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Author Topic: Looking for Home Automation Ideas  (Read 6581 times)

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Offline fuadar

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Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« on: June 26, 2014, 09:18:33 pm »
I'm buying a new Home and looking for Home Automation Ideas.
I'm a Almond+ backer but was wondering what would  i really need for  complete automation
1. If i buy smarthings sensors do i need the smartthings hub ?
2. If i buy Phillips Hue Bulbs do i need the hue base ?
3. What should i buy for Home security ?
4. I've already got nest and nest protect
5. Garage/Door solutions. Which one m,akes sense to combine both traditional and automation.
I'm trying to get a very defined solution to figure out how much hardware will i need to get automation  working
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 09:21:29 pm by fuadar »

Offline eldaria

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2014, 02:27:55 am »
I'm buying a new Home and looking for Home Automation Ideas.
I'm a Almond+ backer but was wondering what would  i really need for  complete automation
I'm trying to get a very defined solution to figure out how much hardware will i need to get automation  working

Not a small project.  ;) But well you asked in the right place.
So first we need to define what you think is home automation, because we all have different needs and visions, this is also why there are so many different solutions.
I would say that there are many products for Home Remote Control and Monitoring, not so many for Home Automation, and even less for Smart Homes.

A lot of companies talk about Smart Homes but then sell a product that is basically a "I can turn on and off one or more the lights with my phone", now this to me is not Home Automation, and certainly not a Smart Home.

Basically Home Automation to me is when for example light turns on when you enter a room and off when you exit, there is no action from you side, no app, no buttons. Or when the blinds go up or down a certain times.

Now a Smart Home goes further, by having sensors all over the house it can take complex decisions based on patter or multiple events and even automatically learn your behavior and take "intelligent" decisions.
For example receive weather data and forecasts, and together with known patterns of when someone is home it will adjust the heating and cooling of the house.
Or by sensing that there is smoke or heat in the house, depending on where, how much, it will evaluate what actions to take, so for example if someone is home and the stove is being used, it will ask you with voice if there is a situation or if is a false alarm. Or if it is in the middle of the night it know you are home, and sleeping, it detects a small amount of smoke in the livingroom, so it will now turn off the electricity to that room and turn on emergency LED lights, alert the house of the danger. If the smoke level rise it will open windows for ventilation, indicate with LED what are the safest escape route.
Or if it detects a drop in pressure in the water line and no tap has been activated it will turn of the water on the main to prevent a leak from causing damages.

Well you get the idea, Currently the Almond+ can do Home Remote Control and Monitoring(to some degree), hopefully it should grow to be at least Home Automation, and further down the line it can do Smart Home

So to your more specific questions.
Quote
1. If i buy Smarthings sensors do i need the smartthings hub ?
Probably not. From what I can see Smartthings uses Z-Wave so in theory the Almond+ should be able to talk directly to the sensors and not need the hub, although have a look at the sensors page on the Wiki to see what devices has been confirmed to work. If you do test something let us know if it works or not. right now there seems to be one device listed.
http://wiki.securifi.com/index.php?title=List_of_compatible_sensors_-_Almond%2B_2014

Quote
2. If i buy Phillips Hue Bulbs do i need the hue base ?
Yes, The Philips Hue system uses Zigbee Light Link, and the Almond+ use ZigBee Home Automation. So although they are both ZigBee, they speak different languages.
Currently I do not think the Almond+ can talk to the Philips Hue system, but I'm quite sure this is something that will work later.

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3. What should i buy for Home security ?
What you want. :-)
Well there are two levels of security, look a bot on this forum it has been discussed before.
But think Shell protection, that is sensors on outer doors and windows. Can be active also when you are home and maybe sleeping.
And interior protection, that is IR sensors and such inside the house, are active when not at home.

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4. I've already got nest and nest protect
Cool, Right now I don't think Nest released the API so not sure Almond+ can talk to them but I suppose it will come. I heard at lest the Nest thermostat has been hacked with custom firmware so if they do not release a full API then this will be a way.

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5. Garage/Door solutions. Which one makes sense to combine both traditional and automation.
I will leave this one for someone else to answer as this is not something I have looked into.

Offline fuadar

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2014, 10:32:23 am »
Thank you and Awesome Answers.
I'd like to start small  but ensure i'm designing with the future in mine. Which is why  i backed Almond + and hope  should recieve it shortly with sensors.
So in Effect if i go with Hue as my lighting system i need the starter kit and base.
for Doors it seems Like qwikset might be a good bet to match traditional and automation and it works with smarthings.
http://www.kwikset.com/products/details/electronic-locks/912tnl-trl-zw-11p-smt.aspx
My whole point is automation with security and simplicity in mind.
I'm thinking smartthings/almond+/Hue/dropcam/nest  as the complete combination to start out home automation/security
Is this the combination most popular or should i tweak something ?

Offline eldaria

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2014, 12:03:55 pm »
If you are a backer head over to the Introduce yourself forum and say hello. Then someone from Securifi will make sure you get your backer Forum badge. ;-)

I have a Yale Doorman lock, unfortunately it does not talk Zigbee or Z-Wave, i'm hoping the will release a Z-Wave module here in Europe like the American Yale locks have, or even better a Zigbee module. I will then see if I can make it work with the Almond+.

Dropcam, I read a bit about them, but from what I understood they are quite expensive not only to buy but also to own as the require a subscription?

I would advice you to start small and not spend to much money to begin with, test the waters so to speak. Personally I have a few motion sensors, some door/window sensors some water sensors and I also converted a water sensor to a hidden door sensor, that is in another thread.
I plan on expanding, but i'm waiting a bit to see what the Almond+ will get in terms of Home Automation software.

Offline fuadar

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2014, 12:35:14 pm »
Thanks Excellent Ideas.
I am going to start small

LGNilsson

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2014, 12:39:52 pm »
Our longer term goal is to add support for Nest, although as of right now, we're still waiting for API access as far as I'm aware, as well as support for the Hue, but in this case, the base station will still be needed since Philips decided to use ZigBee Light Link rather than Home Automation. There are some ZigBee HA bulbs in the market, Osram has a model which is on sale at Lowe's if you're in the US and it works really well with the Almond+ and it's cheaper than the Hue bulbs, however, it's a downlight only.

As for Smartthings sensors, their Z-Wave devices aren't really that well priced, we'd suggest you have a look at Amazon or even Monoprice for some more affordable options - http://www.monoprice.com/Category?c_id=109&cp_id=10918&cs_id=1091804
We already have support for most of the Monoprice sensors and will have support for all of them shortly.

Offline fuadar

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2014, 02:48:30 pm »
are you planning any IFTTT integration then.
if nest is added and works with nest partners increase. it could be a good way to centralize to few hubs

LGNilsson

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2014, 03:59:20 pm »
It's something we're looking into, but it'll be a few months before that would be anywhere near ready.

Offline ehimawan

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2014, 10:38:50 pm »
Regarding the Door Solution, I use Danalock (http://www.poly-control.com/).

It can be operated in traditional way using regular keys. On the automation side, it works with A+ via Z-Wave, and works with Android/iOS apps via bluetooth.

I bought this lock for its autolock feature. The autolock automatically unlocks the door, when it detects the bluetooth from my iPhone is approaching.



Offline Pestus

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2014, 08:30:44 pm »
Fuadar,

If your home is large enough, consider a traditional alarm system as the main driver of your security sensors.  They are cheaper, more reliable, and give you more options relating to arming states and whatnot.  Having a gateway that has a driver for a particular alarm is a necessity.  Finding the hardware, and learning how to install it can be another challenge.

Since I'm a security professional in the industry, I obviously have the interests of that industry in mind.  My bias is as plain as can be.  However, I also know that if your security merely boils down to a notification noise on a cell phone, Murphy's law dictates it won't do it's job when it's truly needed.  That's been true since the old days, where people had systems dial gibberish to pagers instead of paying for a monitoring company.  If you are out of cell phone range, in a loud place where you cant hear it, or are otherwise indisposed, it's not any good.  There is a reason why home insurance companies give discounts for professional monitoring.

My suggestion is find an honest and local small dealer who can help you put the basics together.  After which time, you can do all the magic you'd want to as with automation afterwards.

For example, this is a very reliable and feature rich configuration that I use for clients;

DSC PC1832 (expandable 8 zone panel, with wired and wireless components)
Envisalink 3DS IP Transmitter (Can handle professional monitoring without a phone line if you believe in that, and offers an API that allows automation gateway integration)
VeraLite or Vera3 (A competitor gateway to the Almond+ I know, but until drivers for alarms come about, they can't truly be considered security devices in my opinion.  Sorry Securifi, I am still a fan of what you guys are doing!!)
UPS (Good in any situation where network stability, power outage coverage, etc are needed.  Back up your gateway, modem, router)

GL and feel free to send me a line if you need more info.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2014, 08:40:41 pm by Pestus »

Offline eldaria

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2014, 03:12:33 am »
Well I can only talk from personal experience, and in my opinion having your home security alarm hooked to some company who then sends someone out, is a rip-off.
They are usually not close by, and before they come to your house the burglars are long gone, some claim that the also monitor if your fire alarm goes so they can alert the fire department.
Well this is true with modification, I spoke with the company who back then monitored my home security system after an incident, and this is what will happen if your fire alarm goes of while you are not at home.

- They will call you, and anyone else you have listed as contacts.
- If they can't reach anyone or you tell them you are not at home, then they will send someone to check.
- Depending on the distance you are from the closest security center it can take a while, in my case it took them 2 hours to get to my house.
- Now if there is indeed a fire they will call the fire department now.
- If they can't identify a fire, they will make an external inspection since they do not have the key with them.
- If they can't get the alarm to stop they will now o and get the key.

Well as you can guess, if there was a situation your house would already have burnt down, the process is similar for any reason the alarm goes off.

I can see in certain situations that having a central monitoring in place can be an advantage, but I can honestly say that the best system is good contact with your neighbors.
- Instead of having your alarms system calling a monitoring central. Have it call and SMS 6 different neighbours, and if it can send e-mail then even more people, make sure to include people who are often at home, working from home, know everybody in the neighborhood, are pensioners, etc To increase the chance that either someone is home or know someone who is home and can ask them to go and have a look what is going on.

Offline Pestus

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Re: Looking for Home Automation Ideas
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2014, 03:38:24 am »
Quote
Well I can only talk from personal experience, and in my opinion having your home security alarm hooked to some company who then sends someone out, is a rip-off.

I'm sorry to hear of this experience.  It is entirely true that quality of monitoring companies, dispatch centers, and police/fire departments are hit and miss.  If even one of these services isn't up to the task, then it's only of value in the commercial sphere, and not as much for residences.  I've also heard of such horror stories, but I find they are the exception to the rule.  Also the only ones you tend to hear about unfortunately, since failures make waves more than routine every day experiences.  If I was a consumer, I also would never do any business with a large company in this industry.  They can be exorbitant, and like most large companies, tend to be faceless and uncompromising. Small guys tend to give something back for what you're paying..  As in legit support, and real service.  They also tend to be much more affordable.  If more of them got their act together, they'd actually be a real boon to the home automation market.

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Well this is true with modification, I spoke with the company who back then monitored my home security system after an incident, and this is what will happen if your fire alarm goes of while you are not at home.

- They will call you, and anyone else you have listed as contacts.
- If they can't reach anyone or you tell them you are not at home, then they will send someone to check.
- Depending on the distance you are from the closest security center it can take a while, in my case it took them 2 hours to get to my house.
- Now if there is indeed a fire they will call the fire department now.
- If they can't identify a fire, they will make an external inspection since they do not have the key with them.
- If they can't get the alarm to stop they will now o and get the key.

These are what is known as "action plans" in monitoring company automation software.  Any signal received will be put through a process where calls are made or things happen via pre determined script.  Most of the time these are available to change, but most customers don't ask for it, and large companies don't enjoy doing anything individualized.  For example, I wouldn't tolerate a fire signal not being dispatched quickly either...  That's serious business...  If no one answers at home, they dispatch plain and simple.  I take your comments to also reflect the unfortunate truth of the trade;  not all companies are created equal.

Quote
I can see in certain situations that having a central monitoring in place can be an advantage, but I can honestly say that the best system is good contact with your neighbors.

This I agree with wholeheartedly.  Security is at the core a state of awareness.  I'd go so far as to say not to bother with the nifty Zwave or Zigbee lock, if the bolt is held to the frame by pencil thin pine wood...  It's a convenient toy to keep the honest people out...   Merely picking up the mail and not letting it build up is probably more effective than almost anything.  Any physical, electronic measures are cumulative on top of what ought to be common sense.

Quote
Instead of having your alarms system calling a monitoring central. Have it call and SMS 6 different neighbours, and if it can send e-mail then even more people, make sure to include people who are often at home, working from home, know everybody in the neighborhood, are pensioners, etc To increase the chance that either someone is home or know someone who is home and can ask them to go and have a look what is going on.

This also makes sense, provided the scripts, people, and their computers are reliable.  It isn't as quick for real emergencies, as those people then have to make the decision to call 911 themselves, but it can be practically just as good for those that can accomplish this.  This is increasingly possible now that there's actual context to these messages, with customized notifications in various manners that automation systems and smart phones allow.  This not only threatens the traditional business models of some, but opens opportunities to others, who can leverage the change and provide a service to those who couldn't or wouldn't do it themselves.

Anyways this is probably in the wrong thread, so apologies for muddying the waters again.  I tend to do that  :o













 

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