The Plan: What I use (March 2018)
I've been writing and posting videos about my Smart Home project for a while now. It will be a year in May. So, it's time to update the 'Plan' page, and share an update on how the project is generally going.
So, this is going to be one of those rare posts, where there's no accompanying video! I've become so used to making a video each time I post here, that it actually feels strange! Bear with me though, whilst I share my thoughts on how things are going.
First off, the primary reason for me to post this update, is because I've updated my 'The Plan' page to bring it up to date with how things are now in my home. It was looking a bit out of date, and so it was time to overhaul it.
To summarise that page a little, we're now using;
- Philips Hue for Smart Lighting in the Living Room, Kitchen, Master Bedroom and Outside.
- Sonos for Smart Entertainment in the Living Room and Kitchen
- Ring Pro for Smart Security as our video doorbell (smart intercom) with a Ring Chime in the Kitchen and Office, with a cloud recording subscription
- Tado as our Smart Heating controller, with the thermostat on the landing, and radiator thermostats in the Living room, Guest bedroom and Master bedroom
- An Amazon Echo Dot in the Living room
- A Samsung Smartthings Hub
Even summarising it like that, it sounds like a lot - but it doesn't feel like it.
That's because for the most part, the technology has sort of faded in the background in day to day use. This is actually what I expected. Smart Home technology should enhance your day to day living experience. It shouldn't have to get in-your-face in order to deliver that.
So, when we walk into a room with Hue lights and want to turn them on, we simply push a button on a Hue Tap switch. No different really than using a regular light switch. In the Kitchen we don't even need to do that - the Hue Motion sensor turns the lights on for us.
Tado controls our heating without any interaction required. Of course, if we want it warmer or cooler, adjusting the settings on our smart phones or asking Alexa is a lot easier than marching over to the boiler cabinet or getting up to tweak a 'standard' wall thermostat.
Indeed, pretty much everything we've installed so far has largely 'just worked'. For me, this demonstrates that Smart Home technology simply can't be categorised as fixing something that isn't broken, or overcomplicating something that was previously simple. Instead, it's the natural progression of technology. Lighting, heating, entertainment, security - all this stuff already is technology. Smart Home technology is simply better kit. That's something to celebrate.
Of course, the grand goal with Smart Home technology is automation, integration, and everything working together so you barely have to lift a finger. It's already possible to have that 'Star Trek' future of just speaking out loud that you want -for example- the lights to come on. However we can go even further and have a home where your needs are anticipated, and technology adapts to your requirements.
In this regard it feels like we're still only scratching the surface of what will ultimately be possible. Regardless, the plan continues. There are many more lights to be installed, rooms to be kitted out, radiator valves to fit - and of course, I'll continue to update you on my progress. I hope you'll continue to follow along with me!