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Stickey

Smart Homes / Home Automation

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Anyone invest in these systems to help elevate your homes overall awareness? Im looking to get the Samsung Smart Things hub to start a simple security system and work my way up by slowly adding stuff on. I've heard that using Z-Wave is the best option due to it's "mesh" frequency. I would like to eventually upgrade all light switches and outlets, door lock and temp controls so I can simply just walk out of the house and not worry. Just seeing if it's "worth" it.

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I really want to get an August smart lock. We have a Nest, but I've yet to integrate it with any third party app on my phone. 

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Im looking into the ecobee, but I might just get a generic thermostat thats Z Wave capable. Saw a video explaining how these smart thermostats can cause issue's you may not want in the winter or summer months.  The August is to bulky for me. I know most other smartlocks have bulkier equipment, but the August just sticks out to much for me. Was looking into the Kwikset Kevo, but it doesnt support Z Wave, just bluetooth. 

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5 hours ago, Emblazon said:

I really want to get an August smart lock. We have a Nest, but I've yet to integrate it with any third party app on my phone. 

I keep waiting and waiting for this Yale lock to release but it has been vaporware for the past year and a half.

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The closest thing I have is a wireless thermostat, I just use it to turn the AC on when I'm about an hour or so out from coming back home. My girlfriend got one of the first generation Ring devices when she worked there as is standard for all their employees, we toyed with it for a bit and it does work well, but I questioned its ability to withstand the record breaking heat we are subject to every summer.

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I've got a few things. I have a ton of Lutron Caseta switches, some Echo Dots, an Echobee 3, and a Kwikset Kevo smart lock. I'll share the general advice that I'd give to anyone starting out.
-Wire everything you can. Some things are unavoidably wireless (door locks), but for things where it's an option, like cameras, go wired where possible.
-I'm a big proponent of smart switches rather than smart bulbs. Unless you really want to do stuff with color, I think making the switch smart rather than the bulb is far better.
-I've had a nest and an ecobee, and prefer the ecobee for the remote sensors. It's far from perfect, and a few software upgrades would go a long way, but for now I think it's the way to go.
-I haven't found an ideal smart lock yet. I really hate my Kevo, so if someone loves theirs I'm all ears.
-Consider a smart doorbell. It's been my wife's favorite smart home addition. (We have a Ring and like it)
-There are a lot of considerations for smart speakers / voice assistants. Privacy is a big concern, and so is use case. I'm not personally worried about the privacy implications, I don't care much about music, and my primary use case is smart home control, so Echo has been great for me. With Echo dots, it's by far the cheapest to put everywhere, and it works with everything. If you value privacy and music, maybe the Homepod is the way to go. If you actually want to ask it questions, Google Home might be best.

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@TwinIon I'd love to hear your thoughts on that lock. Thats the one I was thinking of grabbing. When it comes to the thermostats I think im going to stick with a generic zwave enabled one. Definitely going the switch route. Also what are you using for a hub? I've been looking into Samsung but I've seen mod projects that use the raspberry pi as the hub with custom open source software. 

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42 minutes ago, Stickey said:

@TwinIon I'd love to hear your thoughts on that lock. Thats the one I was thinking of grabbing. When it comes to the thermostats I think im going to stick with a generic zwave enabled one. Definitely going the switch route. Also what are you using for a hub? I've been looking into Samsung but I've seen mod projects that use the raspberry pi as the hub with custom open source software. 

I hate the lock so much, so here's my rant

 

When I first got it, I thought it was ok, but my opinion of it deteriorated quickly. Part of it is phone compatibility. You need to have the app installed, and it only supports a small number of devices. When I upgraded to my Pixel, it wasn't compatible at all, despite having all the requisite radios. The app has been updated so now it does work with the Pixel, but my wife's phone doesn't work, and many of my friend's devices don't work (so we can't send them a digital key while they're staying with us, for example).

 

Also, even if you do have a compatible device, the lock itself doesn't always connect. I'd say one out of every five times I tried it, it wouldn't work. I'd either have to restart the app, my phone, reconnect bluetooth, or something else that simply isn't worth the time. Sometimes it'll work, but it takes far too long to be useful; maybe 30 seconds. I also have the Kevo Plus device, to allow connecting to the internet, but that too is a mess. It's so freaking slow, if it works at all.

 

I don't have an iPhone anymore, but I think iPhone support is better, and perhaps faster and more consistent.

 

In the end, it simply isn't reliable enough to do it's job. I can't count on it letting me in without a key, so I still have to carry one. I can't count on it letting other people in without a key, so we have to make other arrangements. It only occasionally works over the internet, so a lot of the automation stuff isn't reliable enough either.

 

 

I still do want a smart lock, but I want something bullet proof and I want it to have a keypad. I was looking at the August lock a while back, but the reviews on the keypad made me nervous. I want something where I can feel comfortable not having my keys, and not worry about getting locked out.

 

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57 minutes ago, Stickey said:

@TwinIon I'd love to hear your thoughts on that lock. Thats the one I was thinking of grabbing. When it comes to the thermostats I think im going to stick with a generic zwave enabled one. Definitely going the switch route. Also what are you using for a hub? I've been looking into Samsung but I've seen mod projects that use the raspberry pi as the hub with custom open source software. 

I forgot about the hub question. I just get worked up about that stupid lock.

 

I'm currently using a Wink. I got the Wink because I wanted something super simple (which it is), and I wanted something that worked with the Lutron Caseta light switches (which Smart Things didn't support until recently). It's pretty fast and reliable, quickly controlling my lights and working well with the Echo. What it doesn't do very well is automation. The options are very limited, so I don't really use them. It doesn't bother me much, because my wife works from home and has an erratic schedule, so a lot of the standard automation wouldn't work that well anyways. It's compatible with quite a lot of stuff, which is it's greatest asset aside from compatibility. I'd recommend it only if you have very basic needs.

 

I've read a lot about moving to a Hass.io setup, and while it's far more capable, it's also a lot more work. To date I haven't decided that effort is worthwhile, but if you're willing to really work at it, I think people are often happy with those setups. Otherwise, I think Smart Things is probably a good way to go.

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Does the key fob work well? Guessing you didnt have one or thought that it was pointless (still carrying keys). The setup I want is so that my phone will tell my hub via geolocation when Im close by to automatically unlock my door, rather than depend on the key lock itself. 

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In case anyone was wondering...

 

I've gotten alot of smart home stuff and the learning curve is interesting. First I thought I'd love to do voice commands, "turn this light on" "turn TV down" "Good Morning". Wrong! Buying sensors has really helped make home automation more automated. When setting up my smart home my goal was to make it functional for someone that doesnt know anything about smart homes. I bought quite a few GE dimmer switches that act like a normal switch while also being smart home capable. Smart bulbs can be a nuance when the switch is turned off, always having to leave them on, or always use voice/app commands. I do use smart bulbs in lamps, but I have those linked to a motion sensor at certain times of the day so no one has to think about messing with the switch. Most of my lights/switches are connected via sensors so they turn off after 1 minute of no motion, making sure power consumption is low and allows me to be a lazy ass. My house wakes up when I go for my morning pee, turning on specific lights and sensors (changing status from night to home). Havent gotten a good goodnight routine yet, so I use voice commands for that still, which can be frustrating at times. I should just buy a button for that lol. Anyways, Im sure no one read this! But if you did, and you have questions, let me know! 

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I have a Nest, Phillips HUE with around 20 bulbs and multiple light strips, and HomePod to voice activate it.

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We recently got the August Smartlock Pro and Doorbell Cam, and they both work flawlessly. And the recordings are free, too. 

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We're in the process on renovating the house we just purchased -- moving in at the end of May.  I have an Ecobee4 and a bag of Lutron Casetta switches to install....

 

I wanted to look into an August Smartlock -- but it's not compatible with the lock on my front door...

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