Project 2018: Smart Home

One of the things I want to do this year is to make our house a little smarter. For the past three years, I have constantly improved (more of fiddled) our home network and computer setup. We have a centralised movie library (yes, on top of Netflix, Fox+, and iTunes) via NAS (Network Attached Storage). Our photos are backed up via iCloud Photo; we view them from any of the big screen in the house. We can also stream any video to any part of the house via Chromecast or Apple TV.

I practically ran out of things to tweak in our home, so that’s why Smart Home is my next project. I want nothing fancy, just functional. I already picked couple of areas to work on.

Smart Lock & Doorbell
Sleuthing around, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro looks like the best in class. It has great camera, good motion detection software, and tons of nifty features. For smart lock, I am looking at August Smart Lock. It looks beautiful and easy to install. Both of these are not available locally so I have to order them abroad.

Smart Lights & Switches
This one’s a little bit tricky. There are so many ready-to-use devices that you can purchase. Phillips Hue for smart lights, Belkin Wemo has so many stand alone smart plugs and sockets. However, what I want is built-in smart switches and plugs. This way, I can make it work with our existing analog appliances with it. Plus, it’s cheaper. For example, controlling your lights via wifi by buying multiple smart lights can get really expensive but installing a smart switch can also get the job done for a lot less. Plus, there’s a bazillion of them in Lazada!

Smart Appliances
This is where it can get crazy. There are some really fancy appliances out there like talking fridge or self-ordering washing machine. For now, all I want is a multi-room audio system. Being able to stream video to any TV is already awesome, this would be a perfect addition. There are so many options in the market right now. Sonos has great wireless speakers, Apple is about to launch Airplay 2 which would natively support multi-room audio, and Google seems to be using Chromecast for this purpose.

If I go with the Sonos speakers, they are available locally but they are really expensive. Apple is about to release Homepod, which will support Airplay 2 but is also expensive. However, since Airplay 2 is a protocol, there will be other, hopefully cheaper, speakers available. Chromecast is the cheapest way to go and it is available locally.

If you’re setting up a your own Smart Home, hit me up. I would love to share and consult ideas.