Getting started with Home Automation

What is Home Automation?
Home automation refers to the collection of systems used to control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security devices such as access fobs, security cameras, motion sensors and alarm systems. At present a lot of smart appliances and devices are being marketed without consideration to how well these can be automated, or integrated with other devices.

What can I automate with home automation?:

  1. Lighting
  2. Heating and Cooling
  3. Your blinds or curtains
  4. Your Television
  5. Your Kettle and Coffee machines
  6. Your Vacuum cleaner
  7. Your Doorbell
  8. Cooking (with a slow cooker, Instant Pot or Sous Vide)
  9. Home Security
  10. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors
  11. Sprinklers and Irrigation
  12. Your Bed (via a smart mattress, pillow, or app)
  13. Your fitness
    Given the vast array of solutions for making existing dumb devices smart and the crazy number of smart appliances already available the issue is perhaps less about what you can automate and more about what is actually useful to automate.

Security and longevity

Before you start buying devices consider the security and longevity implications of your network, putting smart devices on your Wi-Fi potentiually opens you up to a number of security concerns and it's generally worth trying to lock down your home network, or upgrading your router before adding any new devices.

Think hard about what protocol you adopt

Wi-Fi devices are all the rage and cheaper upfront as they don't require you buy a hub, however they often work out more expensive in the long run, have security concerns and don't generally have the longevity afforded by opensource solutions such as Zigbee.

Dumb appliances and home automation

Before you consider spending large amounts of money on new kettles, coffee machines and toasters that can all talk to each other you might want to consider automating your current devices as this is generally a lot cheaper, and likely won't have the same security or privacy considerations.