Gadgets that changed the way we used to do things

Yesterday’s post: How SmartThings has Affected You by @KevinH made me think about the gadgets in my home that have permanently changed the way my family used to do things around the house (ST and non-ST devices).

After taking a walk around our house, I discovered a few of these gadgets (beside everyone’s favorites like the Amazon Echo, Harmony remotes, Hue Lights, z-wave and zigbee sensors and switches).

Here is my top 10 + 1 products that have changed the way we do things… (not in any logical order - devices in bold are ST integrated)

UPDATE (1/25/2017) : thanks @jeremykeen for reminding me of this thread :smile:

Believe it or not, since I posted this, one ‘thing’ took the leading role of devices that changed the way I do things.

Amazon Alexa: because no home should be without a helper. Alexa now is integral part of my family. We are almost referring to it as her! In fact Alexa has become the ultimate home assistant, the EchoSistant…I really blame my new obsession on @bamarayne . Thanks a lot my friend!

  • Kwikest 914 Smart Lock (z-wave) - because no door should be left unlocked when it could be done automatically and without the fear of being locked out

  • Delta Touch2O faucet - because no soiled hands should touch a faucet.

  • Lutron Motion Switch - because no bathroom fan should run when you don’t need to and no bathroom should be dark when you walk into the room.

  • MimoLite Relay - because no garage door should stay closed when your car approaches.

  • HoneyWell Z-wave T-stat because no family should heat and cool a home when no one is there.

  • TECHO Touchless Toilet Flush - because no kid will forget to flush when it’s fun to do it.

  • Securifi Key Fob because there is no need to use your phone to arm/disarm the security system, open the garage door and turn on/off the lights in the house, when you only need 4 little buttons on your sunvisor that does all of that.

  • Mr. Coffee Wemo enabled - because the coffee should be ready when you wake up in the morning.

  • Keen Vents because no family member should be colder or hotter than the rest of the members, unless they want to.

  • MyQ Opener - because one must know if SmartThings presence sensor misfired and accidentally opened the garage door

  • Rachio Iro - because no drop of water should go to waste when is pouring outside

  • Bloomsky - because no home should be without a personal weather station

Do you have any gadgets in your home that changed the way you do things?

  1. A smart lock. We have three adult housemates in our house, and lots of people coming and going. That includes friends, family, and health aides. Very first project we did was to add a smart combination lock. This worked great and everybody liked it. Once we added a motion triggered camera at the front door it was even better. Now no one’s who’s supposed to get in ever gets locked out, the health aides and friends coming to a party can be let in without someone having to go to the door, we can issue temporary codes if needed, and no one ever forgets to lock the door because it has an Autolock. And I don’t have to get up at three in the morning because the second roommate forgot his key again. :sunglasses:

I had mine on the list, I don’t know how I omitted it, it’s probably the single most popular device in our family. I’ll update my post :slight_smile:

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Dang @SBDOBRESCU you have each of those things and in some cases multiples?

I guess I am a simpleton. Here are my comments on the list - what I have, don’t have, and possibly won’t have.

Someday. Neat. Not a huge priority. Not enthused with their efficacy in bathrooms I use.

Have these in Laundry, Guest Bath and Basement long before I had ST. Super reliable. Will use them before ST where ever they make sense.

Have MyQ and now Go Control since the debacle with MyQ. I still prefer to manually control the door for openings. In fact I use the opening event to queue automations.

Yea, had wifi stats at the old house. Another example of automations before there was a hub and integrations.

Very little interest here. Never have I thought I can’t flush my toilet.

Use a minimote in my car for the same thing.

Use a outlet switch on ST to control my hot water pot - I use a french press.

No interest here. Neat. But I am not convinced they are needed and in fact HVAC folks say they are bad for your system. I am no expert, but I am good until there is some empirical data.

Have a old school panel. It has a rain sensor on it. I don’t live in a drought area. Works good enough. I’d have to be bored to spend the money to replace it.

Say what? Now you’re just straight up having too much fun. This thing is ridiculous.


I will add, even though I think it’s a neat tech - I don’t have interest in Alexa - I don’t think I would use it and don’t like the idea of more cloud mics in my house. I have invited them in on my smartphone for example. So if the utility is really there, for me, I will do the same.

Yes. Have smart locks on each exterior non-sliding door. Would love the same for sliders if it were possible. If for no other reason than status.

So for me:
Locks, Switches, Motion Sensors, Thermostats, Garage, Minimotes, Doorbells, Sirens…

Doesn’t seem magical when I list out the basic functions I have there. Because it’s not. The magic is in the Apps like CoRe that pull it all together, and yes the idea of a HA Hub that allows that to happen.

I have some separate systems as well.They will likely collapse as IoT HA matures.


Voice-control interfaces (currently that’s Echo for the house and Android phone-based Google for my vehicle). Can you believe that we used to actually use our hands to manually operate light switches? I mean…c’mon, old bean…we’re not savages!


Yes, I can argue that none of the HA gadgets are a must have, until you come to depend on them. I disagree on the usefulness of those you have no interest, Rachio and Keen make life comfortable (Keen) and save a buck or two (Rachio). I agree with wave flashing toilet. That was fun for kids. These poor little guys will grow up not knowing how to write their own names let alone how to turn the lights on or flush a toilet. And just as they have no clue what VHS or rotary phone is, they would have no idea why kids were wearing their house keys around their necks.

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Touch-less faucets - nope - another of those things I don’t need, and not sure of how well they actually work anyway.

I would like one of the manual - foot pedal ones for the kitchen (handsfree).

Lutron occupancy switches, bath, basement stairwell, garage - have done this or similar going way back to x-10 days.

Locks - no real need. Retired 2 person household - now if there was kids or a regular schedule, maybe.

T-stat. Currently not, would like to but so far, unable to find something compatible.
I have a newer Carrier, muli speed fan. None seem to control fan speed , fan only, or muliple speeds (any HVAC guys?.)

Same for a Split unit - all the ones I’ve seen seem to have teething issues . Tado seems the most likely so far.

Garage Door - My Q someday, though not much need to open/close remotely. I do currently monitor status. I also have the luxury of 2 relatives living close. If it would show UP while away they can close it. In fact - I’d get more use having the ability to monitor THEIRS :slight_smile:

Doors closed - currently do some, but not all.

Windows - same

Outbuildings - I have several sheds - outbuildings, monitor doors.

Basement and garage lights - monitor if not turned off. Both on a Zwave switch

Sump pump - I have a secondary small pump that I run while sleeping as the primary is loud.

Landscape Lighting - simple timer

Bird bath - I run a heated one in the winter - zwave outlet to turn on if blow 33

Spotlight - have one viewing the backyard. Can turn on with a Minimote. Have programed to turn on for 1 min, then off.

MISC- have 5 of the outdoor modules, can use for Christmas lights or anything needed on an irregular basis (part of the $5.00 Lowe’s deals)

Amazon Echo - for all the usual uses. wife likes it if she needs to turn off something.

Eventually will be adding

Harmony hub

Hopefully T stat

Add more switches/dimmers.

Already have a camera viewing the rear that feeds into 1 port of the TV - will setup a routine to switch inputs and turn on the spotlight

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And as always… “Your use case is not my use case.” :wink:

Samsung itself has recently been talking about the value of home automation and allowing seniors to remain in their own homes even if they have additional physical limitations. And of course there are people who are disabled.

A cool but unnecessary feature for one person might be an essential quality of life factor to another.

Since the Paralympics will be starting soon, thought I’d share this amazing trailer from a UK broadcaster. Seriously awesome. :sunglasses:


Yup, it’s always interesting to hear how vastly different people are using IoT HA.

I pick up tons of ideas for sure, of course most of it does not appeal to me, but some are gems. That’s what’s cool, an ideal IoT HA is flexible to do what you want it to do.


The majority of my devices are on/off switches. I decided to go with these because I have a lot of kids and my parents live with us. I would come home from work and my house could be a beacon from space with so many lights on. So, I decided to automate them. I have reduced my monthly electric by about $75.00.

I got the two thermostats so I could automate the zones in the house and monitor it from away. Using HA I’ve saved some there as well, just not sure how much. But the main concern was family comfort.

I got my echo devices for one simple reason… They are freakin awesome! The family loves the voice control, especially being able to announce things on the speakers just by telling her to do it.

I originally got my garage door opener for the welcome automation. But I quickly discovered that ST is to unstable to give control over a door. So, I only automate it via third party control.

All of my color bulbs and light strips are really just toys. I thought they were neat and the ones used the most for color are the gardenspot minis.

One thing my family really appreciates are the routines. Going downstairs in the morning and the temp is just right, the lights are on and dimmed, music is playing. It’s a great way to start the day. That and my kids have sunrises in their rooms every day, no matter the weather.

I don’t have a large diversity of devices and when I break it all down there really isn’t that much going on in the house. There are quite a few things going on behind the scenes temp, lights off, presence, garage door open… It seems that with 150 devices there would be a lot more going on.

I have the harmony hub and remote for one reason only. My baby was sick and sleeping in my arms and the remote was across the room. To Get it meant waking her. Now, I just say what I need.


Given that I’ve switched over entirely to LED bulbs for everything I doubt I could spend $25/mo on electricity for lighting even if I left every one of them on full brightness (most are dimmable) 24/7, let alone shave $75 off my bill just by shutting them off earlier each day. And that’s based on summer time, when my rates are the highest. During the winter I could run 40 60W-equivalent LED bulbs around the clock for just a hair over $3/mo.

I’d have to say my family (still at home with me, 2 ladies) favorite thing is the Schlage lock. No more keys required or door unlocked before they get to it. That together with lighting automation so they don’t walk into a dark house.

Number 2 would probably be the bedtime routine. We’ve all gotten spoiled and just leave everything on till we trigger the routine on our way to bed.

We’ve gotten lazy, and spoiled.

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My electric is 12.5¢ p/kwh. So, shutting down everything I can as quickly as possible saves me a bit.

Using the ST logs I did a rough estimate of time on for 25 bulbs. This time on was the time AFTER everyone had left the room. (When I started this HA adventure I’d have the timeout set at ten to fifteen minutes before the lights turned off)

I figured I had 25 bulbs staying on about 4 wasteful hours per day. That’s 16.25¢ per day

I cut the time to 2 minutes. Which is only 40 minutes a day. That’s only 2.7¢ per day.

13.55¢ per day is $4.07.

That’s just cutting down those minutes and roughly averaging the wasted time. I was able to do that in a lot of places. My wife was always leaving the fans on… Table fans and ceiling fans… I saved about 15.00 there… Then the tv’s… Computers…

I killed a lot of vampires… It all adds up fast.

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You keep calculating your TCO so you can justify further purchases. Biased math is biased. You aren’t fooling anyone.


There is merit to that. I was surprised to see that my DVR uses 35W on standby, that alone is 3 bucks a month. But I agree with @DParker the biggest buck for the money was to use LEDs. Oh if you don’t have a HEM like the Aeon one, you need to get one. It really puts things into perspective.


[quote=“bamarayne, post:13, topic:54640”]
13.55¢ per day is $4.07.[/quote]

That sound like you’re a little heavy on 100W equivalent LEDs. So…where did the other $71.93/mo in savings on lighting come from?

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I’ve got about 30 smart bulbs… 13 watts each, and around another 40 dumb leds. I think the dumbs are around 9 watts.

I have 7 tv’s
7 ceiling fans and 4 floor fans…

Lots of things left on when not needed. The bulbs are only part of the things on my switches.

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Beside all my awesome automations which I have detailed before, this is one of the most effective items I have ever installed in my house.

It uses no electricity, but saves tons! My power company runs programs where they sell very low cost led bulbs, and I got four of these with them. I didn’t think much about it until I installed one, and realized how awesome they are.

Before I had these, we’d catch the kids playing in their rooms, general dilly dallying while hot water was running down the drain. No more. Wish I had hard numbers to back up my feelings, but I am positive these have impacted my energy bill in a very positive way.

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Oh noooo you didn’t…Now I’ve got to get these…

Ah, OK…my bad. I seem to have erroneously interpreted your first paragraph as meaning you’d saved $75/mo just by automating your lighting, and I couldn’t see how unless you lived in a Vegas casino.