Besides re-vamping my office setup to allow standing as well as sitting at my desk, I’ve also been working on outfitting my home with lots of Things — Things as in the Internet of Things (IoT).
It started, I believe, with our need for a new garage door opener. Rather than do the simple thing and just buy a replacement, I decided to complicate matters and determined to automate the door’s opening and closing. The idea: whenever myself or my husband pulled up in one of our vehicles, the garage door would open automatically. When we left, it would close automatically.
Handy, right? Well, it started me down the path of Home Automation, which is working out as either amazing, revolutionary and wonderful or frustrating, broken and time-consuming. How I feel about it depends on the particular day.
After some research, I determined to unify everything around the SmartThings Hub. In Home Automation-speak, the hub is the master controller, connecting to all the devices and telling them what to do — theoretically at your command or based on rules you’ve set up in advance.
This little device can “talk” over the LAN and to wireless devices using ZigBee and Z-Wave — two of the most popular protocols for “smart” devices — so it affords me maximum flexibility in terms of finding compatible devices. (It doesn’t do Bluetooth or Bluetooth Low Energy, though, which could be a drawback.)
There’s also an amazing community of DIY-ers and developers around SmartThings, so people are constantly tinkering to make new things work with the system, then generously sharing them with the rest of us.
Things that work (or sort of work) with the hub include:
What I’ve found is that it isn’t a one-time project, it’s an ongoing “hobby.” I’ll post my adventures in home automation in the coming weeks, months and probably years, as I explore new opportunities for frustration and enlightenment.