IoT and connected devices: the best thing to happen to home automation or a frustrating mess? – ZDNet

IoT and connected devices: the best thing to happen to home automation or a frustrating mess? – ZDNet

you Have the Integration of home automation components considered, such as smart switches in your place of residence? Let my experience serve as a cautionary example.

I Recently completed a multi-year dream project: My own wet-bar for entertainment. The project required the demolition of the floor to make room for new sanitary pipes for cold and hot water, and new plumbing for a sink, a dishwasher, an ice maker and an espresso machine. The project also required a lot of new electrical circuit for built-in dimmable LED lighting.

disclosure: ZDNet can. earn an affiliate Commission from some of the products on this page ZDNet and the author is not compensated for this independent review. 

While I was at it, I decided to make electrical upgrades to the rest of our house. In addition to the upgrade of fluorescent and incandescent lamps to luminaires to LED, we would install. Lutron Caseta smart dimmer switch to replace the old, manual switch,. 

My new house-bar, with lighting controlled by Lutron Caseta.


Jason Pelow

A trip to the home automation

My journey in home automation started about seven years ago, when I was one of the first users of the smart thermostats (Ecobee), smart plugs and smart switches, Linksys’ Wemo system. I also bought a first-generation of Amazon Echo Alexa. 

Since then, I have more Amazon echo, Sonos-beam, and a second connected to the thermostat Google Nest, to the control of a mini-split in our bedroom. I have installed the smart fans of Haiku (Big Ass Fans), as well as a connected garage door opener (myQ), and even an attached pool/spa control system (Zodiac iAqualink). We have also experimented with Philips Hue bulbs, and have also installed a Amazon-Ring of cloud-connected security camera at the front door.

Also: America’s coolest company: How Big Ass Fans were the cooling of the cows on a multi-national tech-powerhouse TechRepublic

needed in the Strategic choices

I see a lot of potential in smart-home automation; I think it can be useful in different scenarios (in particular for people with reduced mobility). But during the process of adding this technology to my house, I came to appreciate the importance of strategic decisions before embarking on any home automation project. 

While the connected devices — such as switches and connectors — from a single vendor work well with each other, the interoperability between providers can be problematic — especially if the provider employ a common Protocol standard, or similar technology. 

For example, Lutron’s Caseta, which is sold in the large DIY store chains such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, uses a proprietary wireless communications, the similar-but not identical-to the competing Zigbee and Z-Wave standards are used, the Hue of the other home automation vendors such as GE, Jasco, and Philips. As the two separate standards, it requires a bridge for communication, issued by the provider that the connection to your physical ethernet network.

Another example: Belkin, Wemo used, Wi-Fi, instead of a low-energy, long-range wireless Protocol, so that it is not HomeKit require an integration bridge-unless you use Apple’s. But it also means you need to use Wi-Fi reception and interference, such as the components, the older 2.4-Ghz 802.11 g standard, and you might have problems with the configuration of access points. I had to devote to life a access point for Wemo, rather than on the same wireless network as my other 2.4-Ghz legacy devices. There is also the Problem of Wi-Fi security.

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My Lutron Caseta and Wemo devices.


Jason Pelow

a: Don ‘ T mix Philips Hue bulbs with holder switch controlled Caseta, or a Wemo, because the colour is the illumination, the intelligence and connectivity, the built-in. Stick with a mute switch, and you leave them turned on.

If you mix vendors in your household, everyone always ends up isolated in his app, unless you use the wink of a consolidation hub such as eyes or smart things, or a voice assistant, such as Amazon Alexa.

Changes required

How have I dealt with interoperability challenges? I chose to standardize on the Lutron Caseta smart switches, and have begun to remove Wemo out of the house. I have nothing against Wemo-by be fact, I started with the switches and plugs at my mother-in-law apartment, since it’s a much smaller house, and your system works very well. But I’d rather have a provider and an app to come up with this stuff on my own. 

There is a problem: Although Lutron Caseta has a simple toggle-smart-switch for non-dimmable lighting, and it has a smart plug specifically for the dimmable lights, it doesn’t have to smart basic switch plugs yet. It is also not ecosystem partners to fill this gap, so I still have to the Wemo for the. 

There were other unexpected changes, which I  had to make: Because I standardized on the Caseta, whose main component is an intelligent dimmer for lights and ceiling fans, I had to replace certain lights (like my outdoor patio light and my pool deck flooding). This had previously been an integrated, non dimmable LED-lamps, which I had to replace, with simple devices so they could bulbs of space for standard-base LED dimmable replacement. 

Also, because my house was in the early 1990s, some of the smart Dimmer, I had to remove the 3-way and 4-way switch. This means that the opening of the switch boxes, pull out on the switch hardware, connect and seal of the traveler wires, and replace the covers with wireless Caseta Pico remote controls. This retrofit is not difficult to do with a 3-way switch, since only one of the switches must be made in a Caseta, and the other two require new remote controls and faceplates. But if you have a 4-way switch, you might want to hire an electrician to diagnose because the wiring is very complicated. I learned the hard way.

home-automation can be complicated and frustrating

As the integration point, it turns out that Amazon, Google and Apple smartphone apps for Android and iOS for their respective intelligent assistant can be the easiest way to have a single view on your home automation environment. But this approach has its challenges, as each wizard requires cloud services for communication with your smart devices. 

For example, for Alexa to speak Lutron Caseta, the Echo device, or the Alexa-smartphone-app is a web API call to the Alexa service in a cloud data center on Amazon Web Services, before sending a request over the network to the Caseta bridge, which connects to your lighting to enable or disable. In addition, a cloud-based “Skill” needs to be enabled to make at Alexa, the first connectivity work. Google ‘ s Nest and Google home requires Google to integrate services with various smart home apps with similar functionality.

is Probably not, Apple’s HomeKit as robust an ecosystem or as Mature as the Amazon Alexa or the Google-wizard.

When everything is connected, it works wonderfully. But If each of these intelligent assistant, or the companies to change the way the work on their protocols or APIs, such as Google-have recently earned from sunset of their works With Nest ecosystem for their own Google Assistant APIs — the hard-to-connectivity and integration, and can stop working, or break, the manufacturer updates their app. I have already seen that this happens is with a Lutron Caseta and Haiku-apps that work with Nest.

I’ve also come to accept the fact that Google is probably never going to be a well-behaved IoT, citizens, and exiles the Nest stuff to a single AC unit in my bedroom-our Central AC is now an Ecobee.

Finally, there is the danger that whatever investment you have made in the smart devices can end up as an expensive experiment down the road. While I am convinced that companies like Lutron, Philips and GE are in this for the long haul, I’m not sure that some of the smaller players will be here in five, let alone ten years from now and will they support their legacy products for the future. 

they Have built-in home automation components, such as smart switches in your apartment? the they Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Released on Fri, 21 Feb 2020 08:00:00 +0000

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