Smart Home Roundup – 11 Opportunities To Learn More About Home Automation

The world of home automation is ever-changing. With a constantly evolving ecosystem of devices, hubs, sensors, and interfaces, changes are taking place daily. Whether you’re just starting out in smart home automation, or whether you’re doing custom device mods and setting up state machines in Node Red, there’s something on this smart home roundup for you. Here are 11 great opportunities to learn more about home automation:

For those who are just getting started

Making Your Own Smart Home Is Easier Than You Think

By Doug Roberson from Smarter Home Club

Are you looking in to smart home technology, but worried that it will be too complex to deal with? Let the Smarter Home Club put you at ease. This article takes a brief look back on the history of home automation (they even talk about The Clapper), and then makes the stark comparison with the simplicity of today’s devices.

If you’re considering embarking on the journey into home automation, definitely check this one out.

Planning Your Smart Home, Volume 2: Z-Wave

By Mike Salerno from IoTRant

Sometimes, when getting started with home automation, we’re tempted to rush out and buy the first kit that appeals to us. Mike Salerno encourages his readers to consider the options, understand the available technologies, and plan their system for best results.

This article discusses Z-Wave, a communication protocol that home automation devices use to communicate with each other and with your hub, voice assistant, or other control system. Click the link above to build your understanding of Z-Wave and for some considerations to make in the design of your smart home network.

For those who want to learn more

5 Smart Door Locks to Buy in 2019

By Kayla Matthews from Digitized House

Looking to enhance your front door with a smart lock? Here are 5 options from August, Schlage, Yale, Sesame, and Ultraloq to add both security smarts and convenience to your door. Learn how these smart locks can prevent you from fumbling with physical keys and also allow you to grant temporary access to a house sitter or delivery person from anywhere in the world.

Roomba i7+ vs Botvac D5 – Which is the Best Robot Vac?

By Justin Caldwell from All Home Robotics

You just enjoyed a nice dinner, the dishes are done, and now it’s time to head upstairs or relax on the couch for a while. Except, you realize that the kitchen floor needs swept. This is not what you feel like doing right now… If only there was someone or something to whom you could assign this task. 🤔

Oh, but wait. There is a little friend you can buy who will do this for you. Robotic vacuums have been on the market for many years, but continue to evolve. Many now link with Amazon Alexa or Google Home and can be scheduled at your convenience. Plus, you’ve got to see one of the vacuums in this article – it empties itself every time it goes to dock.

The Best Smart Mirrors For Your Smart Home

By Taylor from Intelligent Home Blog

Now here’s a technology that will really make you feel like the future has arrived. Smart TV mirrors blend elegantly into your home’s decor until called upon. A sure way to impress your guests, smart mirrors really seem like something out of Minority Report.

Smart Kitchen Technology

By Tim Brennan from One Smart Crib

From trash cans that open when asked, to microwaves that scan the bar code on your food and then cook to order, this article covers several technologies that are available to futurize your kitchen. Looking for the next best thing for your own kitchen, or maybe some gift ideas for your favorite chef or home automation enthusiast? Want a slow-cooker, coffee maker, or toaster that you can control with your phone? Better check this out.

Logitech Harmony Companion Review [and Comparison vs Smart Control]

By Erica Giovanni from Universal Remote Reviews

With the advent of the smart home, the concept of a “universal remote” has come a long way. Really, “universal” remotes of the past would be more accurately described as “home entertainment” remotes. The modern universal remote is worlds closer to achieving universality.

The new breed of universal remotes work with Alexa, operate your home automation devices like lights and thermostats, and can be controlled via an app on your cell phone or tablet. In the article linked above, Erica of Universal Remote Reviews pits the Logitech Harmony Companion remote against the Logitech Smart Control. Both of these remotes work with over 270,000 other devices.

For tinkerers

Smart Motion Sensor and Night Light – How To

By Travis Griggs from digiblurDIY

Want to up your technical skills? In this video, you can follow along as digiblurDIY modifies an off-the-shelf smart outlet to add a motion sensor. There’s even soldering involved! 😮

Pretty high tech stuff, but you can see the process for yourself from start to finish. After modifying the outlet physically, Travis walks you through the process of setting up the sensor and resulting action through the device’s interface. Definitely a great video for anyone interested in taking their tinkering to the next level.

Automating Dumb Devices with Node-Red and Home Assistant

By Brad from DIYFuturism

For another scenic stroll down DIY lane, check out DIY Futurism’s video on integrating “dumb” devices with your smart home. Brad throws a Tasmotized Sonoff POW on a fan and then uses his Broadlink RM to take over the IR signals for remote control.

With the hardware in place, DIY Futurism takes you through all of the scripting and state machine setup in Home Assistant and Node Red. It’s really eye-opening to see what you can do with these home automation technologies! If you’re ready to get serious with the control of your smart home, check out this article for a primer on how to use these advanced platforms.

For community

Five people bumping fists over a table with computers, coffee, notebooks, etc. This image was used on a smart home roundup under the heading, "For community."
Image credit

The Smarter Home Club On Facebook

Finding they had a shared interest in establishing a home automation group that would be a cut above, Doug Roberson and Kerry Clendinning started the Smarter Home Club in July 2018. A welcoming place, the community is intended for enthusiasts of all experience levels to share their questions, projects, and ideas. In addition to the group’s Facebook page and blog, there’s also a Discord server for the community which you can join here: https://discord.gg/QQzBDTA.

Whether you’re completely new to home automation, or whether you’re an experienced tinkerer, it’s always nice to connect with others who are in the same boat. The Smarter Home Club Group on Facebook is home to automation enthusiasts of every experience level, with tons of folks eager to help out when someone has a question.

My own two cents

What home automation roundup would be complete without an internal link? 😀

How To Inexpensively Convert Any Light Switch Into A Smart Switch

As I work to add home automation technology to my own house, I find myself wanting to emphasize the notion of automation. Maybe I’m ready to turn in for the night, but realize I’ve left some lights on. I want to be able to ask Alexa to “turn everything off downstairs” and have that situation handled for me from the comfort of my bedroom.

Now, there are some excellent smart light switches on the market. When you talk about automating your entire home, though, the cost can be pretty intimidating. Check out the link above to learn more about an inexpensive product that allows you to add smarts to any existing light switch. I go over what it is, what it does, and how to install it.

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