Part of the process of designing Marvin is to carefully ensure that all devices within my home fit well into the ecosystem. I severely underestimated the time it would take to carefully plan out each part of my ecosystem.
I’ve started buying and implementing smart home / IoT devices over the last year or so. The devices were implemented with the idea that they will all be managed a central device / hub in the future. For a while, my hub of choice was the Wink Hub. But as smart home hubs evolved, SmartThings continued to get better. While Wink is a terrific hub, SmartThings allows for far more complex automation routines or even create your own SmartApp.
While the hub itself was a difficult choice, the other devices were not a whole lot simpler unfortunately. For one, I’ve been avoiding maintenance costs, as some devices have, like Nest Cams. Secondly, I tend to go for devices that support Windows devices as much as Android and iOS. Thirdly, the devices need to be user friendly enough that I would enjoy tinkering with it. Lastly, I try to choose devices that have mostly favorable reviews. For devices to meet all 4 requirements has been surprisingly difficult.
Have a look at my device list below. The list includes completed implementations, implementations in progress and planned future implementations. Beyond the ones I identified, I have been looking at suggests for other devices. Feel free to suggest some that you believe may help complete my ecosystem.
- Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat with 3 sensors
- I’ve had issues with my house being the wrong temperature. The remote sensors ensure that the room I am in is at the correct temperature
- Philips Hue (100% complete)
- Used for light fixtures without a wall switch
- Netgear Arlo cameras
- These cameras are perfect for what I needed, allowing me to detect sound or movement
- There is no fee to run these cameras, but plans are available to enable further functionality
- Wemo Smartplugs
- Used to automate some devices that require simple on and off capabilities.
- Denon AV
- Surround sound system that is setup as 2 zones – zone 1 downstairs and zone 2 upstairs
- The system is WiFi and Bluetooth capable, capable of being remotely controlled through a WiFi API
- Ooma VOIP Phone
- This falls under smart home because it allows for implementations that typical home phones do not allow, such as IFTTT
- Keen Home Smart Vent
- Works in tandem with Ecobee to determine where all the air should go, by closing vents that don’t expect air
Implementations in Progress:
- Mi-Light LED strip controllers (20% complete)
- 100m of RGBW LED strips
- Cut, soldered and adding to furniture and as house accents
- SmartThings Hub
- Used to communicate with all devices through ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, Wifi, etc
- Central location for automation scripts that would be triggered
- GlanceClock (Awaiting delivery, ETA Nov 2017)
- A great Indiegogo campaign that I funded on day 1, turning great looking clocks into smart clocks
- The clock has an array of LEDs and an LED display, allowing me to send notifications and build out automations
- Lutron Caseta light switches
- Allows full manual control of the lights, with dimming capability
- Lutron Shades
- Automations to automatically draw or close shades depending on time of day
- Help regulate the temperature throughout the day by managing the shades, based on time of year
- Kevo Locks
- Great for unlocking doors automatically without searching for keys
- Allows me to remote unlock or give temporary access to guests
- SmartThings GeoLocation tags
- This would be used to help identify who is coming home and help determine which automations to trigger
- SmartThings water sensors
- Water heaters could go at any time, often without warning. This would be more for piece of mind.
- First Alert Z-Wave Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Undetermined (and could use suggestions):
- Motion sensor
- I’m looking for motion sensors that either have a very long battery life or that can be easily (and discretely) powered / placed
- Door and window sensor
- I’ve gotten a few suggestions for the Fibaro Miniature Z-Wave door and window sensors. For the price, not sure it is worth it.
- Voice Controller
- I’m debating building one myself, not sure how the devices out there can be extended
- I’m also in Canada, which means that devices like Echo sadly do not work here
- Smart Doorbell
- Are these really worth it? How reliable can they be?
- Current ones look and feel bulky to me
- Exterior cameras
- Like my interior cameras, I am looking for ones that can be easy on the bank while offering me the flexibility that I need
- I’d need one in which I could tap into and eventually add facial recognition