Thanks Ed, this is great to know…
While I was surprised to find there are no “simple” speakers readily available (on ST site or SmartHomeDb), Echo is still in the running because it also adds potentially interesting additional things. So maybe I’ll just get it, and be done with the particular issue of needing a speaker. We really do want to know when we get mail or have motion out front because I average 1 or 2 packages a day, half the time they don’t knock, and I’ve had stuff sit overnight in the rain before because I didn’t know there was something there. We don’t always have our phones on us and if we do, we can’t always check to every single notification chime quickly, so it’s good to just plain old hear “motion out front”.
Listen. If I can say,
I am new to smart homes (Wink, Smart Things) and find them a real mixed blessing. I went with smart home tech because I found task-specific items too limited. For example, Heath/Zenith has quite a broad line of motion-sensitive flood lights … but of course the sensors on these things only control the light, and will not send notifications or do anything else. So there are tons and tons of decent, low -cost task-specific devices out there. But none of them work with other things. Not even some of the top-shelf DIY, e.g., security motion sensor systems will talk to anything else, nor are they particularly flexible even for motion sensing. (They can’t touch the flexibility and interconnectivity of smart home systems.)
But there are SO few actual smart devices available in quite a few categories, compared to the broad avalanche of items that are not smart. For example, this question about audio speakers. And, importantly for me, I can hardly even find a single outdoor-capable smart motion sensor. WTH? There are a hundred non-smart ones out there. Yes, they’re on a flood-light mount or whatever but still, the technology is obviously out there in inexpensive form. Another example: I’m having real trouble with a mailbox sensor - apparently it’s too far to communicate well? Even with a relay? (I have another thread on how comms with a ST Door Sensor are super spotty once it needs a relay. I don’t mean due to distance; I just mean timeliness of reporting when using a relay. And it definitely does need a relay, for my mailbox.) There are plenty of door sensors that have no problem communicating longer distances in the non-smart areas. I spent a lot more for a smart system and device that is, in one sense, surely far more flexible - but also, far more limited?? (in distance or relay or something)
And then whenever I ask about how to make something work, everybody chimes in with endless add-on apps. It’s like, holy cow, do I have to spend my whole life tweaking just to know when I got mail? lol
I am exaggerating some. But still, I don’t want to spend months of my life trying to get a nice smart home. Ideally I want to spend all of zero hours on it. I want it all working right out of the box. But clearly the technology is very very far from there. So I chose SmartThings over the other possibilities because at least it has the most potential (with all the developers and apps), even if it is far far more work and searching than I anticipated.
Oh well. What’s new under the sun? If you want something cutting edge, you gotta bleed, I guess. Hehe.
And let me thank you again. You guys really are helpful here. Even if I wish I didn’t need help because it was all straightforward already, laugh.