Adding Home Automation in Phases: my limited investment strategy

i’ve been working on this over the last year and I’m just finally getting around to writing it up.

I’m quadriparetic, use a wheelchair with limited hand function. So home automation isn’t a hobby for me. I want to get maximum return on investment, with a pretty small budget, and I want everything to be working and practical from the beginning.

At the same time, my personal belief (and this is just a guess) is that while there will be several good candidates for plug-and-play home automation systems that will do most of what I want for under $5000 by the summer of 2017, The reality is that there is no system yet that will fully meet my requirements.

(edited to add we did finally get this by 2019, more details when I get around to updating this for 2020. :wink: )

There are existing “environmental control systems” designed for people in wheelchairs, but they tend to cost about $10,000 per room, and I was hoping to spend a lot less.

So back in November 2014, I decided to set a budget of $1500 for phase 1. This would be stuff I would be willing to throw out completely and start over in the fall of 2016. I just wanted to get enough value out of it to justify the phase 1 money for the first two years.

During that two years a lot has changed. Smartwatches and various voice technology options Have gotten both better and cheaper. Some hub based systems have come and gone. Smart lighting has gotten cheaper and more interesting. But my project is pretty much on track.

Where to start?

Because of my time and money budget, and the fact that I honestly did think I might want to throw everything out and start over in two years, I didn’t sit back and design my ideal perfect home. Or try to replace every switch in the house. Instead, I looked for specific use cases that would give me an immediate value without a huge investment.

So I started with three things where I have the most physical trouble on a daily basis

One) The front door lock. Man, I can’t even begin to list the problems I had with this before we got a smart lock. I had problems myself opening the door. I have levers on most of the interior doors, and a service dog to help me, but I didn’t want the dog to be able to open the front door by himself. And I didn’t feel hundred percent certain that housemates and their friends would remember to lock it every time. I also have home health care workers that come and go, many of whom do not have smart phones. Nor did I necessarily want to give a sensor device to all of them.

After a lot of research, I ended up choosing a Z wave combination lock with auto lock. Initially I combined it with a zigbee motion sensor so that I would have a touchless switch inside the house. Plus the SmartThings hub to tie them together. Everybody else could use a combination or the turnbolt.

This was the first project we did, total cost around $400 counting the hub, everybody loved it, and it was immediately practical.

Two) I created a pathway of lights from the living room to my bedroom. Since I’m in a wheelchair, I can’t easily feel my way over to a switch on the wall in the dark even if I can do the switch when I get there. And I can’t send my dog back three rooms from where we are to start turning off switches. He can do the ones in the room that I’m in, but I really got interested in the pathway concept where I could turn on a specific set of lights through multiple rooms with one request, than turn them all off again once I got in bed. Before that, I used to leave the livingroom and hallway lights on all night and hope my housemate remembered to turn them off later.

The lights were easy, I just used a Hue bridge and some $15 white smart bulbs. The problem was figuring out how to trigger them. I have a very irregular routine for bedtime, and I didn’t want to put them on a time schedule. Motion sensors are very tricky because of the dog. I can’t use a minimote physically, and neither can the dog.

Initially I found that the Jawbone “Up” sleep tracker bracelet, which I was able to get on sale for about $50, worked well. When I was ready for sleep it was challenging, but I could press the one button on it, and trigger a night routine that would turn off those lights. (I did have them set up to turn on at a specific time of day) unfortunately, integration between SmartThings and Jawbone kept breaking every month or two. So while I kept the Jawbone for sleep monitoring and liked it, I ended up replacing it with a $50 smartenIT 3 toggle switch that both the dog and I can use. And then I added a $20 motion sensor I got on sale to make another touchless switch.

Total cost ended up being about $200. Very practical for me.

Three) the next thing I hadn’t really thought I would do during phase 1, but it turned out that there was a way to get voice control to turn my television on and off using SmartThings, Harmony, and IFTTT.

Prior to this my roommate would turn the TV on to either Roku or cable and just leave it there and then I would be able to watch during the day but using the handheld remote was pretty difficult.

Xfinity sent me of one of the early voice remotes but the problem with that one is you have to hold down the microphone button while you talk, which was challenging.

I would ask other people to change the channel or whatever, but I didn’t like asking other people to turn it off because I wasn’t sure somebody would be there to turn it on again later.

Anyway, one day my roommate came home with a Harmony home hub remote which he had gotten on sale at Best Buy for about $100 because he wanted a universal remote he could also toggle the pathway lights with, and it said on the box it was compatible with SmartThings. It turned out that at that time the integration was still in beta and didn’t work for what I needed, but we also found out in the forums that you could use voice text IFTTT and hit the Harmony channel that way.

After experimenting with hey Siri on my iPad, that turned out to work very well. It was clunky, and not natural language, “hey Siri, tell House Hashtag central underscore TV underscore on,” but it worked! I could turn the TV on and off by myself. That was actually a really big deal for me. There are similar voice systems available for people who have limited hand function but the cheapest ones are typically $2000. And this one was much more flexible. Plus we really like the Harmony remote. It’s very light (we got the one without the screen) and I could even work the buttons on it occasionally.

Anyway, that was going so well that I used it to justify buying the cheapest Apple Watch, for another $350. I also ended up using the watch for other things, like voice text to my friends, which I really liked. Even when I was out shopping with a helper, I could then send them out to the car for something and we could text where to meet up.

So, I ended up spending about $500 for a project I hadn’t even considered at the beginning for phase 1: voice control of my home entertainment set up. But it works really nicely.

I could also use the same basic set up, voice text to IFTTT, for voice control of my lights and my interior door lock. Again, a little clunky. But for me extremely useful. ( and eventually they did release the full harmony/SmartThings integration, which was a little smoother.)

  1. I hadn’t really decided what else I was going to do at that point. I thought I would probably add some more lights. I wasn’t ready to add switches particularly since I didn’t want to buy switches I might replace completely. I was pretty happy just with the door lock, the pathway lights, and TV voice control.

And then Echo began offering some control of lights. I knew it would either be great or just kind of a toy. Initially there was no SmartThings integration. But I already had the Hue bridge and a couple of bulbs. So I got on the waitlist at the $99 price.

Eventually it arrived, and shortly afterwards SmartThings added a fantastic official integration. Now I had all the same voice control I had had from the watch, but I could use natural language. If I said “study” and my roommate said “office” that was fine, we could give the same light two different names and both would work. Echo understood whether I said “Alexa, Turn Netflix on” or “Alexa, Turn on Netflix.” No hashtags or underscores needed!

Because now I didn’t have to work so hard to remember the exact phrasing of every command, I invested a lot more time in adding commands to the television controls from “Alexa, turn on ESPN TV” to "Alexa, turn on Netflix " it was awesome! Plus I had voice control of pause and rewind, something I never had before, although those commands were clunkier.

I was still using Harmony to actually do the controls for the entertainment, but I could talk to echo, have it talk to SmartThings, have SmartThings talk to harmony, and change channels! All totally hands-free. And it took less time than it took me to press the right buttons on the handheld remote. A few seconds lag, but no big deal.

Everybody who sees this thing loves it. It’s now become the primary means of controlling lights in multiple rooms in my house. (I added my path lights, so now I just say “Alexa, turn on bedtime” to turn on lights in the livingroom, hallway, and bedroom.) Plus it’s my voice method for controlling the entire entertainment system.

And they keep adding new features to it. I use it for music. I use it for news. We keep the shopping list on it. One of those things where new technology became available and also turned out to be very practical for me.

Total cost: $100 for the echo and $90 for some more bulbs. ( The price of the echo has gone up since it came out of beta. It now costs $179. Still totally worth it. Or you can get the Amazon Dot for about $50. It does all the same voice control, it’s just that its speaker for playing music isn’t as good.)

  1. Polishing. we added a few more bits and pieces. Some IBeacons so we could play around with triggering lights to come on right when I get to the base of the wheelchair ramp. Contact sensor, again on sale for about $20, so I know if a gate gets left open. Another dog-friendly button or two. Just a few more devices to make the things that we already had work a little better. About another $100 altogether.

That just about finished the phase 1 budget, around $1400.

  1. Just one more thing…video doorbell. of course, there’s always one more thing. :sunglasses:

If I either didn’t count the smart watch in my budget, since after all I ended up using it mostly for other things, or I didn’t count the money that my roommate spent on the harmony, since he paid for that, then technically I stayed within my phase one budget. But realistically I went over by about 10%.

Because after I had the lock working so well, and the lights working so well, and voice working so well, I really wanted a way to see who was at the door so I would know whether it was worth it to take the five or six minutes it takes me to transfer from the couch to my wheelchair and go open the door. Or whether I could just use the intercom to tell someone I had already given the combination to that it was OK for them to come in. (Or use a voice text to tell my housemate to go let his friends in!)

I had planned on adding a video doorbell in phase 2, because I knew it would be useful, but there weren’t any that integrated with SmartThings and I wasn’t crazy about the reviews or the prices on them.

Then Amazon offered the Kuna smart lantern for $199. This is a Wi-Fi porch light that includes a motion trigger camera, a two way intercom, and a manual panic button Siren. Pretty much exactly what I wanted.

We have a different monitored security system which is not part of any of this project and not on the same budget. But it didn’t have the intercom or light feature.

The Kuna doesn’t integrate with SmartThings, but the feature set was just really good for me, and the price was good too. So I did end up getting it.

And then I stopped as planned. :pushpin: Well, sort of as planned, anyway.

And that’s where I stopped. There are a lot of other use cases I could do. There’s still a lot of lighting to consider, Some more switch options, the whole question of a thermostat, automatic door, gate, and window openers, window coverings, a window air-conditioner, a better bath lift than the one I have now, some automated shelving, the fantasy list goes on…

I have no idea what I will put into phase 2, or phase 3, or how much I will spend. I’m not even going to make a candidate list until late spring of 2016, because I just think there are going to be a lot more choices out there. But for now, by just picking these very specific use cases, I have significantly improved my daily life, and stayed pretty much on budget. (In spite of running out and buying some stuff I didn’t even know existed when I started.) All very practical, and of immediate use.

I’m not sure how much of it will carry over into phase 2. The only thing I really feel hundred percent confident of are the Hue smart bulbs. But I’m OK with that. I definitely feel I got my money’s worth for this initial phase. And then some. :sunglasses:

So that’s how I implemented in phases and stayed on budget. I suspect this approach has a lot to do with having previously looked at the medical support systems, because so many of them really are based on the idea that you will only be automating for one room, primarily for one person. Which is what gave me the sense that I didn’t have to pick the perfect switches to replace everything in the house. I didn’t have to solve all the problems at once. I didn’t have to fully integrate everything. I didn’t even have to know what all the problems to be solved would be. I could just start with something that would have an immediate payback for me.

Different Plans for Different People

I realize the people who are into home automation as a hobby will think about things completely differently. They’ll see a new gadget and wonder what they could do with it. Or just pick something because it will be a fun project that they’ll enjoy doing.

Or maybe someone just has a really strong aesthetic sense and they want to design every aspect of their living space so it meets their vision.

Me, I just wanted to be able to take less than 10 minutes to get the front door open. And not have to leave the TV on all day. Mission accomplished. :tada: (at least for phase 1. :wink: )

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JDROBERTS: thank you much for sharing your story. Very enlightening and humbling at the same time. I also want to thank you for your constant contributions to the forums. I’m brand new at this - started only a couple of weeks ago and more as a new found hobby than anything else - and there isn’t a single topic I have explored on the forums without finding some of your posts. Keep it up!

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Amazing Story!!! ST should do a blog story about you. :smile: Thank you very much for sharing!!!

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And for those who are more interested in the equipment lists. :sunglasses:

Final Budget for Phase 1:

Solved 3 major use cases:

1) Front Door and entry smart combination lock for front door with touchless interior switch, automatic porch light, video doorbell with two way voice intercom. IBeacon detection along wheelchair ramp to this door turns on interior lights as well. These devices are not fully integrated with each other, but they still work well in combination for me.

Uses zwave lock, 2 zigbee motion sensors, zigbee contact sensor, SmartThings, IBeacon, Philips Hue Bridge, and Kuna WiFi Lantern.

Revised equipment list after removing unstable items:
Uses HomeKit lock, iPhone, iBeacon, Philips Hue bridge, iBeacon, and Kuna WiFi Lantern

2) Voice controlled pathway lights in 7 semi open plan rooms (8 smart white bulbs with most rooms covered by two lights) .

“Bedroom path” lights living room, hallway, and bedroom; “Bathroom path” lights bedroom, hallway, bathroom, etc. Each light is in many different groups.

Setup includes three different dog-friendly button switches of different types (kitchen, livingroom, bedroom)

The rooms still have the traditional nonnetworked overhead lights with wall switches, but I don’t use them. I use voice control with table lamps. (Eventually we’ll replace the wall switches as well, but that wasn’t a phase 1 project.)

Uses Echo, Hue Bridge, SmartThings, 8 smart white bulbs, SmartenIT 3 toggle switch, Flic button, Hue dimmer switch, one motion sensor, one contact sensor.

Revised equipment after removing unstable items

Uses Echo, Hue Bridge, 8 smart white bulbs, 2 Flic buttons, 2 Hue dimmer switches, 2 Hue motion sensors.

($39 Hue motion sensors work well with the hue bridge. Another alternative is the Elgato motion sensor at $50 which can work to trigger any HomeKit event.)

3) Granular voice control of entertainment center with ability to switch between cable, Roku, and DVD player. Everything from “Alexa, trigger Pause Netflix” to “Alexa, trigger ESPN TV.”

Uses Echo and Harmony.

I also have widget and some voice control for all three cases using the Apple Watch. As someone who is quadraparetic, this is much easier for me to use than a phone.

I waited and bought a lot of things when they went on sale for three day home-improvement weekends. Amazon usually had the best regular prices, but Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and some of the online specialty sites ran occasional sales. I chose to only buy from places with good return policies.

Equipment costs:

Original List

Samsung SmartThings Hub ($99)
Zwave lock on sale ($200)
2 contact sensors and 3 motion sensors, bought on sale ($20 each)
Hue Bridge plus 2 white bulbs, on sale $70
6 more smart white bulbs ($15 each)
Smartenit 3 toggle switch ($50)
Hue dimmer switch ($25)
Flic button ($34)
Harmony Hub with remote on sale ($99)
Apple Watch ($350)
Echo ($179)
Estimote iBeacon ($34, part of a one hundred dollar 3 pack I split with friends)
Kuna lantern ($199)

Total cost for phase 1 before taxes: around $1,525

Revised list after removing unstable items
Homekit lock ($230)
Hue Bridge plus 2 white bulbs, on sale $70
6 more smart white bulbs ($15 each)
2 Hue dimmer switch ($25 each)
Hue motion sensor ($39)
Elgato motion sensor ($50)
2 Flic button ($34 each)
Harmony Hub with remote on sale ($99)
Apple Watch ($350)
Echo ($179)
Estimote iBeacon ($34, part of a one hundred dollar 3 pack I split with friends)
Kuna lantern ($199)

Total revised cost for phase 1 before taxes: around $1,459

November 1 2015 Update

There was a cloud platform update about two weeks ago and since then my SmartThings-based system has gone through major instability every day. 3 days last week I had to call my neighbor to come open my door because I couldn’t get out of the house easily. (I have a Plan B, I can manually work the turnbolt on the front door, but it is very tiring to do so.)

Every one of my 3 major use cases was affected. Lights would randomly go on and off, the door would unlock on its own but not unlock when it should, voice control of the home entertainment center failed.

The suggested solution was always the same–take the batteries out of battery-operated devices, open routines in the mobile app and change a few things and resave, reboot the SmartThings hub. All things that are physically very difficult for me. I realized I was paying close to $50 a week in aide time just to reset things that had been working the week before.

So I’ve dropped some features and moved to multiple more stable controllers. Echo and the Hue Bridge do very well with the lights. HomeKit gives me Lock control. On November 12, 2015 Amazon added triggers to their Echo IFTTT channel, giving me voice control of Harmony (bypassing SmartThings altogether). Very nice. Beecon+ has a very nice watch app I’m also using. Plus a couple of other individual apps.

I added a Hue motion sensor and an Elgato motion sensor once those were available.

Altogether, counting the standalone security system I always had, I now have 7 discrete home automation controllers and a bunch of apps. And fewer features than I had with the centralized SmartThings set up.

But–I expect to have to spend less than 20 minutes a week on maintenance instead of at least that much time each day, and I expect what worked on Monday to continue to work on Tuesday. So I’m OK with this for phase 1.

I did have to buy a new lock, which was an additional $230 in costs. I also used a slightly different mix of switches.

hopefully SmartThings’ reliability will improve in time for them to make my candidates list for Phase 2 next summer.

It’s been an interesting and educational project with a lot of practical benefits, and I did manage to stay close to my budget.

When SmartThings works well, it is my favorite home automation system. And the community is fantastic. It’s just that there’s no predicting what will change when, or what features will be broken for how long, and it requires a great deal of physical effort to maintain for someone in my situation. So I just can’t use it in anywhere that might affect my getting to the bus on time. :wink:

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Hey, someone (@JDRoberts) start a gofundme page or whatever, I’m sure the community can repay you for all that you do on here. Let’s get JDRoberts funded for a full blown HA solution so he doesn’t have to do it out of his own pocket!

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Way too kind, but there are people in much greater need than me, your money would go better elsewhere.

I’m really fortunate that I had a very good career before I became disabled (by the way, shout out to IBM who were fantastic when I first got sick) . And I come from a big family who are all really supportive and help in many different ways. So my TV is 10 years old, but it’s 42 inches. :sunglasses: I can afford an occasional smart gadget and I save up for the big stuff. I pay for HBO and sports channels. I get the extra large loaded pizza once in awhile. I certainly have to be careful with my money, but no more so than most people on these boards.

Yeah, if I could spend $10,000 a room, I could do a whole lot. But that’s true of most people on these boards too! LOL!

My budget is a reasonable budget for middle class home automation I think, between 200 and $500 a room. I just don’t want to spend it all until I know that I’m getting a solution that will be solid.

So again, thanks for the shout, but send your financial contributions to people who have a really serious need for the help. I’m doing OK, I’m just impatient like everybody else for the perfect economy home automation solution.

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Fair enough… Are you aware of any tech related assistance programs to help those in need? I’m sure as we close in on the end of the year, we could all use a place to put some money towards a good cause.

As humble as you are, you still should get a little extra for all that you give to the community.

My personal charitable support goes locally in my neighborhood, like a lot of people, and internationally to Save the Children, who I just think do really good work.

As far as individual tech projects, I think the selection of a charity is a very personal thing, it’s whatever speaks to you. So whether it’s something to get kids interested in robotics, scholarship funding, clean water, job training for people coming out of prison, accessible technology, whatever. If you feel the connection and you can help, go for it. :sunglasses:

Want to do me a favor?

Actually, if anyone would like to do me a personal favor, I’d really like to see people “pay it forward” by contributing an article to the new community-created wiki.

If you have a device you’re happy with, including one of the officially supported devices, you could help us all by creating the device page for it in the wiki so others can find out about it more easily. (Or if you have a device you hate and you want others warned! :rage:) There’s already a template, so it’s just filling in a few details. The wiki is for the factual descriptions, but you can include links back to the forum threads for discussions and opinions.

Or any other SmartThings-related topic where you feel the wiki needs expanding.

Also feel free to take any of my FAQs from the forum that aren’t already moved over and copy them into the wiki. Copy and paste is really hard for me, so that would be doing me a serious favor.

One of those many hands make light work, and the more people participating the better! :sunglasses:

Announcement of the new wiki project here:

@pstuart

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Great read JD. I’m looking forward to see how Phase 1 progresses with your existing hardware and what Phase 2 has in store.

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@JDRoberts

I thought I would bring this back to the top.

I’m very interested in your professional experience as to your opinion on the changes we have seen with ST, and what those have done to your plans for the future.

Learning from the Journey

I’ve learned a lot. I started out knowing what could be done with a control 4 system, and knowing I’d never be able to afford one. So I set a realistic budget, and at first I tried to get maximum functionality for the dollars I spent. But I found that for my own needs, stable and reliable have hit the top of my priority list. I’m willing to give up a lot of features to get those. I really need a “set and forget” system, because I physically have to depend on others to do even minor maintenance.

I’m very happy with the Phillips hue bridge, the Logitech Harmony, Lutron switches (no ST compatibility except indirectly through IFTTT), and echo.

I’ve been fairly happy with HomeKit, but it’s been very limited for the last year. But I really like the improvements in iOS 10. The new rules engine for HomeKit is super simple, no nested if’s, and the only triggers are Geopresence, time, and a few accessory characteristics. HomeKit doesn’t have AV controls now, but I don’t need those from HomeKit since the combination of echo and harmony work great. The Hue motion sensor and the Elgato motion sensor gave me back touchless switches in the Fall of 2016.

But I use home automation differently than a lot of people. It’s really to replace my hands. So voice control, motion controlled lighting and a few time schedules and I’m pretty well set. I don’t need to check temperature and Lux value and power draw and who’s home and who isn’t. I’m always home anyway. :wink:

The Echo is great, nothing comes close in terms of the hardware for far field voice recognition. But Siri is OK for those times when Echo is not appropriate, and I really like the convenience of the Apple Watch.

I never did use a smart thermostat. I live in California and the HVAC system isn’t on that much anyway. I have a programmable thermostat but it’s local.

I still use SmartThings for some sensor notifications, like the guestroom window being left open when rain is expected. It does that better than just about any other system. But it’s still not reliable enough for critical use cases.

Phase 2: Less is More

So my Phase 2 turns out to be a lot less ambitious than I’d expected, but also less costly. I ended up choosing minimal automation, solving only specific problems that I would otherwise have to have others do for me. And I’ve accepted the fact that I will probably continue to have multiple control systems for quite a while, and that’s fine.

So we might replace only one light switch in a room instead of four. Or just use a couple of table lamps with Hue white bulbs and leave the ceiling fixtures unchanged. There’s a Logitech Harmony on the TV that I use, but not on the other two. The window air conditioner in my bedroom has tablet controls; the others don’t. We added a nonnetworked motion sensor switch in the bathroom that I use ($20 and works great) and left the other bathroom unchanged. The door lock is handsfree for me–everybody else uses the keypad. The monitored security system is completely separate from the home automation system.

My housemates still use all the nonnetworked stuff, but I have a lot more independence and a house that works well for me. :sunglasses::bulb:

I don’t have anywhere near the kind of functionality that you have at your house, but mine is nearly maintenance free. Since March we have spent literally less than 10 minutes on the system, and that was to add voice control for a new Netflix subscription.

It’s not exactly the house of the future, but for me it’s way better than the house of the past when I had to ask somebody else to change the television channel for me. :tv: So I’m happy even if I ended up at a very different destination than I would’ve expected 18 months ago. But everyone will have their own journey.

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Thank you. As always, you’re very insightful. I appreciate your point of view, as it is determinedly different than my own.

Have you given askAlexa a run? It’s a bit if a bear to setup, but once it’s working it’s great. While it can practicing replace the stock echo integration, I’ve found that my family has transitioned it into a communication system. It’s integration with CoRE has allowed me to send custom voice messages to individuals in different parts of the house. While they are predetermined messages, you would probably be amazed at how few things are yelled through out the house; dinner time, come down stairs, be quiet, go to bed…

It seems that even though there are a lot of devices in my home, the automations have really been throttled back. There are a lot less than I expected there to be a year ago. The biggest things are the light levels based on modes, wake up and goodnight routines… The rest really are more voice controlled than anything.

I’m not sure what the future holds for my home and system, but I’m sure it’s going to be interesting.

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AskAlexa, and for that matter CoRE, would require too much maintenance for my household. Remember I have to pay somebody else to do anything that involves code as I rely on text to speech and it just doesn’t work for those kinds of applications. But again, I don’t need it at my house. No teenagers greatly reduces the amount of ambient chaos, so we don’t have as much to keep track of as you do! :wink:

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Am glad this topic popped up today for me, @JDRoberts – fascinating analysis & a wonderful use of home automation. [Always enjoy your engineering insight, but this write up describes an application that is both unique and, like using SmartThings as a home security monitor, requires reliability & dependable operation. Thanks!]

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@JDRoberts very inspiring write up that give lots of perspective. Thanks for taking the time and helping the committee.

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Mr. Roberts, I don’t know you personally, but wow you impress me on so many levels. Your knowledge, your willingness to share that knowledge, your articulation in explaining, your striving to improve your hardship without any feeling sorry for yourself. My admiration sir.

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@JDRoberts
You have been very helpful to me and I truly appreciate your replies to my questions and frustrations.and I am thankful for your vast knowledge. Thank you for posting this story. It is people like you that give us hope that Smartthings will succeed eventually and not let our investments be a waste of time. I would gladly contribute to a gofundme page for you. So many people are writing apps for Smartthings for monetary gain yet you ask nothing for your knowledge and the time you spend on this forum helping all of us newbies.
Thanks again, you are a good man!

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I haven’t even started reading this thread yet (from the top anyway), but when I noticed this post at the bottom (when I came down here to change it to ‘Watching’), I just had to chime in. I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with everything hbr just said. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the kind words, but I honestly don’t need a gofundme page. I had a good career before I got sick, I had decent disability insurance, and I’m in the same budget category as a lot of people on these forums. I have to be careful about what I spend, but I’m thankfully a lot better off than a lot of people in the world.

This post upthread was my response when someone else generously suggested this. It still stands. :sunglasses:

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Thank you for sharing this!
Robin

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