Home Automation - Your Real World Experiences

Disclaimer: If you open this thread and read it, please DO NOT post unhelpful things like: "The NSA is listening in, you’re selling your search data for convenience, etc”. That is NOT the purpose of this thread.

The purpose here is to facilitate a discussion on the different Home Automation architectures, from users with real world experience using one system or another.

As an IT/Computer person I am fascinated (and sometimes scared) by the “Internet of Things” and “Connected Devices”. I enjoy reading up on them and understanding where they fit into things, and also am wanting to learn by doing, and so I’m planning to slowly to move to a more “connected” home.

I am mainly interested in people’s experiences with the Google Assistant architecture as it is the one I have currently chosen to dip my toes into the water with. That said, most companies producing “smart” devices allow them to work with multiple architectures so as to not limit their consumer pools, so I’m happy to have other architectures (such as Alexa) discussed here as well.

For my part, I currently have the following: A generic Google Assistant (Insignia) in my living room, Nest Thermostat, and two Rokus. I am adding a Chromecast Audio, and a Google Home Mini to the mix in the next few weeks.

What I am hoping to get (in addition to hearing about your experiences) are suggestions for Google Assistant controlled devices for the following things: smart outlets (for nightstand lamps, floor lamps, etc), smart light bulbs (for ceiling lights), hardwired smart controllers for ceiling fans w lights, and hardwired switches for suspending lighting fixtures like kitchen/bathroom lights.

Additionally down the road I’m likely to add indoor & outdoor cameras, garage openers, sprinkler controllers/timers, and smart appliances (mainly a coffee pot for now, dont see and can’t afford replacing washer/dryer/fridge/stove).

Any suggestions for these devices, or posts of your experiences using Alexa/Google Assistant/Z-Wave/IFTT devices is appreciated.

PS: If anyone has used or knows someone using a connected device of ANY SORT that can be used to shut off the main water to the house, let me know. Doesn’t matter if it’s controlled through a standalone app without the ability to incorporate it into a larger architecture or not, I’m very interested in that, or any other home safety type sensor/connected device.

PPS @lightman I already know you hate the Echo and unplug it every time you visit @ZLTFUL so no need to post that :wink:
"....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
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Comments

  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 4,658
    Here is what we use with our Alexa ecosystem...

    Smart-switches (Dimmer and on/off), smart plugs (for lamps): Insteon/Insteon Hub

    Thermostat, fire/smoke/CO2 alarms, water detection, smart doorbell/camera: Nest, Nest Protect and Nest Hello

    Multi-room music: Sonos and Echos (Which also integrate with the Vita)

    Google Home and Amazon Echo can also be tied into streaming devices (which I haven't gotten around to yet).
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

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  • mrbironmrbiron Posts: 4,840
    Interesting...
    I'm currently looking at the Ring for the front door, and a loom of Samsung smart appliances (mainly fridge and stove) for the new house. I will be prewiring locations for cameras in what I feel to be the smartest locations.

    Probably won't switch over to smart outlets until the wallet recoupes.

    I'll follow this only because zltful chimed in. I could care less about your experiences... :D
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  • jeremymarcinkojeremymarcinko Posts: 3,232
    I don’t like some/most of them but we do use ADT bundled with a few WiFi devices. They are useful sometimes. That said the wife picked up the WiFi baby monitor to hang above the the crib so we can see the baby, when he arrives, any day now, and monitor his breathing from our phone anywhere in the world. Except maybe the elevators at work. So now we can watch the boy from the bar down the street...jk, of course. I can see some folks attempting to do that kind of thing though.

    l8cid026a9jf.jpeg
    Oh, Listen here mister. We got no way of understandin' this world. But we got as much sense of this bird flyin in the sky. Now there is a lot that bird don't know, but it don't change the fact that the world is happening to him all the same. What I am tryin to say is, is that the course of your life, well its changing, and you don't even see it- Forest Bondurant
  • ken brydsonken brydson Posts: 7,189
    I don’t like some/most of them but we do use ADT bundled with a few WiFi devices. They are useful sometimes. That said the wife picked up the WiFi baby monitor to hang above the the crib so we can see the baby, when he arrives, any day now, and monitor his breathing from our phone anywhere in the world. Except maybe the elevators at work. So now we can watch the boy from the bar down the street...jk, of course. I can see some folks attempting to do that kind of thing though.

    l8cid026a9jf.jpeg

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  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    mrbiron wrote: »
    Interesting...
    I'm currently looking at the Ring for the front door, and a loom of Samsung smart appliances (mainly fridge and stove) for the new house. I will be prewiring locations for cameras in what I feel to be the smartest locations.

    Probably won't switch over to smart outlets until the wallet recoupes.

    I'll follow this only because zltful chimed in. I could care less about your experiences... :D

    I figured. I don’t have them at much experience anyway lol....

    I do hope to buy your Pi in a month or two. Found a fun project for it (whole home ad blocker)....
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,383
    edited November 1
    I just think of that story in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles* about the automated home that is just humming along on its own, after Armageddon had wiped away its occupants.

    :|

    ___________
    * "There Will Come Soft Rains"
  • halenhalen Posts: 355
    edited November 1
    I could control my lawn mower, my shower and water temp, every lighting, all TV’s, robotic vacuum, Robotic lawn mower, garage, surveillance system, ceiling fans...

    Even my hood vent above my gas stove. And much much more. I also use IFTTT among other things. I don’t use Alexa though. I don’t like it. The AI is sorely lacking and commands have to be very specific. Maybe it is my Asian accent that it does not like. Have I tried it? I would not say that I don’t like it if I did not.

    If you want to talk about real world experiences. Let’s talk. I don’t favor one over the other. No bias. It has been my career and life the past couple years.

    halen
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    @halen

    What brands do you feel do automation best? For things like switches, outlets, etc?

    What brands would you avoid?
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • halenhalen Posts: 355
    The best is the DIY kind. Works flawlessly with IFTTT. Yeah you have the popular Home Depot and Lowe’s and what the Eff store brands. Switches, outlets, smart adapters are a joke in pricing. I get my automated light switch for under $2. Same for outlets and smart adapters.


    The only problematic one I have found is automated curtains/blinds. I can’t find any yet.

    You have my number, I think. When you are serious let me know. My retainer fee is free.

    Cheers
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    I just think of that story in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles* about the automated home that is just humming along on its own, after Armageddon had wiped away its occupants.

    :|

    ___________
    * "There Will Come Soft Rains"

    Off topic a bit but some of my fav scifi series is the “Beserker” series by Fred Saberhagen, which is along similar lines..
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    halen wrote: »
    The best is the DIY kind. Works flawlessly with IFTTT. Yeah you have the popular Home Depot and Lowe’s and what the Eff store brands. Switches, outlets, smart adapters are a joke in pricing. I get my automated light switch for under $2. Same for outlets and smart adapters.


    The only problematic one I have found is automated curtains/blinds. I can’t find any yet.

    You have my number, I think. When you are serious let me know. My retainer fee is free.

    Cheers

    Will do. My only concern is how easy did your wife find controlling these things? And what camhance if any does my 6 year old have lol...
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • halenhalen Posts: 355
    Well. Let’s see.

    My wife only needs to talk. And it works.

    My children. They are not of age yet and don’t have access privileges. In other words they can’t really talk yet.

    Take it as you may.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    Gotcha... well I’m game then lol.... my only concern was the wife, and then my oldest but she’s pretty darned smart (didn’t get it from me)...
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • halenhalen Posts: 355
    mrbiron wrote: »
    Interesting...
    I'm currently looking at the Ring for the front door, and a loom of Samsung smart appliances (mainly fridge and stove) for the new house. I will be prewiring locations for cameras in what I feel to be the smartest locations.

    Probably won't switch over to smart outlets until the wallet recoupes.

    I'll follow this only because zltful chimed in. I could care less about your experiences... :D

    If you are pre-wiring I would not spend a penny on any Ring products. Get a real system. POE And NVR.
  • JaybeezJaybeez Posts: 683
    We don't have an integrated system, but have various "smart" devices that all run from WiFi. I'm OK with separate apps, since I don't need additional hub device(s). Currently running outdoor lights, Heating / AC, Security Cameras and front door deadbolts. I'm overweight enough as it is, and don't need any more automation to keep me on my butt in the chair! Looking forward to the new delivery / scan lock box for my Amazon packages. Coming soon!
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  • cmy330gocmy330go Posts: 2,287
    I've integrated Google home with my Nest thermostat and Samsung's SmartThings which is the hub for a number of Hue bulbs, and Zwave switches throughout the house, and also controls my garage doors. I also have a few Roombas that can be voice controlled through the google speakers. I've been very happy overall with the Google Assistant system. I like it's wide range of compatibility, and I strongly prefer it's privacy vs. Amazon's always-listening alternative.

    Sound quality from the Google Home Max is also quite good, and I love the ability to plug Chromecast Audios into the three different 2ch systems throughout the house, and garage, and really flood the house with sound.

    My biggest complaint as of now is the lack of ability to natively stream an analog source to all the other speakers in the house.
    HT
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  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,161
    halen wrote: »
    Maybe it is my Asian accent that it does not like.

    halen

    One would think they would have that one on lock.....since you know they're made in .......Asia


    just sayin


    now Cajun I'd understand
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 18,437
    Nothing quite like inviting the NSA over for dinner... :p ;) o:)
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  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 1,527
    My In-Laws bought a smart home, well town-home. Cost them big $$$ but it controls all the doors, windows, garage door and lights. They just upgraded for more big $$$ to have Alexa added in. Now TV's cameras and Nest are all in one package.

    It's all nice but they spent some big dollars on it. It is cool or not cool. ring the doorbell and it comes up on the TV if it's on.

    My thing is walking into the house and say "close front door" "lock front door" gee lift your hand and do it.
    When I was a kid my parents told me to turn it down. Now I'm an adult and my kids tell me to turn it down.

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  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    edited November 8
    I'm more about programming scene's or routines.....

    IE I say "Goodnight Google" and it turns off all the lights, tells me what I got first thing tomorrow, and the weather, turns on the alarm, and drops down the thermostat..

    I say "I'm leaving", it kicks off all the lights that are on, drops the thermostat down, arms the alarm, opens Waze on my phone and shows my route to work..

    "Lets watch a movie", and it turns off all the lights in the family room...

    "Skye is going to bed", it turns off her lights, turns on Pandora Disney, and sets her alarm for 6:00 am, and lets her say "Turn off alarm" to turn it off....

    Thats what I'm shooting for...
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mrbironmrbiron Posts: 4,840
    I'm more about programming scene's or routines.....

    IE I say "Goodnight Google" and it turns on all the lights other than my bedroom, tells me "good luck waking up in the morning" , reverses the radon exhaust fan spin direction, the weather because why not, turns on the smoke alarm low battery beep, and drops the thermostat right off the wall...

    Or I say "I'm leaving", it kicks off all the lights that are on, cranks the Barry manilow up, disables the alarm, and unlocks the back door for the patiently waiting UPS guy to deliver a "package"...

    Or "Lets watch a movie", and it turns off all the lights, puts the wife & children in bed, and drops a box of tissues on the couch...

    Thats what I'm about.....

    Fixed that for you... :D
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  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    mrbiron wrote: »
    I'm more about programming scene's or routines.....

    IE I say "Goodnight Google" and it turns on all the lights other than my bedroom, tells me "good luck waking up in the morning" , reverses the radon exhaust fan spin direction, the weather because why not, turns on the smoke alarm low battery beep, and drops the thermostat right off the wall...

    Or I say "I'm leaving", it kicks off all the lights that are on, cranks the Barry manilow up, disables the alarm, and unlocks the back door for the patiently waiting UPS guy to deliver a "package"...

    Or "Lets watch a movie", and it turns off all the lights, puts the wife & children in bed, and drops a box of tissues on the couch...

    Thats what I'm about.....

    Fixed that for you... :D

    Man your really had a lot of detail there.... I’m thinking you posted your fantasies lol..... substitute UPS with Tom Brady in your case though :smile:
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mrbironmrbiron Posts: 4,840
    A man can dream... ;)
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  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    mrbiron wrote: »
    A mans wife can dream... ;)

    Fixed it for ya :wink:
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,510
    From a news article......
    State police have the speaker, and the judge agreed to let them access the recordings and ordered Amazon to turn over any recordings on its servers.

    Experts said the case reveals some of the implications of having such devices in people's homes.

    "I think most people probably don't even realize that Alexa is taking account of what's going on in your house, in addition to responding to your demands and commands,"said Albert Scherr, a professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

    No way in hell any of that stuff will ever be in my house!!!
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    edited November 10
    Jesse lets be honest. If you have a smart phone, you already have a mic with you in your pocket.

    Siri and Google Assistsnt are on iOS and Android phones by default, so if someone wants to listen to you, they hack your phone and they are in.

    Smart devices are listening but only for the keywords. The “recordings” are not much more than them looking at the search history on your computer....
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,510
    It's completely turned off.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,086
    edited November 10
    F1nut wrote: »
    It's completely turned off.

    Ok but if we are that paranoid... you think it can’t be turned on without your knowledge? I mean if we are going all out, let’s go full tinfoil.

    Like I said, lots of people are scared of the tech, but the “recordings” aren’t the same as having a mic turned on 24/7 like we all get scared about. It’s the segment of what you asked and I don’t think they save them forever.

    It’s a audio search history no diff than your browser history.

    Can they subpoena it? Absolutely. Will it be as useful as people think? Nope. Is it worth freaking out about? Not IMHO.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,510
    It's not being paranoid, it's being smart about limiting the high probability that ones privacy is being violated. In addition to that, I'm not lazy. I'm very capable of turning my lights on or off, of locking or unlocking my doors, etc.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


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