Thinking about adding smart home technology into your house?  There are many solutions that range from simple to elaborate and range in price dramatically too.  In this post I am going to detail a mid range system that can be expanded upon easily.  Every smart home has items that can be broken down into categories: Hubs, Controllers, and Switches.

Hubs are just what they sound like.  They are the main point between controllers and switches.  The connect to various items using an array of technologies.  Google Home, Apple Home, Smartthings by Samsung, Logitech Harmony Home and my favorite Wink.  My preference for Wink is based on the connectivity.  All of these hubs connect using some of the technologies, but the Wink seems to work with the most.  Protocols like Z-Wave, Ziggbee, wi-fi and bluetooth allow the devices to talk to the hub with instructions from the controller.

Controllers range from ipad, iphone, android and in-wall displays like the Relay by Wink.  Amazon Alexa is one controller that makes the entire system voice activated for many products.  These items use wi-fi to communicate with the hub.  I recommend several  of them, but a home with multiple Echo Dots allows for seamless control even when walking through the house.  The Echo, Echo Dot, and Alexa have a “skill” that when enabled works very well with the Wink hub.

Switches are the items that operate the conventional product using the controllers and hub.  These include everything from in-wall dimmers, pico remotes (Lutron), garage door openers and even a Mr. Coffee coffee maker.  There are product such as the Cree Connected bulbs that have their own in bulb Z-Wave controller to allow individual table lamp control.

What should I get, and what do I advise to begin this DIY project of making your home smart?  Here is a run down of my suggestions:

Hub: Wink 2 average cost is $100 on Amazon

This is easily installed and connected to your home wifi using the iPhone or Android app.  Plan 10-15 minutes with firmware updates that are inevitable when turned on for the first time.

Controllers

Switches

Products to Consider

Some great things my house does with this technology can be broken into “skills”:

How do you get started?  Make a flow chart of somethings you would like to accomplish with smart home technology.  Start with a few key pieces and then make additions.  I would suggest a few in-wall dimmers and a few Cree connected bulbs, along with a Nest Thermostat.  You’ll find places like Home Depot and Lowe’s with a selection of items.  If you get a bit more in-depth in automating your home plan a Saturday afternoon (so lights on and off don’t affect you) and be prepared to turn off circuits in your panel as you install dimmers (easily done with instructions) online and in manuals.

 

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