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Is Home Automation Really What We Thought?

FlubWubJub

Active Member
I've recently embarked on my Smart Home/Home Automation journey after a few failed attempts over the last few years (pre-homekit/WeMo/etc), and i'm amazed to see here in the UK that it's still so difficult to create a smart, automated home.

I'm a huge Apple fan, and as such i'm really interested in the potential of HomeKit. However, even this has been disappointing so far.

Then we've got the competing platforms, like SmartThings, which are great, but of course start tie-ing you in to one platform (or limited options for expansion in future).

But i think what most annoys me right now is that companies seem to think everybody wants sensors - Air quality sensors, temp sensors, motion sensors... Yes they're great for some applications but there are far better ways to improve the home.
I've lived without an Air Quality Sensor all my life, but yet 'the industry' seems to think this is what i now need.

How about a 'smart' bath - i set the temp, set the water level, and away it goes... notification when filled.
Or maybe a 'smart' coffee machine/kettle (please don't link to the iKettle - it's horrendous).

Lighting is of course a big player in recent times with the likes of Phillips Hue, but why haven't we got a decent selection of Light switches? Instead of changing all the bulbs, why can't i just have a 'smart' light switch - they seem to exist in the States, but not here in UK.

What i'm getting at is generally speaking i'm really disappointed so far in the efforts to push the Automated Home.
It seems if you want a good setup you're forced in to some kind of DIY system, comprising of many Open Source projects (or just plain hacks) to get things working... For example, i currently have a WeMo switch on my desk which will be going home to link in to my HomeBridge setup so i can use it with Siri etc.... we should be further along than this!

Thoughts?
 

blicky_1

Well-known Member
I get where you are coming from however things are out there but information is not always readily available, for instance the 'smart bath' as you put it is out there as I have seen one, as for other things the likes of X10 (or Z-Wave as I now use) have been doing it for years but it just seems to be a hobby type thing, i'm sure things will change now with the likes of nest/hive and other equipment is pushed onto the domestic market :smashin:
 
I dont see there being a big issue we use Fibaro/Zwave and seems to do everything you want including boiling the kettle (though does have to be an ikettle).

Integrating the iKettle (and Sonos) on a Fibaro Home Center 2 - Fibaro UK

You can pick your own Light Switches as the modules go "behind" a standard light switch so very little limitation on style.

Using a Fibaro relay for the taps and a universal sensor with water and temperature sensor you can have the auto fill bath relatively easily
 

FlubWubJub

Active Member
i'm not sure my original post came across correctly... what i'm trying to say is that i know all these things exist, and that i can make things 'smart' or 'automated' by combining different options, but we really shouldn't need to...

for me, it needs to be brought out of the 'hobby' stage and in to the mass market.
For guys like us, who like 'tinkering' and who like technology etc it's great to setup, but there's a whole market of people that want 'plug and play' without having to research what works with what.

Picture a setup...
I want HomeKit enabled devices.
Lighting = Phillips Hue
Thermostat = Tado/Ecobee
Sockets = Insteon Hub Pro combined with standard Insteon Sockets

Even that basic setup requires 2x different hubs and 3x different brands.

Imagine if each TV Broadcaster required you have a different dish/box to another.
That's where we need to be, where all options are available in one central 'hub' or service - or at least so different brands can talk to each other - but with mass market appeal - i.e. Easy to setup, plug and play system.
 
Not sure why the manufacturers would make all the parts interchangable.

If i buy a Toyota car i dont expect a Ford engine to fit, not sure your TV analogy works as if you want BT, SKY and Freeview you do need 3 different boxes.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Air quality monitoring is useless unless you know what it is monitoring and can interpret the results.
The purpose of air quality monitoring in home automation is to make more money.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Patience young Skywalker!

The development in this area is rampant right now. You don't want people to rush products through and then end up with a house full of gadg needing firmware updates every 5 minutes, and hardly anything wants to co-exist. Of course you can have what you want right now, it's just not for the every day Joe to install unfortunately.

I think a lot of this depends on what you want to achieve. There's plenty of stuff out there now, getting them integrated into a single easy-to-use cohesive system is entirely another, and that's where the pros get involved.
 
With home automation I think the best place to start is what you want to achieve and not finding products first and then trying to integrate them . That way madness lies
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
In my mind home automation is the bringing together of a series of autonomous systems. You get a CCTV system that is good at CCTV, you go to a lighting manufacturer who is good at lighting, you get a decent audio system a decent HDMI matrix, you get TVs from your preferred TV brand. All these things work in their own right and are the most suitable choice of hardware for your specific requirement. Then, you get a home automation system. It is a controller that has drivers to interface with all of these other systems, the home automation system brings together the lighting scene, the CCTV picture, the alarm status, the audio feed, the TV channel, and puts them all onto a single easy-to-use interface bespoke made to your requirements.

Be careful when you ask for generic wishy washy jack of all master of none hardware in case that's exactly what you get....
 

illingworth22

Active Member
I know where the OP is coming from, it is 2015 and I guess as a 52 year old who had home made automated (cord and string running across my bedroom floor to my bed) curtains and a Sonos style music system (lots of speakers plugged into my trusted Cassette Recorder) when he was in his Teens I just figured that we would have all this tech right now.

I am on my second house of home automation and this time all I have is Rako Wired system for all the lighting Nest for my Smoke and CO2 and Nest (coming next month) for the heating. I am fortunate to live in a Bungalow so the access is easy for additional wiring.

But like you say, if you want to walk up the drive and have a system open the front door lock, switch on the lights if it is dark, knock up the heating turn on the TV, Set Top Box it's not that simple.

Well at least my iKettle switches on when I pull in the drive ;)..... I know coz I can hear the bloody thing boiling 20 miles away!
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
Almost any automation controller can do what you describe. Expecting all these simple devices to be able to do task management between themselves is never going to happen, something has to "control"
 

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