Making our house into a Smart Home is a long term project, so it's a good idea to have a plan! This plan will change over time of course, and the below is probably not the same 'plan' I started out with! I'll likely make mistakes along the way and have to change course. New technologies may emerge that I want to try, and of course technologies that we start out with might be obsoleted as we progress.
Our house has a living room, kitchen, five bedrooms (one of which is used as an Office), two bathrooms, and of course the entrance hallway, stairs and landings (one ground floor and two levels). Below is my plan for the five key areas I consider important in Smart Home Technology.
The plan is to install smart lighting in most rooms of the house, including outdoors. We may ignore the bathrooms, but we'll see how things progress.
I'll be doing this using Philips Hue (see my post on Starting Smart Lighting). Replacing at least all the bulbs in most rooms and areas of the house. In some locations I may use their integrated light fittings and lamps. I will likely also add light strips in some locations.
Later, I'll look at also comparing other systems, including looking at DIY options such as Z-Wave modules.
STATUS: Living Room: All lights here are now Hue, with a Hue Tap switch for control. Kitchen: Hue LED Strips above and below cabinets on one side of the room, Additional Hue Bulb as an 'uplighter' over our boiler cabinet. Tap switch and Hue Motion sensor for control. Master Bedroom: Table lamps either side of bed have a Hue Bulb. Tap switch by door, and another over the bed for control. Outside: One Hue bulb in an outdoor enclosure by the front door, two more by the garage.
The initial plan here focuses on cameras. I'll install components like smart doorbells with integrated 'intercom' style functionality. I'll possibly add a mechanism for releasing the side-gate to the property.
I'm already using the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. I'll also want to look at the Nest products, including their cameras and smoke detectors.
I'll also add other cameras that link to smart-phones and cloud recording systems in places where we want the added security.
Smart Door locks? Not sure yet. I haven't decided whether this is something we want to deploy, but it's something I might evaluate in the fullness of time.
STATUS: Ring Video Doorbell Pro installed (hardwired). Ring Chime Pro installed in the Kitchen. Standard Ring Chime installed in the top floor office/den. Cloud recording subscription active.
This should include individual room control for every room in the house (possibly excluding bathrooms), incorporating smart Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs).
I'd prefer to avoid major surgery if at all possible, but some DIY to fit this may be necessary. Our heating system is gas fired hot water central heating, with a combi boiler. The old method for controlling the heating was a simple seven day timer.
Should we ever acquire an air conditioner for any of the rooms in the house, I'd also like to be able to control that using a smart system too.
STATUS: Tado now installed. Extension kit fitted to boiler to replace old timer. Main Tado thermostat currently installed on the first floor landing (may move in future). Tado radiator controllers instaled on both radiators in the front room, one in the main guest bedroom, and one for the radiator in the master bedroom.
I plan to install a good sound system with 'follow me' music and whole house functionality. We have begun using Sonos.
The living room of course should have smart entertainment, as should other 'standard' living areas like the Kitchen, master bedroom, and Office. We may install additional speakers as required to provide 'whole house' coverage for music.
The ability to link the sound system up with other smart components in our house would be a plus.
STATUS: Sonos Playbar in the Living room connected to our TV, Sonos Play:1 in the Kitchen
Of course, controlling our smart home is very important, and this is where it's key to ensure I'm not tied to just smart phone apps.
As mentioned above, for lighting I'd like to use smart light switches and motion sensors. In future we may add additional 'remote control' functionality.
I'd like to consider different voice-control systems. We already have one Amazon Echo Dot. Future expansion here may involve more Echo devices, but also Sonos One speakers which incorporate voice control capability from both Amazon (Alexa), and Google (functionality expected in 2018).
Linking things together is a must too - integration to deliver automation is important. The best smart homes don't require much button pushing - they just 'react' in the way you want them to. That comes about through a bit of setup work, or through 'learning'.
STATUS: Amazon Echo Dot installed in the Living room. IFTTT in some limited use. Samsung Smartthings Hub installed.