty technical.

The two most common other protocols are Zigbee and Z-Wave. Both are just a wireless alternative to regular WiFi, and both are widely available and supportable from many different hubs. I'm using a number of Zigbee door/temperature sensors, as well as a SmartThings Zigbee smart plug, without issue. I just inserted a USB hub in the Raspberry Pi and Home Assistant detected and used all these devices.
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