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"Smart Home"....How Far Have You Taken It? Which Platform?


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I tried to do a search but couldn't find this topic.....I could be wrong.
It has happened before.

Personally, I use Google Home and have included quite a bit.

Google Nest Max in kitchen
Google Nest in Den
Chromecast for Den TV
Paired speakers in the Den.
Hue lighting outside and in Living Room, Den, Kitchen, & Dining Room
Nest doorbell
Honeywell thermostat
Hubs in all bedrooms and bathrooms

How do you like it and have you run into any problems?
Do you use all of the features available to you?

Edited by Opie
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Heavily invested in SmartThings for several years. Close to a couple hundred devices.  Thankfully all are Zigbee or Zwave so I can port them to other hubs if needed. The SmartThings platform has gone through a lot over the years but has been pretty solid the last 3-4 years under Samsung ownership.  Unfortunately, it is still the most flexible platform on the market. But there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of the platform now. Samsung has stopped manufacturing hubs and devices and is deprecating older hubs.

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Wyze cams around the house directed at points of entry and 4 Geeni smart plugs. This is as much as I ever want. Not a big fan of IoT mostly due to massive security issues.

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

Wyze cams around the house directed at points of entry and 4 Geeni smart plugs. This is as much as I ever want. Not a big fan of IoT mostly due to massive security issues.

Other than the Nest Max in the Kitchen, the one thing I haven't incorporated is, indoor cameras.
It's just something that I don't think that I need.

I guess that I don't "need" any of it....but I like it!
The best addition (IMO) was the thermostat.

Edited by Opie
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5 minutes ago, Opie said:

Other than the Nest Max in the Kitchen, the one thing I haven't incorporated is, indoor cameras.
It's just something that I don't think that I need.
 

I use mine mostly as a security system. They have pretty good motion detection along with fire/CO2 alarm recognition. I also save all video to a 32 GB MicroSD card residing in each camera. The videos overwrite as space is needed and I can download whatever I want to my phone (i.e. video or pics) or watch them live from my phone from wherever. 
 

Live(ish) pic from outdoor cams

Edited by Osaurus
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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

I use mine mostly as a security system. They have pretty good motion detection along with fire/CO2 alarm recognition. I also save all video to a 32 GB MicroSD card residing in each camera. The videos overwrite as space is needed and I can download whatever I want to my phone (i.e. video or pics) or watch them live from my phone from wherever. 

Yeah...I understand.
I'll probably be the guy who gets them AFTER a break-in.  :cry:

Right now, my dogs are my security.

Edited by Opie
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15 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

Wyze cams around the house directed at points of entry and 4 Geeni smart plugs. This is as much as I ever want. Not a big fan of IoT mostly due to massive security issues.

I didn't even think about cameras in terms of Smart home platform but these cameras are awesome. Best value and performance by far. They are also now disrupting a lot of other home electronics spaces and do have quite a few HA options like thermostats, sprinkler controllers, smart vacs, etc. Check out Wyze for sure.

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2 minutes ago, Opie said:

Yeah...I understand.
I'll probably be the guy who gets them AFTER a break-in.  :cry:

Right now, my dogs are my security.

My dog would not be a deterrent. Maybe a light growl or two from being disturbed while sleeping, but nothing more. She's a cupcake

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

My dog would not be a deterrent. Maybe a light growl or two from being disturbed while sleeping, but nothing more. She's a cupcake

My wife commented that our dogs would be the first thing that anyone would take but yeah...I don't really use the "smart" concept for security.
Maybe I should.

Edited by Opie
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5 minutes ago, Ron Swanson said:

I didn't even think about cameras in terms of Smart home platform but these cameras are awesome. Best value and performance by far. They are also now disrupting a lot of other home electronics spaces and do have quite a few HA options like thermostats, sprinkler controllers, smart vacs, etc. Check out Wyze for sure.

Since they can be controlled with Google or Amazon, I consider them smart devices. Someone here recommended Geeni smart plugs to me and I love them. They are very easy to set up and I use them mostly as light timers.

ETA: I’ve heard good thing about Wyze smart plugs too. 

Edited by Osaurus
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1 minute ago, Osaurus said:

Since they can be controlled with Google or Amazon, I consider them smart devices. Someone here recommended Geeni plugs to me and I love them. They are very easy to set up and I use them mostly as light timers.

Definitely "smart" devices but I utilize my "smart" devices for convenience...I'm lazy

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Just now, Opie said:

Definitely "smart" devices but I utilize my "smart" devices for convenience...I'm lazy

I don't think you're alone there. :lol:

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I guess mostly in Amazon Echo's and Ring.

We got an Echo a few years ago from my wife's office.  Sort of a gift they gave to everyone (the joke was they were doing it to listen in on everyone).  Added another dot that my son has in his room and uses it to stream music sometimes.  Then when we upgraded our wifi to an Orbi, we actually got the Orbi Voice, so the sattelite up in the bonus room has a speaker and Alexa capabilities.

We then got a ring doorbell a few years ago...and just recently have added a ring spotlight camera for the front driveway.  There had been a string of car break ins around the area and having a car out there now and my son driving (and maybe not always being smart and locking it or leaving things in it) we decided to put up a camera).  When I bought it they were giving away the Echo Show 5...so we have that in our bedroom, it acts as my clock next to the bed and I can check the weather in the mornings easy by voice and easily get Alexa to show me the front door or the front camera if we are up there in bed and my son is out or whatever...so a way to check on all things.

Probably going to integrate with Ring Home security soon as well.

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

I don't think you're alone there. :lol:

I just like the convenience...

"Hey Google....Good Night": Den TV turn off, thermostat goes down, & accent lighting comes on.
"Hey Google....I'm up"...Thermostat changes...Time, date, forecasted weather, commute to work time, & calendar events are read while I'm shaving.
Leave the house and the thermostat changes the temp.
Come home and the thermostat changes the temp....If it's dark, entry lights come on.

...stuff like that.

Edited by Opie
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1 minute ago, Poke_4_Life said:

Have some Amazon Alexa devices, smart plugs/switches, and Arlo cameras.  Also have Simplisafe, not sure if that's 'smart' or not (there is an app). 

Almost forgot, my personal truck is low tech and doesn't have bluetooth, so I have an Amazon Alexa car device as well.  Basically allows for hands-free phone use as well as streaming music/pods from my phone while driving.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Poke_4_Life said:

Have some Amazon Alexa devices, smart plugs/switches, and Arlo cameras.  Also have Simplisafe, not sure if that's 'smart' or not (there is an app). 

I guess that everything that is operated remotely can be considered "smart" but things that work by voice command or automated routine as what I like.

Damn...as a society...we are lazy....at least, I guess that I am!

Even the Nest doorbell....I have it to see if I need to get off my butt and answer the door!

 

Edited by Opie
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1 minute ago, Poke_4_Life said:

Almost forgot, my personal truck is low tech and doesn't have bluetooth, so I have an Amazon Alexa car device as well.  Basically allows for hands-free phone use as well as streaming music/pods from my phone while driving.

what is this - my wifes car is 10 years old and only has 100k on it - we used to have a plug in thing but that broke - i would love to get here something like this

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1 minute ago, Opie said:

I guess that everything that is operated remotely can be considered "smart" but things that work by voice command or automated routine as what I like.

Damn...as a society...we are lazy....at least, I guess that I am!

 

I find the voice commands way more annoying than anything.  I'd rather use an app or remote lol

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Just now, Opie said:

I guess that everything that is operated remotely can be considered "smart" but things that work by voice command or automated routine as what I like.

Damn...as a society...we are lazy....at least, I guess that I am!

 

Also have a Roomba, which can be activated by Alexa or on a set routine.  And a few Fire tv devices, which I guess can be activated by voice as well.  

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Poke_4_Life said:

Also have a Roomba, which can be activated by Alexa or on a set routine.  And a few Fire tv devices, which I guess can be activated by voice as well.  

Oh yeah...I forgot our Roomba (Dusty)!!
That is the ONE piece of technology that my wife absolutely LOVES!!

Now, a "Poopba" for the back yard would be a lifesaver!!
With 2 large dogs, it would have to be the size of a Volkswagen Beetle!

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Anybody use Lutron, Crestron, or Control4?

I've speced them, but haven't ever lived with them...curious how they work day to day.

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2 minutes ago, Opie said:

I guess that everything that is operated remotely can be considered "smart" but things that work by voice command or automated routine as what I like.

Damn...as a society...we are lazy....at least, I guess that I am!

Even the Nest doorbell....I have it to see if I need to get off my butt and answer the door!

 

I get so many solicitors going door to door that I installed a camera facing the door. When the doorbell rings or someone knocks, there's a 90% chance it's someone I am not interested in talking to so I ignore them. Wyze cam is behind the door in an alcove so it's not so obvious. 

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11 minutes ago, belljr said:

I find the voice commands way more annoying than anything.  I'd rather use an app or remote lol

I agree...they can be quite annoying..
I like the automated stuff much more!

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40 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

I use mine mostly as a security system. They have pretty good motion detection along with fire/CO2 alarm recognition. I also save all video to a 32 GB MicroSD card residing in each camera. The videos overwrite as space is needed and I can download whatever I want to my phone (i.e. video or pics) or watch them live from my phone from wherever. 
 

Live(ish) pic from outdoor cams

Great for a neighborhood watch...if more people had it.

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And adding a smart lock to the front door soon as well.  That way easy for the kids to code in or whatever rather than carrying a key (more for my daughter who doesn't need to carry keys around...son will have it with the car keys)

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15 minutes ago, Poke_4_Life said:

Echo Auto- Hands-free Alexa in your car with your phone

(I got it for only $25, in the early release window in 2019.)

Thanks.  I ended up just getting a replacement receiver as it's basically the same. I had this before was just curious the difference

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ML5GP72/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_ZK91SSA3SSF9Q9ZTTRF2

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1 minute ago, belljr said:

Thanks.  I ended up just getting a replacement receiver as it's basically the same. I had this before was just curious the difference

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ML5GP72/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_ZK91SSA3SSF9Q9ZTTRF2

Yeah, the only thing is that doesn't do routines or voice command search/driving functions.  I have a routine of weather/news/pods I listen to on the morning commute.  You can also set up routines for when you arrive to a location (via geo-location) but I haven't done that.  

The echo Auto isn't really all that great, but I've definitely gotten my $25 worth.  

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Definitely in on Amazon Echo system.  We have multiple echo dots throughout the house (just grab them when they go on sale for $20).  Have them in the kids' rooms as well as our room and a couple other spots plus an Echo Show in the kitchen area.  It's great for playing music, talking to them when in their rooms without yelling across the house, for alarms/reminders and controlling other devices like lights in their rooms.  Schedules make it easy to make sure lights turn off and also use them to turn lights on in the morning for those that are harder to wake up.  We have 3 TVs throughout the house that have FireSticks so it's nice to have it all integrated in one ecosystem.

When we moved in, the house also had a Sonos system installed with some built-in speakers so we use it with that.  And outdoor lights are controlled with it as well using the Amazon timer. 

Other than that, we have our garage doors that can be controlled remotely as well but it's not through Amazon's ecosystem.  Otherwise, I wish our thermostats were Alexa-capable.  If I ever end up upgrading them, it'll be nice to have that as well.  Currently they are controlled with their own app if we want to do it remotely.

Edited by gianmarco
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2 hours ago, El Floppo said:

Anybody use Lutron, Crestron, or Control4?

I've speced them, but haven't ever lived with them...curious how they work day to day.

My very first "smart switch" is a Lutron Caseta. It is in our Master closet and turns the lights on by motion sensor and then back off in 15 minutes.  I've had it for at least 10 years.  It is the only piece of HA gear that I have that has worked 100% of the time without fail and 0 maintenance. For the right use case they are awesome.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Otherwise, I wish our thermostats were Alexa-capable.  If I ever end up upgrading them, it'll be nice to have that as well.  

I highly recommend.

Currently, $125 on Amazon
SMART HOME INTEGRATION. The Wi-Fi Smart Color is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and more, and apps like IFTT

Must have 5-wire (C Wire) system configuration.

Edited by Opie
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3 hours ago, El Floppo said:

Anybody use Lutron, Crestron, or Control4?

I've speced them, but haven't ever lived with them...curious how they work day to day.

I love Lutron Caseta switches. We installed a bunch of smart switches in 2017. I used a mix of brands. The Lutron ones have worked perfectly. The ones I have problems with are non-Lutron, so I replaced those. I'm not a well-versed electrician by any means, but I know how to turn off the power to the switch and read directions, and that was all I needed to install the Lutron switches. 

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We have Echo devices all over the house. All the bedroom lights and ceiling fans can be turned on/off by voice ("Alexa, turn the master bedroom lights to 10 percent"). I have a Logitech Harmony that allows me to control the TV by voice ("Alexa, turn on Apple TV"). My dad lives with us, so I have a motion sensor that turns on the hallway light to the lowest dimmer setting if he gets up at night to use the bathroom. Sometimes my dad will come home after I've gone to bed, so the front porch light is on an automated schedule so that I don't have to leave it on all night. We have outdoor landscaping lighting that uses outdoor-rated smart plugs to go on at sunset and then turn off automatically after we go to bed. 

I use Ecobee smart thermostats. I've used Nest before, too. At some point, I concluded that I really prefer the Ecobee, but now I don't remember why. I can control the temperature by voice ("Alexa, set the upstairs temperature to 72 degrees") or just on my phone. 

I have a smart sprinkler system that I got about 18 months ago, the Rachio: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CZ864Y9/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1. It's awesome. It drove me crazy when it would be raining and I'd forget to turn off the sprinklers, so they'd be on while it was raining. The smart sprinklers are connected to wifi, so if there's rain in the forecast, it won't run that day. It has saved me tons of water. Everything can be run off a phone app. It was pretty easy to install. 

I have a Flume device that measures water usage. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GPXKN8Z/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 You put a sensor next to the water meter that uses magnetic field to tell when the meter is running and how much water is being used, so you don't have to actually connect anything to the meter. We had two water bills in a row that were way higher than normal, but when we had a plumber come to the house, he said we had no leaks. I used the Flume and the app to figure out that water was running somewhere. Turns out it had to do with water leaking out of our pool, and then triggering the automatic refill to the pool. The Flume will alert me if there's continuous water usage over a period of time, indicating a leak. 

Other stuff: Ring front door camera. Garage door sensor that allows me to open the garage door from my phone (to let someone in if I'm not at home) and will alert me if the garage door is open for more than 30 minutes (because I sometimes leave the house and forget to close it). Probably some other stuff I'm forgetting.

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I use SmartThings for the hub. Pretty reliable. I've got a few basic sensors, and smart lights in one room.

I've integrated Google Home so it can control all the smarthings stuff too, that was pretty easy.

I've custom-written at least one routine in their programming language (groovy). I like that kind of flexibility. There was no app written on their webpage that did what I wanted, so I was able to cobble together my own.

I've also made my own smart switches by buying $5 Sonoff Basic wifi switches and splicing them into extension cord. That uses the eWeLink platform but that also integrates into SmartThings. Cheaper than the $35 or whatever that Samsung wants for a wifi switch.

 

Overall I like the setup I have. I get text/push notifications if I leave the house with the lights on or forget to close the garage door. If the smoke detectors go off, all the lights turn on in the house. When I'm driving home, the lights turn on once I'm back to within a quarter-mile of the house. I can control lights and switches with my voice. I can also pause/unpause the TV by voice. I've got water detection sensors under the sinks, my fridge, and furnace in case anything weird happens there. 

I do like the one-time cost and no continual fees, that's for sure. I don't think I'd want a subscription model for my own house.

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4 hours ago, El Floppo said:

Anybody use Lutron, Crestron, or Control4?

I've speced them, but haven't ever lived with them...curious how they work day to day.

I have Control4.  Great system.  It can control just about anything with a switch.  I use it mostly for distributed audio and video but also have thermostats and lights on there.  At my old vacation house, we had a fireplace on C4.

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Man oh man are we ever behind the times.  My 10-year-old daughter has a small Alexa thing and smart light bulb in her room.  That's it.  We won a Ring doorbell a few years ago but my wife didn't think it'd be worth even having so we sold it on Facebook or whatever.  I think I'd actually like the Ring doorbell now.  We get SO many packages from Amazon, WalMart, etc... We have an enclosed courtyard and deliveries are always left at the doorstep but still.  

How hard is the Ring doorbell to install?  Keep in mind I am the least handy person on the planet.  Better to have a handyman come over?

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Is there an idiot proof guide to tying everything together? Have a SmartThings hub, numerous Alexa and google voice devices, ring sensors and cameras, motion detectors, smart plugs and a couple smart speakers, but I’ve got ten damn apps on my phone. How to tie them into one and integrate voice?

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Pretty heavily invested in Amazon Alexa technology.  Echo's/Dots throughout the house.

- Ecobee smart thermostat with Alexa built in.

- Several lights/outlets controlled by Alexa/smartapp.  Had a switch set up with a timer at Xmas to turn the Xmas lights on and off every night. 

- Dish Satellite TV supports Alexa.  Don't use it too much but it's configured/connected.

- All the blinds in the house are connected to the Alexa ecosystem.  It's cool when you say "Alexa, open living room" and four motorized blinds start going up in unison.

I got a new Wi-Fi router a month ago and it supports Alexa.  I haven't configured it because I have no idea what the benefit of being able to control a wi-fi router with voice commands would be.  Just scratching my head over that one.

Want to start replacing light switches in rooms with Alexa capable ones so that's next on the list. 

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16 minutes ago, Gawain said:

Is there an idiot proof guide to tying everything together? Have a SmartThings hub, numerous Alexa and google voice devices, ring sensors and cameras, motion detectors, smart plugs and a couple smart speakers, but I’ve got ten damn apps on my phone. How to tie them into one and integrate voice?

I can't speak to Google Home, but you do all that through the Alexa App.  You find a "skill" for your device and then you can connect Alexa up to that device.  Sometimes you have to give it the username/password for the account you set up on the manufacturer's server for the device so Alexa can talk to the device through that manufacturer, but for the most part, after setting it up using the manufacturer's app, you set it up through the Alexa app using the skill for the device. 

I suggest you google one of the devices you have that you'd like to be voice controlled and add "alexa integration" or something to the search.  You'll find detailed instructions and/or youtube videos on doing it.  Once you've done it for one or two devices the rest will be similar.

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Count me as another one integrated heavily with Amazon.  We have 3 Echo Dots and 3 Echo Shows.  We use one Show as an alarm clock in our bedroom and another one gets heavy use in the kitchen mostly for cooking timers and looking up recipes.  The rest are used to control lights in our main living areas, mostly Philips Hues.  We also have a Ring Doorbell and I added the Ring Home Security system this spring.  Outside of Amazon, we have two Roombas, a dual-zone Honeywell smart thermostat, two Wyze cameras to watch our dogs when we're out, and I just upgraded our irrigation system to a smart one as well.

Even with all of our devices, I still feel like I'm missing some functionality especially with Alexa voice control.  I need to read some more and see what other things it can do that I'm not aware of currently.

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1 hour ago, KGB said:

Here is a cheap and easy way to make your garage SMART

You can controll it from your phone and after you left you can see if its up or down.

$30 bucks!  10 min to install.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075H7Z5L8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That's what we have as well.

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7 hours ago, Gawain said:

Is there an idiot proof guide to tying everything together? Have a SmartThings hub, numerous Alexa and google voice devices, ring sensors and cameras, motion detectors, smart plugs and a couple smart speakers, but I’ve got ten damn apps on my phone. How to tie them into one and integrate voice?

This.

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I am heavily invested in Google (bunch of speakers/displays, nest alarm, nest doorbell) and it blows.

I tried Alexa briefly and it blew too.

Robot revolution is a long ways away.  These things are morons.

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