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  1. #1

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    Default "Smart" homes

    New Year's Question for the collective: Anyone got a "smart" system in their house?

    Initial requirement is for a new doorbell, but since I'm also interested in having a camera down at the chicken run, and possibly at least one more outside camera, it possibly makes sense to buy into a system.

    But back to the doorbell... requirements are that it rings when someone presses the button. Two way audio/video are not essential, but would be useful when I'm in the garden (or in the office on a call) and can just let the person know to leave the parcel at the door, or to come in. I don't need to record the last 5 years of visitors, nor do I need automatic motion sensing on it (or do I?). Possibly even one that can work with IFTTT e.g. can be integrated with a SONOS system.

    Anyway, if anyone has done a lot of research into it, or has got such a setup in place, care to share your thoughts?
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    Friends of mine use Arlo all over their house and think it's really good for keeping an eye on their house and dealing with deliveries when they're away from home.

    HWMBO uses Tado for his central heating. He says he's saved a fortune on heating bills as the heating only comes on when there's a registered phone on the premises (his or his kids, and his kids rooms are separately 'tagged' so they will only heat up when needed). For lighting, he uses Lightwave RF and 'If this then that' to activate lights when his phone enters a geofenced area. I think. I asked the question and my eyes glazed over

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladymuck View Post
    Friends of mine use Arlo all over their house and think it's really good for keeping an eye on their house and dealing with deliveries when they're away from home.

    HWMBO uses Tado for his central heating. He says he's saved a fortune on heating bills as the heating only comes on when there's a registered phone on the premises (his or his kids, and his kids rooms are separately 'tagged' so they will only heat up when needed). For lighting, he uses Lightwave RF and 'If this then that' to activate lights when his phone enters a geofenced area. I think. I asked the question and my eyes glazed over
    Heating is on my todo list to get done, but other than that I can't see anything that isn't just a gimmick when it comes to a smart home
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    The friends that have Arlo also have tried going full home automation with voice activated lights and curtain rails, and goodness knows what else. No idea how successful it's been

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladymuck View Post
    The friends that have Arlo also have tried going full home automation with voice activated lights and curtain rails, and goodness knows what else. No idea how successful it's been
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by WTFH View Post
    New Year's Question for the collective: Anyone got a "smart" system in their house?

    Initial requirement is for a new doorbell, but since I'm also interested in having a camera down at the chicken run, and possibly at least one more outside camera, it possibly makes sense to buy into a system.

    But back to the doorbell... requirements are that it rings when someone presses the button. Two way audio/video are not essential, but would be useful when I'm in the garden (or in the office on a call) and can just let the person know to leave the parcel at the door, or to come in. I don't need to record the last 5 years of visitors, nor do I need automatic motion sensing on it (or do I?). Possibly even one that can work with IFTTT e.g. can be integrated with a SONOS system.

    Anyway, if anyone has done a lot of research into it, or has got such a setup in place, care to share your thoughts?
    We've got Hive for heating and lighting and it works well. Heating setup is best done by a professional but once its up and running it's pretty much foolproof for scheduling heating and hot water and adjusting temperatures.

    Bulbs are useful as you never have to remember to switch them off, they all support variable brightness and you can schedule them independently while you are away on holiday for example. You can even set up profiles for different activities, reading, movie night, etc.

    Not got around to doing camera's or door bell but we might do now we have moved to a new house.
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  8. #8

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    A quick comment about Hive: yes, it is very good and easy to use, but... the mobile app is painfully slow for me and the geofencing is piss-poor (i.e. you'll get an alert and it's possible to manually change the heating when you're away from home should you so wish, but this sort of thing really should be automatic as per M'Lady's description of the Tado set-up.)

    I'm happy with my choice of Hive, but others may be more picky when it comes to the few rough edges that I've encountered.
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  9. #9

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    I've got a nest thermostat, external nest camera and an internal one (to watch the dogs when we are out). Also, have a few smart plugs.

    The thermostat and lights are also connected to Alexa so voice activated, "Alexa, set temperature to 22 degrees" kind of thing.

    Thermostat works well and the camera is high quality.

    Not gone for the door bell cam yet, I'm a bit concerned about privacy for neighbours etc.

  10. #10

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    Probably nearly all of us technically have some element of smart home these days.

    • We have Honeywell EvoHome heating with a few voice commands set up through IFTTT since the built-in Google Home integration seems really lousy. Actually quite useful "Google let's watch a film" turns the heating up in the TV room for a couple of hours.
    • We got a couple of smart plugs in December to trial - to let us control the Christmas lights and electric blanket
    • We just got Simplisafe but haven't set it up properly, though this has very limited integration with smart-home tech, which seems a bit of a shame.


    My gripe is that it just doesn't work smoothly. For instance the heating - Google can see the thermostats but can't talk to them. Voice commands aren't well documented so you end up saying things to see which work. Often, everything has to be round-tripped over t'internet even if you're on your home WiFi. Casting stuff from phone to TV often doesn't work.

    Typically, I find it's unreliable which means it is often quicker to just do everything the old way, and far better for the blood pressure. I can't count how many times I've so nearly tossed my phone through a window in frustration.
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