This weekend I went down a deep rabbit hole with home automation. It started with me receiving my Amazon Echo, researching creative ways to use Alexa to its full potential, and it ended with me nearly registering for Raspberry Pi development courses online. (FYI: I didn’t register, so if you know even the basics of Raspberry Pi or other SBC hit me up!)
Building a smart home is not about turning lights on/off via an app but, its creating systems and formulas to customize controls to fit your lifestyle.
Ah, logic and the beauty of functions “if this, then that”. The reason why your future home will be way better than anything you can think of is because of its flexibility and customization.
Example: If you have a new born baby and count your blessing every second it is asleep this function would be perfect.”If someone rings the door bell after 8pm, then send a text message instead of ringing” this would be a simple IFTTT that could be created within 2min.
“Alexa, Let’s Party!” This IFTTT could simultaneously turn on a selected music playlist, change the color of the lights, turn on a disco ball, and turn down the air conditioner.
IFTTT is a fairly basic and user friendly app and the future of this type of logic app will exponentially expand the power of customizing technology in our homes.
Security cameras, motion sensor lights, and motion detectors have been around for decades. What might surprise you is if you thought you were vulnerable without smart devices, you may be worse off with them.
It is extremely easy for hackers to hack smart devices and enter a home with ease, just like a trained locksmith could enter any home he pleased right now.
This is where my Raspberry Pi rabbit hole began because there are ways to connect your smart devices to a TOR essentially making them undetectable from anyone including hackers.
I’ve talked about how the “Smart Home” is in its Wild West Stage in previous post.. but WOW was that an understatement.
Heres an example of how primitive the industry is.. I want to turn my fireplace on by saying “Alexa, Turn on my fireplace” my fireplace is controlled by a normal single pole switch. However the wires ran to the single pole are low voltage from a thermocouple. Most smart switches need 120v to operate, since Amazon Echo is only compatible with a select few products I could only use the WeMo Maker which is pretty much a relay with WIFI signal. The tricky part is feeding the WeMo Maker with 120v power, so I would either have to fish wires from the closest outlet and use a USB converter, or run a charger in plain sight.
Tip: before buying any type of smart light switch make sure you have a neutral in your switch box!
The homeowners who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do some research can live a life filled with security, data, convenience, and energy savings for their home. Those who don’t will end up paying expensive monthly fees with limited customization.