I have been tinkering with bits and pieces of smart home technology for years, but it has been a slow and frustrating process. Currently my home boasts Nest thermostats and smoke detectors, a Google Home (with two mini’s in other parts of the house), some LIFX LED ribbon lights, a rather temperamental Kevo lock and, most recently, a Logitech Harmony Hub.
Interoperability is a big buzz word in the marketplace, but even with my rather modest setup, getting smart devices to be… well, actually smart with each other has been a struggle.
Petulant may not be entirely correct, maybe Selfish might be a better term?
To me it always seems like there is a lot of “I won’t get there from here.” IoT products tend towards siloed verticals with an incomplete patchwork of interconnections.
Some quick Internet research on smart device support forums are full of people with frustrations. Many times this stems from an initial purchase of one tech item, say a voice assistant, or maybe a smart phone controlled light. Then more and more tech gets added to the mix, but when you want to connect this with that, you find a dead end. As you are left switching between a zillion different apps to do what you want, you are left asking, “How is this smart?”
My advice is it is all about the research. Just as any business would, you need to hammer out what you want your smart home to do for you, then have a look at the ecosystem of IoT devices (that talk well together) and start phasing your tech in. There are robust platforms like Smartthings and Home Assistant (Hass.io) that support a veritable plethora of products, and can provide a “one view, control everything” interface (if that is your goal).
If you are just getting your toes wet, Google Assistant, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod can offer some interesting connections to other products; all with voice control. Just don’t expect these assistants to chat much with each other.
Phase in slowly and be prepared for the odd square peg that won’t fit your solution.
If you would like to discuss how IoT devices could fit into your solution, send me a note on my contact us page.
PS. I didn’t even get to IFTTT (If This Then That), a platform that allows you to use services and actions from various platforms and create some truly interesting applets. Think of it a bit like DIY programming your smart house, making certain actions happen based on certain conditions. For example, you could tell Alexa that it is “Movie Time;” and your TV turns on, the den lights dim and your AV receiver is set to surround sound. The trick is making sure all the pieces can talk and/or listen to IFTTT.