Over the last decades, technology has evolved so much that it allows us to provide affordable home automation that is more applied to humans. The IKEA TRADFRI product line and the Philips Hue lights reflect affordable home automation that can be seen as a commodity product today. The smart assistants, on the other hand, are an entirely new range of innovative products with a human-like interface that brings the connected home closer to its residents.
Manufacturers of household appliances are releasing more and more connected versions of their products. Startups are developing new innovative ‘connected’ products that do not yet exist. Even suppliers you wouldn’t expect, such as Rituals, active in home & body cosmetics, release a connected version of their perfume diffuser with their Genie 2.0.
Most of these ‘connected’ products have a good out-of-the-box user experience, are easy to install and bring some added value to our lives. What is unfortunate is that they are isolated solutions, which do not have the openness and integration possibilities to talk to each other. At best, vendors offer or refer to an IFTTT integration (if-this-than-else) to link things together, but to be honest, you will quickly reach the limits of this approach. On the other hand, there is the open-source community that offers solutions such as Openhab, Hassio, Zigbee2mqtt and Homebridge to name a few and offer a lot of functionality to build your own connected home.
This is the playground for the technical skilleld people. The internet is crowded with DIY smart home implementations brewed by people making use, or even contribute to the open-source community projects. Many people invest their time in it for free, they do it for the honour and are proud when someone uses one of their contributions to the community. In most cases these products are superior to commercial solutions on many levels, such as the available features, the speed to support new products, the openness and (of course) the price. You can’t beat a free meal!
The downside is that it is complicated for non-technically skilled people to work with these platforms. It is a rather long learning curve and requires a lot of patience. The reality of this DIY approach is that you will spend a lot of time looking for answers and hoping that someone has solved the problem for you. It is slow, often requires a lot of research, but the reward is high!
This was my motivation to write this ‘cookbook’. I try to avoid spending time reinventing the wheel. Giving an overview of what is available, free-of-use, providing ‘ready-to-use’ building plans using feature-rich open platforms where less technical skilled people would be able to successfully build a solution within a reasonable amount of time.
I hope you will enjoy it.
Peter Leemans ×