What would you put in an ultimate Smart Home?

@JDRoberts @scottinpollock I let them know and spoke with them about pro’s, they don’t want to spend that kind of $ and would like to just wait and see what next year brings :relieved: Thanks guys, I learned a lot and your input is greatly appreciated!

I stand by my response above. If you can establish minimal expectations from your Client, you have the opportunity to set them and yourself up for future ongoing business to incrementally automate their home. Client relations are a delicate dance. If you focus on only “tried and true” technology, it is easier to maintain your reputation and client satisfaction, but you may lose potentially profitable ongoing support and growth opportunities. Offering a sample SmartThings (etc.) setup, is an opportunity to “wow” them, while establishing a partnership relationship – i.e., we’re in this together for the mutual purpose of experimenting with new technology.

The wasted cost of potentially “disposable” components (e.g., low priced cameras, unproven vendors with known hiccups, etc.) can still be far lower than professional systems, depending on the type of consumer and your relationship with them.

This way they can experience many benefits of home automation without a large upfront or contract term commitment.


Different people will have different philosophies on this. As Terry says, much depends on your relationship with your clients.

speaking just for myself, I wouldn’t demo anything for clients I wasn’t ready to install and support now. I’d rather be the guy with the stuff that works than the guy with the explanations for why the stuff that worked on the day I demoed it isn’t working today. But that’s just me… :wink:


Regarding locks for a smart home…

The combination lock is the device everybody likes at our house, including the people who live here, the people who work here, and family who come to visit occasionally all really like it.

A smart lock doesn’t have to be networked to be useful if all you want are the combination lock features.

Once it’s networked, you have the ability to unlock it when you’re away from home. Or to unlock it based on the button press combined with the present sensor. High priority for some people, completely unimportant for others.

But now comes the big question: which network protocol to use? Again, this is why knowing what controller you’ll use matters a lot.

Professional security companies often use a zigbee version, in part because they can use a proprietary dialect for more security.

SmartThings and most similar DIY home automation work best with the Zwave versions.

However, apple’s homekit is only going to work with specific Bluetooth versions. Schlage and Kwikset have both said they will create locks of this type, but you can’t buy them yet. August also intends to create a deadbolt adapter which can be used with existing non-smart locks, but their HomeKit version isn’t available yet either.

So you could buy pretty much any smart combination lock now, and use it without a hub just to get the combination lock. But you might have to replace it all together depending on the ultimate home automation system that you ultimately choose. You might be willing to do that now with one lock, but doing it with three or four gets pretty pricey.

I know I may have to eventually replace my front door lock if I end up choosing a different ecosystem than the one I have now. But that was worth it for me for what will end up being about two years of use.

Whether it’s worth it to somebody else just depends on their individual circumstances. Just another example of why it’s difficult to select the end devices until you know what the controller for the network will be.

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Here’s a different perspective, JD…

Most of the controllers for new (up-and-coming?) Home Automation networks are or will support multiple protocols and/or bridges, and cloud-to-cloud integration. SmartThings, for example, already supports Z-Wave, ZigBee, and many LAN (WiFi) devices or bridged devices (Philips Hue), even infrared and low frequency (433Mhz). The proof is not so much the officially supported devices list, but what the Community has been able to integrate; Hub V2 will have some Bluetooth support.

If the controller is limited to only Z-Wave, or only ZigBee, that will soon be considered a rather closed system and, well, speculatively, the market may swing away from that. A casual observation is that some current products have, indeed, focused only one on or the other, but they may expand in future versions (Vera & Iris :arrow_right: Z-Wave, PEQ :arrow_right: Zigbee, … ?).

The major protocols for locks are likely to remain the same for a while, though the popularity of each will vary. Locks come in Z-Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth (BLE), WiFi, and NFC (and probably a few other communication methods). Perhaps manufacturers may start to offer multi-protocol versions in order to maximize marketability and not have to maintain separate product lines – but I think that is rare now.

Home Automation used to be a rather static decision, but I think it’s moved to the “upgrade cycle” category of consumer electronics. People expect to upgrade their laptops, smart phones, and TVs every 2 or 3 years. A complete overhaul of your HA network would be an expensive proposition, so I hope the industry realizes that interchangeable components are an essential feature for consumers.

SmartThings is definitely THE model company, at this moment, with that "open-hardware / any Thing-Device) philosophy; at least from a hardware perspective. Swapping out the “controller vendor” will also mean re-doing all the automation rules (“software”) you’ve implemented. A standard rules language and cloud protocol would be a wonderful advancement for the “entire” industry … but that is a long way off; though third-party cross-vendor rules engines, like IFTTT, recognize and are capitalizing on that exact opportunity.

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I hear what you’re saying, I just think it’s going to play out a little differently.

Both nest and apple’s homekit are going to be big for DIY home automation in a year or so. Each has their own proprietary standard. Neither one is going to work with a zwave lock.

The only hub I know that has signed up to be certified by both nest and Apple homekit is Insteon. No idea how that’s going to end up working. But Insteon doesn’t work with zwave locks either.

Smartthings supports vanilla zigbee and basic set zwave. They’ve said there will be a bluetooth antenna in V2, but not how it will be used. No way to know whether they will go towards supporting even more protocols by summer 2016, or whether they will shift and work on providing more features within the protocols they already have.

But I don’t see a strong industry trend towards supporting a lot of multiple protocols in one controller. Nor towards interchangeable components. There’s room for a couple of players that want to offer multiple protocol support but I don’t think it will be an overall theme in home automation.

We’ll see what happens.

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When I spoke with them, I did exactly this, they want to start small and expand with time. for now, their camera system will be stand alone and work with the ST items that i have in my own house and see how they do. We have a very good relationship and more or less are willing to play with it at the same level i do myself. I agree with your posts as well and appreciate your input. I love the different perspectives here

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