Getting Started with Home Automation

Anyone that knows me will know that I love home automation. I’ve spent years and (too much) money building a collection of gadgets and gizmos, building DIY sensors and delving into the (often fustrating) world of the Internet of Things (IoT).

For a while i’ve been longing to share what I've learnt, but never sure where to start. You see, smart devices all seem to share one fundemental floor… They’re not smart. At all. In fact, they’re completely dumb…

There are a few well known products out there. Let’s take Phillips Hue lights, and the Amazon Echo as an example. Yes, you can control your lights from an app. You can also link them together so that you can control your lights with a voice command — “Alexa, turn on the lights”. Great, you might think. And yea, it’s fun the first couple of times to pretend you’re in a sci-fi movie and turn your lights various colours by talking to a speaker, but in the end — who wants to be doing that on a regular basis? And who wants to be opening the app just to dim the lights? And what happens when someone turns them off at the light switch — the whole thing falls apart.

I thought the whole point of a “Smart” home was that you wouldn’t need to do any of this stuff. The lights should come on automatically when you want them to. The house should know when to dim the lights.

Ok, so this is all possible. Kind of. But it isn’t straight forward and it’s certainly not in reach for most consumers. It requires some thought, research, time and potentially programming ability. So that’s the essence of this “blog”. I’m going to try and breakdown what i’ve learnt and how you too can be a geek like me.

First i’m going to explain some Home Automation basics. Then i’m going to go through the devices I have and why I chose the ones I did (balancing good results with a finite budget). Finally i’ll try and describe how to get everything working together nicely!

Rob StokesComment