Killer app?

Just curious what others found to be the best use of or way to use their smart home stuff. I’ve been wanting to “go smart” for a long time, tried X-10 years ago but it was kind of a joke, finally jumped into SmartThings late last year w/my new home. I have been surprised to find out that the real killer app for me is voice control thru my Echo devices (up to three now). I almost never pull out my phone to control anything - I do it all through automation and voice control, and I REALLY LOVE the voice control. Without it this would be much less fun and much less useful.
Your thoughts?

There are quite a few topics of this type, like the best things to do with SmartThings, etc. It always turns out that different people have different use cases and so they like different features and capabilities.

For example, I myself really like voice control and depend on it, but we do have a couple of community members who are physically not able to vocalize so they would never use a voice assistant. And a couple of members who believe that home automation’s ultimate goal should be about the house knowing exactly what to do next without having to be told anything!

So lots of different people have lots of different ideas. Choice is good. :tada:You might want to take a look at the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, in particular, the “get started” list under the project report section. That’s where most of the “what’s your favorite…” Topics are listed. :sunglasses:

Actually I thought this would fit well in the stories section as I’m really just curious to hear the stories of others and what they found out about how smart home stuff worked for them.

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I agree with you. It was Alexa that finally created a serious wife acceptance of the smart home project here.

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It’s “projects and stories” as the full name in this forum. On the quick browse lists, the lists themselves are just divided into three sections: smartapps, device type handlers, and project reports. But it’s the same threads. :sunglasses:

My wife hasn’t totally bought in yet, but she does appreciate the light in the living room that I programmed to blink red and blue if someone comes to the front door or pulls into our driveway.

Ok, story time. I started out with X-10 mainly for automating security lighting. At first (1982?) all they supported in the way of automation was a light timer. As the device capabilities got more sophisticated (motion and light detectors, etc.) I added perimeter motion detection to turn on exterior lights, foolishly trying to repel deer. By 2005 I was finally able to get my roadside mailbox to turn on a light indoors and sound a chime (with a motion detector mounted inside the mailbox, which oddly also alerted every time the garbage truck went by). Sadly this project took literally two years to perfect, mainly due to buggy controller software and the awful radio performance of the cheap motion detectors. I had to make a dipole antenna in the attic and amplify the signal with a cable tv amp to get it to work.

Ten years later thanks to SmartThings and other device makers and of course the community here, my mailbox triggers a spoken message and continues to verbally nag me every 10 minutes till I pick up the mail , but only if I’m home. If I’m out, it will text me so I can stop for the mail on my way in the driveway. Some days I get no mail at all so it saves me a trip.

Just tonight I got a verbal warning that my freezer temperature threshold was exceeded (thanks to an Iris contact/temp sensor mounted inside). Sure enough, it was 16 degrees in there; it’s prone to happen when I stuff things on the upper shelf and obstruct one of the air outlets; earlier today I had done exactly that.

I have another temp sensor stuck on my aquarium; not good enough for accurate temperature reading, but good enough to alert me if the heater fails stuck on or off. I also monitor the filter pumps (power) so I can tell if they’re running normally. I can also temporarily turn off the circulator pump without crawling under a shelf and pulling a plug. It makes maintenance easier, and I get alerted if I forget to turn it back on (or it will turn itself back on after 5 minutes). At feeding time, the circulator turns off automatically and another verbal reminder plays; giving me enough time to finish that chore before it turns the pump back on again. I have moonlights in the tank programmed to come on before dawn, and again when the main lights turn off so the light transition is easier on the fish.

Just for laughs, I programmed an audio track of aggressive dogs barking into my Aeotec doorbell. This will play when the deck motion detector activates and I’m not at home. If I’m lucky the racoons will hear it when they visit (I have a lot of wildlife in my yard). When I am home, a softer chime will sound when someone comes to the doors or approaches the garage. At night if the backyard motion sensor triggers, a spotlight on the deck turns on. This was intended to startle the deer but probably just makes it easier for them to decide what to eat. I also have it set up to momentarily turn on lights inside the garage and sequentially elsewhere in the house, just in case the intruder is human.

I have my DVR set on a SmartPlug; its one of two that I don’t often use(I hate wasting electricity) but like to have ready during primetime tv hours. So it turns itself on and off at the appropriate time. Or I can override that behavior (if there’s something to record late at night) by hitting a virtual switch.

There are a lot of other things I’ve set up as well; some minor and some major conveniences. Voice control of lights and audio equipment, the ability to see what’s going on inside and outside my house when I’m away, etc. Little by little it has embedded itself into my lifestyle and I’d find it hard to live without.

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