Lewis' Homepage

Its all a matter of time…

Smart Home

netatmo thermostat

So in the past year i have got into smart home devices / automation, specifically through smart assistants Siri and Alexa.

Stage 1 my initial foray was simply with a smartplug, which was purchased to make my life easier - to switch on / off a lamp in my living room where the normal switch was inaccessible. Initially as I have a lot of Apple products it made sense to use this with Siri, but the stumbling block was that the smartplug, in this case made by TP-Link was not compatible with Siri :( Never fear, as I have an always on Raspberry Pi I can run homebridge! Whats that I hear you ask, well it is a package of software that provides comparability for a range of smart products with Apples Homekit system. I got it working without much effort and I was happy... for a while.

Stage 2 was when I wanted a little more - I purchased some Philips 'Hue' light bulbs to use in the other other living room lamps. They worked fine and I was able to set up a 'scene' which controlled the hue bulbs and the TP-link switch so that I could turn off all the lights at once. Of course at this point I was thinking Why run homebridge on the Pi when I can simply replace the non-homekit compatible switch with a light bulb that is compatible which is exactly what I did. It also gave me more lighting options as I could now dim all the light in the room :)

Stage 3 was a shortlived period over Christmas where I utilised the TP-Link switch to turn the Tree lights on and off, but this time I simply used the TP-Link app on my phone rather than set up hombridge again.

Stage 4 came about as I bought my daughter an Amazon Spot for Christmas - I found what it could do really rather interesting and so decided to buy one of my own. The big breakthrough was that all my smart home devices worked with Alexa and Siri at the same time! So now rather requiring individuals to use a smartphone app to control the devices in my home they could simply talk to Alexa and ask her - much more user friendly!

I am still looking at other smart device options, I already have a smart thermostat (netatmo) and that works well but I find no major need for integration with Alexa or Siri on a daily basis. I am looking at Smart lightswitches but the ones I have seen (LightwaveRF v2) do not yet provide a 4 way switch which I need for my kitchen. I am also looking at the Logitech Harmony Hub to control the TV etc - I already have a Logitech remote that controls all my devices seamlessly, but the ability to say Alexa, change channel to BBC 1 is quite enticing. At the moment it is simply a case of whether I can justify the cost ;)