Simple is not the edge that cuts. It is the edge that helps you achieve your goals. Automation can be simple. It can also be the razors edge. If you make one misstep, you are cut. The misstep now has to do with the many protocols that are still wandering around. Way too many home automation systems today. The same by the way is true in the world of building automation, too many systems that don’t talk to each other. But building automation has a budget that can be used (year over year cost savings) that allows you to spend more short run to automate because you are saving so much long run. Home automation can’t do that. The savings just aren’t that huge.
There is a missing story here. First off the concept that I have beaten to death according to a couple of readers (Continuation) where what you are doing moves with you. The other story is what you want to automate. Making life a little easier is the goal of my home automation project. Help me do what I want to do in less time. So, listening to music, automating that via using Sonos and Amazon Echo makes the process easy. In my office I simply say “Alexa play classical music” and the Amazon Echo speaker takes over. In the rest of the house I can play classical music on the Sonos system and choose what rooms in the house get filled with sound.
Music was the easy one. (if you live in the Maryland area, ping me and I will connect you with the great team that can do this, fast and well they are amazing). Home security was pretty straight forward as well. Integrating home video security didn’t take the team long. It means I can quickly see what is outside my home, at my front door and inside my home. I can do this from one portable device, and I can be anywhere in the world. Motion is detected and recorded. In the world of video surveillance systems why are there still home robberies? It would seem to me that burglars would avoid homes with security systems because they most likely have video as well.
If you are going to start automating you should also consider what your goal is. I would personally if I were starting right now today would start with door locks. Automate your locks both for opening but also in case you forget to lock the door. Auto locking doors are a great way to solve the teenager forgetting to lock the door problem. Then I would automate your garage door, why? That way when you leave for vacation you can shut the garage door you forgot to shut when you are 30 miles away from home and remember you forgot to shut the door in the rush to get out of the house.
the journey of a 1000 automations just takes the first one done and working. The rest slowly start to fit into the process. You can automate as quickly or as slowly as you want to, its your project. Buildings have to be done in a certain order, the first project requiring that the 2nd and 3rd projects get added. The value of automating elevators is as much making it easier for people to get to floors as it does to manage the lighting and air conditioning of the building. Empty floors don’t need to be as warm in the winter as full floors do, but full floors don’t require the same amount of heating as 1/2 full floors and so on. Lights can be shut off in all empty offices and sections of floors.
Smart homes are here. They will continue to get smarter. They will continue to get easier. But the protocol issue has to be fixed first. Zigbe, Zwave and others have to agree to communicate. The current Cool Hand Luke approach (What we have here is a failure to communicate) won’t cut it going forward. Home automation projects that today start small and build, will be replaced by larger automation projects that are built into the house itself. Those will require one protocol in order to centralize control.
Home automation fixes that terrible realization two towns away form home that you left the iron on, the garage door open and all the upstairs lights on. It sadly will not fix the other travel problems like forgetting the tickets, passports and the luggage. Those are problem you will have to solve without home automation!