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    What makes a SMART home?

    Hi All

    I wanted to do my final uni module - the research project and report;
    on my home which I have been working on the last 18 months.

    I have to define my Project Proposal -
    Smart Home Control by Natural User Interaction & Smarter Feedback

    I have massively tried the past 18 months to make the home helpful to me. I have met so many hurdles along the way and now I want to measure my successes?

    I was wondering though, what people considered by "smart"?

    My friends bought Phillips Hue bulbs, and like me have sonos and nest, these are smart devices but I don't think they make a home 'smart'. I can turn my lights on from the phone, so what? My neighbor can control their lights from a light switch... If anything by the time you unlock your phone, you've applied more effort.

    My question I'd like to throw out to the Pro's to spark some food for thought (I have an idea but wanted to see what others thought) -


    What is a smart home?
    What makes a smart home 'smart'?
    How do you measure smartness, and how can we make it smarter?
    Why have you put effort into it?
    Why bother with a smart home, and does it really improve our life noticeably?
    Can we make HomeSeer intelligent, or is it simply for automating. Do you have any specific example where you've developed something you consider to be more intelligent than automated?


    I appreciate this is a very open question - I am curious what other people think.

    #2
    What makes a SMART home?

    The definition of "Smart Home" (also known as home automation/building automation) is the control of home devices (such as thermostats, lighting, security, safety, or entertainment) while either at home or away from home via voice recognition, computer, smart device (phone/tablet), or automation.
    I would further sub-categorize smart home into
    1. home control
    2. home automation
    3. home interaction.

    Home Control
    For example I run HomeKit at home to control my Homeseer zwave devices and can tell Siri to turn on and off lights & fans, as well as, set the temperature. This is honestly kind of a smart home parlor trick IMO because I almost never use it unless I am trying to show control.

    Home Automation
    I would define this as creating complex events where a the smart home system can look for a trigger and confirm the right conditions exist, and then do something without a human actually going out of their way to start the event (example: using voice recognition, a computer browser, or their smart device (phone/tablet)).
    An example of home automation would be how I automate our Christmas tree. This all started because my wife wanted our Christmas tree to be on at night and I didn't want to waste electricity during the day or when no one is home. Our early attempts to automate this were time based(on at sunset, off at 11 pm). After we adopted Homeseer in our house I did the same thing using a controllable power outlet. Then my wife said she wanted the Christmas lights on during the day when she was home. Rather than showing her how to access the Homeseer administrative UI, or setup one of my multi-tap switches to turn the Christmas tree on and leave it that way during the day, I opted to automate this. Using a few motion detectors, an aeotec power switch, homeseer's ability to determine sunrise and sunset, a few events and some virtual devices I was able to fully automate this. During the morning and throughout the day the Christmas tree is turned on if there is any motion on the first floor for 15 minutes. Any motion during that 15 minute timer will cause the timer to reset and star over. In the evening the timer is stopped and the Christmas tree is turned on until 11pm.

    The net result is that my wife almost didn't notice the Christmas tree turned off but I was able to enforce the idea of the tree being off unless someone was in the first floor of the house (win-win).

    Home interaction
    This would be using systems like amazon dot to do more than just turning on a light or running a script. For example a buddy of mine is able to tell her that "the he feels cold" and it responds by turning the heat up.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Comment


      #3
      I think a "Smart home" has to be able to make adjustments to systems within a house without any user interaction. ie, car pulls in the driveway at night, exterior lights come on. My cell phone is detected, unlock front door adjust thermostats. Front door opens, adjust interior lighting if its night and lights are currently off.

      What Verizon and the likes are selling as a smart house is really just a fancy remote control and only serves to diminish what a smart house really should be. My goal is to never have to push a button, launch an app, or tell Alexa to do something. It should just happen with minimal effort on my part. (of course I have spent a ridiculous amount of time in pursuit of this)
      https://forums.homeseer.com/forum/de...plifier-plugin

      Comment


        #4
        Ian Mercer summed this up nicely years ago: http://blog.abodit.com/2010/05/how-c...ouse-is-smart/

        Most of what we have is an automated home. A smart home should actually have some smarts. Be able to make some decisions. We're heading in that direction but not there yet. AI is going to be huge in home automation. Just look at the Echo. Google Now was moving in a good direction but it seems they abandoned any further improvements. Like most Google products. If I could even code my way out of a paper bag I'd be full tilt writing an AI plugin for HS3. I'll give thousands to the plugin developer who can make a plugin that can do what Ian Mercer's system does.

        Ian Mercer is the man. As far as I know he's really the only person out there who has functional AI in their home automation.


        So, you’ve been sold on the idea of a smart home and are looking at your options. There’s one that has gorgeous LCD keypads that you could put in every room for just a few hundred dollars a pop, and look! it says in the brochure that it’s “smart”. Well, guess, what, if that LCD keypad has options on it like “Home”, “Away”, or “Entertaining” you are about to purchase what I call a “dumb” or “stupid” home.

        A smart home as I define it is one that can act autonomously to increase homeowner comfort, reduce energy consumption and generally just do the right thing.

        If you have to repeatedly tell your house to do an action that would be obvious to a human being then it’s not smart.
        Originally posted by rprade
        There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

        Comment


          #5
          To me, a "smart" home is one that will learn from you and adjust accordingly and be able to handle situations that are out of the "norm".

          Unfortunately, I don't think that we have anything close to that yet, nor will we any time soon. My biggest hurdle is the lack of "presence" detection that moves beyond just motion. I know that people use their "phones", but for me, a true smart home would tell my Car to let me know I left my phone inside. Right now, if I forget my phone, the house assumes I'm still home (I know there are ways around this, but it still has no idea that I left, only that someone left in the car).

          Obviously I'm tainted by SciFi and the ability have a computer or system track an individual through a space without any devices on my person (may require an implant, which I would find acceptable for in house use). Since I don't carry my phone with me everywhere in my house, I have no way to do this without motion, and there are times when motion just isn't "good enough" (sitting in living room watching TV). I might even consider a "watch", but then I still have my kids to think about, which I need to consider in my automation.

          Also, like i started out, my system requires me to program it. It has no way of "learning" from my patterns and adjusting automatically. I have to tell it when something changes instead of it saying "He has come home an hour earlier for the past week, I should adjust how I react" or "He has come home an hour earlier for the past week, I should ask if this is going to be the norm going forward, or only temporary and adjust accordingly".

          Because of this, and the popularity of "Smart home", I often get depressed that my system doesn't "do more". I have to remind myself that it's just not that feasible for all my "Dreams" to be accomplished now and what I really have is an "automated home" that I've programmed.
          MeiAutomtion Home

          Comment


            #6
            Oh, I love this discussion.

            Most of the technology today is not "smart" technology, but rather a form of remote control. I agree with the previous posters that smart technology needs to be intelligent not just a form of remote control.

            There should also be a separation in terminology. For example, home automation, home remote control, and smart technology are really different things.

            I would think that HomeKit really is more home remote control as its "intelligence" or "automation" is extremely limited in capability.

            Now HomeSeer is really a little hybrid of both. My point being that a base HS system is really remote control. The automation piece (or smart aspect) doesn't really come into play until many events/scripts are created. This is why some folks have a hard time converting from HS2 to HS3 as this process could take a looong time to complete.
            HomeSeer 2, HomeSeer 3, Allonis myServer, Amazon Alexa Dots, ELK M1G, ISY 994i, HomeKit, BlueIris, and 6 "4k" Cameras using NVR, and integration between all of these systems. Home Automation since 1980.

            Comment


              #7
              Yes. Most of today's "smart homes" are glorified remote controls for light switches and thermostats. I can turn the light on with greater ease by getting up and tapping a switch than I can by taking out my phone, firing up an "app", navigating to the light control page and then tapping a button. Are we so lazy that we can no longer actually get out of our recliners to turn lights on? How is that appealing? People out there must have a lot more disposable cash than I do to be buying HA hardware for such tawdry purposes.
              Originally posted by rprade
              There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

              Comment


                #8
                Pretty much everyone has been on point with how I would define the different options here between smart/control/interaction.

                If you really want to get down to it, our setups for automation are just another level of control, and not really "smart". Sure you walk into a room and the light turned on by itself... that's cool, but its still a type of control. A smart home would be able to predict events and already have things set in place, like it knows my patterns when I come home and adjusts lighting and events accordingly. AI is still in the distant future, but one thing I think that could help and could be done right now is sensor additions to the system. If you add a sensor to the bedroom and there is already a controllable light switch (or vice versa), automatically tie the two together and setup basic events to control the light by motion. That is the beginning of "smart".

                Unfortunately, the market has been completely skewed of what smart homes are. iOT has ruined it and will only make it worse. Cool, so you have a wifi plug that you can control from your phone... that is not automation, but its really cool to people that don't know much. Let alone that this "silo'd" systems don't talk to each other, so you have created further segregation of the technology which delays progress.

                Personally if I have to pull my phone out for something, my automation needs to be adjusted so that I don't need to do it again, which is usually my baseline for my coding of events.

                Our houses do some really cool stuff, and we put a lot of work and effort into it (personally here I have been building automation for 4 years). But if you want to define if they are smart or not, Automated for sure, but "smart" I think is a stretch.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by S-F View Post
                  Yes. Most of today's "smart homes" are glorified remote controls for light switches and thermostats. I can turn the light on with greater ease by getting up and tapping a switch than I can by taking out my phone, firing up an "app", navigating to the light control page and then tapping a button. Are we so lazy that we can no longer actually get out of our recliners to turn lights on? How is that appealing? People out there must have a lot more disposable cash than I do to be buying HA hardware for such tawdry purposes.
                  Well, while breastfeeding, my wife enjoys being able to set the living room lights down lower to get the baby to sleep. So in that instance with the lack of a "breastfeeding sensor", I'm OK with remote control (don't want to use voice as the baby might be close).

                  I don't mind remote control in some instances, but I still wish it was smarter.

                  Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
                  MeiAutomtion Home

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by sirmeili View Post
                    Well, while breastfeeding, my wife enjoys being able to set the living room lights down lower to get the baby to sleep. So in that instance with the lack of a "breastfeeding sensor", I'm OK with remote control (don't want to use voice as the baby might be close).

                    I don't mind remote control in some instances, but I still wish it was smarter.

                    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

                    Congratulations on your child and your wife!
                    Originally posted by rprade
                    There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by sirmeili View Post
                      Well, while breastfeeding, my wife enjoys being able to set the living room lights down lower to get the baby to sleep. So in that instance with the lack of a "breastfeeding sensor", I'm OK with remote control (don't want to use voice as the baby might be close).

                      I don't mind remote control in some instances, but I still wish it was smarter.

                      Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
                      Congrats! What does this make now for you? I think I last remember you on the Vera forums about to have a kid too?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        How smart does it have to be? Is your house smart if it has lights that come on at dusk? When there is motion? I think there is a huge range of smartness. And it's always a moving target.

                        Steve Q


                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                        HomeSeer Version: HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.368, Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 - Home, Number of Devices: 373, Number of Events: 666, Enabled Plug-Ins
                        2.0.83.0: BLRF, 2.0.10.0: BLUSBUIRT, 3.0.0.75: HSTouch Server, 3.0.0.58: mcsXap, 3.0.0.11: NetCAM, 3.0.0.36: X10, 3.0.1.25: Z-Wave,Alexa,HomeKit

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Steve Q View Post
                          How smart does it have to be? Is your house smart if it has lights that come on at dusk? When there is motion? I think there is a huge range of smartness. And it's always a moving target.

                          Steve Q


                          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                          You make a valid point here, and you are right I guess if you get down into the fact that everything has to start with a piece of code somewhere to make it do something.

                          Maybe in my head if I keep thinking we are just doing glorified control with events and that its not as "smart" as I think it could be... it forces me to think more outside the box on how I can make it "smarter".

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by S-F View Post
                            Congratulations on your child and your wife!
                            Well, she's 1 now, so not much of a baby anymore, but thank you :-)

                            Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
                            MeiAutomtion Home

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by waynehead99 View Post
                              Congrats! What does this make now for you? I think I last remember you on the Vera forums about to have a kid too?
                              2 step kids and two of my own ranging from 1y/o to 17....Lol.

                              Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
                              MeiAutomtion Home

                              Comment

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