Over the past couple of years, I have been slowly implementing Smart Home technology. My goal is to automate everyday activities, improve energy efficiency and enable voice control via a virtual assistant.
The house heating and water are managed via two Nest Learning Thermostats (Third Generation), each controlling a different zone (downstairs and upstairs).
The Thermostats are complimented by a pair of Nest Protect fire and carbon-monoxide detectors. In the event that a fire is detected, the Nest Protect will signal the thermostats to shut down the gas boiler.
The kid’s rooms and the lounge are equipped with Nest Cams, used for monitoring and security. The Nest Cams support home/away assist, triggering “eco mode” on the thermostats when no one is at home.
Every room has Philips Hue LED lighting. All rooms are equipped with White Ambiance bulbs, with the exception of the kid’s rooms which use Colour Ambiance bulbs. The colour bulbs automatically switch on and off at specific times, as well as support “nightlight” mode.
Each activity automatically configures the TV, AV Receiver, connected device (e.g. Apple TV 4K) and Hue lightning (if required). This allows for single-click activation.
Finally, the entire house can be controlled via Alexa, supporting everything from turning on the lights, increasing the temperature and switching on the TV. The video below is my two-year-old son demonstrating how simple it is to use.
Overall, the setup works very well. All of the technologies have reasonable interoperability out of the box, including Alexa Skills, etc. Any gaps can usually be filled using a service such as IFTTT or writing a simple Lambda function that interacts with the APIs.