So I’ve been thinking more about home automation lately – which in itself is a bit comical because apparently the last time I wrote about it was a year and a half ago – but nonetheless I think that it’s going to become a project of mine for this year, at least from an introductory perspective.
The thing that I’ve learned the most so far is that, simply put, there’s a lot to take in, and I’m seeing at least the potential for the same conflicts we’ve seen with audio and video where different companies have their own formats and aren’t necessarily eager to work together. And I hope that’s not the case because a big part of this for me is really going to be getting all of these various things to do that as much as possible…
…though I’m entertaining the idea that if everything is controlled via an iPad and different functions have their own apps, maybe that would be ok.
I think that comes much later, though. For now I think my best approach is to narrow down just a couple areas of focus – primarily ones that offer some real function to my home and not just ones that sound neat, but admittedly I’m not really lacking or anything.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the traditional lights because although having the ability to change colors and put on light shows and all of that sounds cool, at $50/bulb the cost is just ridiculous with very little objective value. Plus I’m not entirely sure that it makes sense to have “connected bulbs” that burn out in favor of switches that control many lights, as is the case with most of the rooms in my house.
Still, I have a shelf up high that spans the main wall in our living room which we decorated with lit up garland for the holidays and we kind of grew accustomed to the ambient light when the house was otherwise dark, so I thought this might be a good trial to run a strand or two of LED strip lights along the top that can be controlled remotely.
This is a simple one. I’ve got three kids now and thus I almost never come through the front door with nothing in my hands, so just like I’ve loved not having to dig out my car keys to open the door anymore, now seems like the time to introduce that same technology to the house as well.
I’ve tried a couple of floating sensors from Home Depot over the years and frankly, none have lasted more than a couple of months tops. But I think that it would be really useful to be able to compare air temp and the actual water temp in our pool to gauge if taking an afternoon dip is realistic or not.
Three fairly simple tasks – I think. Two of which should just be configuring products out of the box, with the pool thermometer possibly needing some creative fabrication to make an underwater sensor where others in the past have failed. But I think all of these are reasonable, and more importantly, each would serve a worthwhile role to help really sell me on the other stuff that seems cool, but might not be as instantly beneficial as not having to fumble for my keys when I’m trying to get kids and groceries through the door! 🙂
Because in everything that I’ve looked at so far, there is a bunch of neat stuff out there to pick up – a Nest thermostat, the indoor and outdoor cameras for security, fancy smoke detectors that run for 4x what regular ones do, and maybe even one of these Amazon Echo discs to control everything via voice command … if we can prevent Alexa from rattling off porn phrases, anyways!
Of course, the other side is that this stuff isn’t exactly cheap and although I’d like to think that a well-designed system might help to raise our home value when we’re ready to sell in a couple of years, it’s definitely something that will need to be done in phases rather than just going wild with an Amazon order and getting a box of robots in the mail two days later! It should be fun, though, and I’ll plan on writing more about it once I’m able to start picking a few of these things up later on this spring.