Today I was thrust back into home automation with two things.

The first was a bulb I was testing with SmartThings, the GE Link A19, Soft White (2700K), 60 Watt Equivalent. GE has an automation product line (www.wink.com), similar to SmartThings (but limited to lighting only), which they say is a MUST for the A19. The Link A19 and the entire Philips Hue collection (which I have not delved into, yet), are compatible with the SmartThings system and any controller capable of using ZigBee protocol that we discussed some of in Part 1. …

This week I decided to use some of my tax return and jump into the mysterious world of home automation. I’m going to be going through all the bits and pieces on here and with reviews in Cowen’s Corner. This is just a tease, as I’m still letting the dust settle.

I went with the SmartThings ecosystem.

There were three primary reasons for why this product and not one of the many others.

1) Cost — The SmartThings Hub was among the least expensive for the features offered. It’s a pay once solution with no subscription fees.
2) Flexibility — The SmartThings ecosystem works with the major standards of “internet of things” and home automation. Primarily “Z-Wave” is represented along with the “ZigBee” protocol. These standards make up the backbone of the “internet of things” in your connected home. If you have a security system that has wireless sensors on doors and windows, you might already have some of these in your home.
3) Integration with other pioneers on the internet. So far, I would be lost without recipes from IFTTT (IF This Then That) For instance, IFTTT allows me to record when the front door is locked or unlocked to a spreadsheet on my Google Drive. It is location aware based on my phone., so if I leave the area it will lock the door and turn off my phone’s WiFi. I’ve also set times of day for when that door should be locked by default. It makes that happen and sends me an alert and records it on the sheet. With other partners like Life360 (which I just came across) you can really get a handle on how your family can benefit from some automation and the piece of mind of know where anyone is at a given time. …


Andy Cowen

Technician, Craftsman, Husband, Father, Friend, Geek.

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