Making our house into a Smart Home is a long term project, so it's a good idea to have a plan! Now, keep in mind that this plan is likely going to have to change over time. I'll likely make mistakes and have to change course. New technologies may emerge that I want to embrace, and of course technologies that we start out with might be obsoleted along the way.
Our house has a living room, kitchen, five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and of course the entrance hallway, stairs and landings (one ground floor and two levels). Below is my plan for the four key areas I envisage at the outset.
The plan is to install smart lighting in most rooms of the house. The exceptions will probably be the bathrooms.
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.
I'll use Philips Hue Wireless Light switches (predominantly the 'Tap' switch) to make controlling the lighting easier. I'll also use Philips Hue motion sensors where it makes sense to do so.
Later, I'll look at also comparing other systems, including looking at DIY options.
STATUS: Philips Hue Bulbs: 6 in main living room, 1 x Hue Tap Switch. Master Bedroom: 1 bulb in a table lamp on each side of the main bed. Hue Tap Switch here too.
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'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: Not started
Heating & AC
Smart heating is very much on the agenda. I'd love a system that can intelligently adapt to our heating needs on a regular basis, and knows when people are home, and when they're away.
This would hopefully include individual room control for every room in the house (possibly excluding bathrooms), incorporating smart Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) where available.
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 current mechanism for controlling the heating is 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: Not started
I plan to install a good sound system with 'follow me' music and whole house functionality.
That's likely to start in the living room, where the sound system and amp connected to our TV is presently very old, and on the way out! I'd like to continue by adding components to our master bedroom and kitchen at the very least.
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, 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. I'd also envisage using some sort of 'universal remote' to control multiple elements of our smart home setup.
I'd like to consider different voice-control systems. Maybe Amazon Alexa, Google Home or some other system. I'd also like to see what I can do with voice assistants on Smart Phones like Siri, Cortana etc.
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'.
I'll plan to look at different control methods like IFTTT, SmartThings, Vera, and others to find the best way to monitor, control and automate the house.
STATUS: Amazon Echo Dot installed in the Living room