"Smart Home" deployments

I know we have had discussions in multiple threads that touch on the topics of smart homes and devices including the possible privacy issues with devices always listening.

Putting aside that particular concern for the moment (though it is valid IMHO), has anyone "gone all in " so to speak on a smart home deployment, amazon, apple or google (or mixed)?

The reason I ask is I volunteered for a mid term project to fully explore possible uses cases and deployments now that all of the big players have coalesced around a core base standard protocol in MATTER.

So in my house at the moment, I have three Amazon Echos, an echobee smart thermostat, two Eufy smart locks, a Google Home speaker, an unreleased (so can’t name names yet) smoke and air quality detector, as well as MATTER enabled smart TVs from Samsung and LG as well as a ring doorbell and a couple of ring out door cameras. As well as already having a Sonos soundbar home theater system. And to tie them all together, an Eero mesh nettwork.

And God help me, my wife has been looking at Samsung’s smart fridge…

So a couple of quick observations right off the bat. One is that despite the allegedly common support for the MATTER protocol on all the devices getting them all setup and configured and talking to each other has proven to be one of the more technically complex and challenging undertakings I have done in a good while.

To start with, the seeming only successful way to get these going without all levels of weird glitches is to initially setup and configure each device in isolation first and then device, by device join them to the larger whole system.

And despite Amazons, Google’s and Apple’s at least implied promise that you could/should be able to manage the menagerie via the Alexa, Google Home, or Apple home apps respectively, so far that has been the source of more frustration and missteps than general success.

That all being said I’m already finding some positives such as being able to “move” music I was listening to, to another room as I move there, or for example being able to check and get alerts from the ring doorbells or the two cameras, not only from my phone, but from both televisions.

It also has had it’s share of odd/humorous moments such as the response to the query “what’s the weather” providing three divergent responses with occasionally the various voice assistants literally attempting to talk over each other :laughing:

One last purely technical comment is don’t even think about trying to deploy more than a couple of devices on a typical one access point wifi device. Smart homes like most office/commercial spaces work far better with mesh WIFI systems.

OTOH, I think there is a career path for someone that has mastered this tech as a consultant for deploying them.

Anybody else dipped their toes in to this, beyond just a smart speaker?

EDIT forgot to mention about a half dozen Philips Hue bulbs/light sources as well


A bit of a tangent, but would this all work better on a wired network tied to a high speed copper or fiber internet connection? I’m about to tear out the walls of my house I’m so frustrated even with an early EERO mesh network.

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Wired is always going to be more reliable and performant than wireless. However multiple devices such as the smart locks and the echobee are WIFI only. And that seems to be the trend as even devices that originally had ethernet ports have dropped them in subsequent later product releases such as with the echobee.

and BTW Mesh networks are another area where they are very easy to setup…BADLY while being somewhat challenging to actually do properly including requiring tools like at a minimum a hardware WIFI signal meter/checker.


Relevant The Verge article from today:

We have a dual fuel system with a natural gas furnace and heatpump. It is controlled by a Carrier Smart Thermostat. Above 32 (F) degrees, it selects natural gas or electricity as the fuel for the system, depending on price. If we add solar, it would address that as well. The whole house is on a thermostatically contolled zone system with each outlet controlled independently.

We have a Ring system on the outside (doorbell and cameras where our outside lights use to be).

We have three smart TV’s and Sonos Wireless speakers for music but we don’t have any of them online. No smart speakers. Our phones listen to us enough.

The verdict. They all seem to work somewhat well but none of them work as seamlessly as promised.

Next up, a robot vacuum.


We have a house full of Echos and smartlights. They work reasonably well for us to be able to to tell the lights what to do. Alexa will answer my kids’ incessant questioning long after I’ve lost patience.

We have a few Ring lights and cameras, but I don’t mess with those often. I stopped installing the app a few phone upgrades ago.

Our barn came with smart garage door opener, but we’ve had issues with the door mechanisms (track and lift) that ultimately resulted in it not being worth it to keep it hooked up to the motor, so that hasn’t worked in probably two years now. Not that we have room to put a car in there right now anyway.

That’s what basements are for. :vb-agree:

Oh no, there’s no way we could get a car into the basement. :wink:

My husband has a motorcycle and drum habit that rivals my tablet collection, in addition to bikes for a family of 5, two powerwheels, and a mower and other lawn tools big enough to maintain 2 acres.

We live in an early 1800’s farm house. The basement is old stone storm cellar and can only be accessed from the outside. We like where we live, but an interior accessible basement is high on the wish list for the next one.


I am no engineer, but I have often wondered why systems like this are not tied to an underground piping system to draw outside air into the house to moderate heating and cooling. For example, why not just draw in outside air when it is 78 degrees; or more purposefully, why not run the underground system because the temperature is moderate subsurface? Require too much piping?

:vb-lol: :vb-lol: :vb-lol:

I’m lucky enough for things line a Ring to be absolutely useless. People just walk in too each others homes, sometimes even getting a tea and helping themselves to a snack (reciprocally of course).

I do have Hue lights and Echos. They work as they should is all I can say. I wasn’t too happy about being pushed into getting the new Hue Hub, as I don’t notice any difference.

If an appliance leaks or catches fire? Well, before anything could be done it’d be too late. If my insurance bothered to offer a discount for having extra sensors for them (obviously there are smoke detectors), then I’d bother.

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I’ll follow this thread closely, because I’m just now beginning to look into this. I’m considering a smart thermostat, something like the one linked below, just so I don’t have to go two flights down to change the ground floor temperature. I’m leaning to using it with Apple Homekit just because I trust Apple more than Google or Amazon with my information. I have some reading to do though, because I have no clue what I’m getting myself into if I commit to HomeKit.

The smart thermostat is quite good at accomplishing this if your home is properly zoned. We have three separate zones with individual thermostats. Still, it took a long time to get everything adjusted correctly. The zones affect each other and you can throw off the other zones by setting one of them wtih a range that is too far for the system to handle.

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Yeah, I already noticed some of that behavior with our three zone system. The other thing is that I’d like to be able to check whether I did in fact properly set the AC after I’ve left on a long trip. $150 is a small price to pay for peace of mind. :slight_smile:

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We have a Google Nest Mesh system (the wifi points act as smart speakers) as well as several other Google mini speakers, basically one in each room other than the kids’ rooms. We also have smart lights both inside our house and outside, and a Nest thermostat. We have a smart Garage door opener but I haven’t tried to connect it to Google yet. Everything else works with “Hey Google” pretty easily though.

I have a light at the entrance to my office door that I have set to red, and I turn it on when I start work meetings with “Hey Google, turn on the office light”. It lets the wife and kids know not to come in at that time. Which is important, because my 4 kids are homeschooled, so we’re all in the house most of the day together. The kids use the Google mini’s quite a bit for their school with questions to expound on things they’re learning, or when they ask my wife something and she replies “that’s a Google question”. We use the voice controls for the thermostat much less often, but it is helpful sometimes.

Next on my list of smart devices I want is a few smart switches for our fans and for one of our projectors that is mounted up high so I don’t have to worry about finding the remote for it. I also would like a smart lock for our door because I do early morning workouts before the sun is up and they’re generally quieter than me fumbling with the keys in the lock, and easier to open in the dark (and definitely quieter than going in and out of the garage).

I can’t imagine needing any other smart devices beyond those. I don’t really get the point of a smart refrigerator. What more should it do than keep my food cold?

Now, @Bronsky 's thermostat does sound pretty cool. If we went for something like solar, (which I can’t see doing anytime soon as I used to work for a solar company) I can definitely see using it more often.

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These are all great responses, thanks!

So on what is essentially day 3 now that I have everything (mostly) working together, the most useful thing I have found to put to practical use is multiple ITTT (If This Then That) routines such as more intelligent use of AC via the smart thermostat with turning it on or off when the ambient temp in the house reaches certain threshold, modified with time conditions as well.

For example when away we had previously reduced the AC to not switch on unless the temp exceeds 82 when we are away regardless of time. now we can gate it to startup an hour or so before we get home for the day.

Or timing our various outlets with smart devices to charge, to do so a couple of hours before we wake, instead of charging all night.

Or turning on a few lights keyed to opening the garage door.

PS: one other fascinating aspect of the voice command/control aspects is the variability of reliability and flexibility. eg. Alexa seems to get the command right most the first time, but with the requirement of fairly rigid syntax versus Siri being actually to execute commands with less precise or more variable syntax but also with greater likelihood of " I didn’t get that" types of responses.

BTW: The Philips hue lights have proven to be the most “fun” aspect in all this so far eg. my daughter has created a light setting “give me Prince lighting” which gives the lighting in our family/tv room a purple cast.


I think one of the strongest justifications for smart home deployments is the energy savings for things exactly like this. I was wondering, does part your pilot testing involve estimating the amount of power saved per month?

It would be an interesting case study to look at how long a smart home setup could “pay for itself”, based on average electrical inefficiencies in modern households.

Yes. Programable thermostats have been around for decades. The new versions add the ability to access remotely and reset the zones from your cell phones. I do the same thing you do and access the thermostat when I am starting out for home.

Desert Southwester here - how much of a load does it add to your HVAC to bring the temp back DOWN from 82 or above (this week we are going to average 103 for daily highs)…

Yowza. Sorry, but anybody jumping into the smarthouse trend is nuts.

Here’s an object lesson from today as to why we don’t give power to our robot overlords…

But hey, I’m sure Big Tech will include “Don’t Be Evil” somewhere in their mission statement.

Now…, smartphones didn’t go quite as terribly wrong as I’d projected 20+ years ago. They went worse! I didn’t expect the tech to give an entire generation of kids anxiety disorders and drive society to the edge of madness. Humans are pale shadows today of their former glory and don’t even realize it. Most kids don’t even play outside anymore, and the resulting crop of adults are like 1 hitpoint morons.

Heck, I just didn’t want brain fog and people knowing when I was buying ice cream at 2AM. I didn’t think it would get this stupid.

And letting that into my house wiring? With frickin’ Skynet GPT being birthed right in front of our eyes in real time?

No sir!

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