Home automation began to develop in the seventies, but it has not been until now that its price has become cheaper enough to be accessible to the general public . Assistants such as Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit have been key to the rapid deployment of the smart home. In this post we will show you which home automation devices you could take into account when starting to automate your home based on your level of knowledge and the complexity of the installation.
Once the home automation bug bites you, the usual thing is that there is no going back. You start with a light bulb, a speaker, or a simple motion sensor. We think that this will be more than enough, but in a matter of months, the normal thing is to start adding new equipment to the network. Something obvious, because the connected home allows us to save a lot of time a day in operations as basic as approaching a switch to turn on or off a light.
Giving products to a motivated but newcomer to the world of home automation is easy, as you will still be missing many basic products in your arsenal. You won’t hurt a new Alexa unit or HomePod Mini in case you use Apple’s system.
Automating home lighting is the most basic process faced by a home automation lover. It is not usually done in one go, but little by little. And before you start, you need to choose a system .
The champion brand in the field of smart LED light bulbs and strips is Philips with its Philips Hue product range. They use their own connection bridge, although if we have an intelligent voice assistant with Zigbee technology , it will not be necessary to use it.
On the other hand, we have Ikea lighting solutions. Their bulbs also work with their own bridge and are not as advanced as the Hue ones, but they are more affordable . There are many more brands that we can add to our set and that can work without connecting bridges, but it is advisable in any case not to mix different technologies to keep the set as simplified as possible.
Very useful for turning lights on quickly without having to do any kind of voice command . They are placed in corridors, stairs, bathrooms or the entrance of the house. They will stay on as long as it has been established in the configuration, as well as the color and intensity can be programmed if the bulb allows it.
Smart Air Fresheners and Humidifiers
A very interesting gift are smart humidifiers, which can scent areas of the house automatically using drops of essential oils. They can also be used to add humidity to our rooms without the need to add aromas, allowing us to breathe better at night.
The programmable buttons allow you to assign Alexa routines to a physical button, such as “1 touch: the kitchen is turned on, Ángel Martín’s informative sounds through the Echo speaker and the coffee maker is turned on” or “2 touches to the button: they turn on pink lights at 40% intensity and jazz sounds from the speakers. ” Originally, the leader in this sector were Amazon’s own Echo Buttons, but until they are released again, the best alternative is the Flic 2 buttons , which in addition to having the same functionalities, are also compatible with Apple HomeKit .
Smart pet feeder
Automatic feeders are interesting, because they allow us to feed our pets, even if we are not at home. Combined with the intelligence of a voice assistant, these products become a true wonder. Is your michi meowing at 6 in the morning because he’s hungry? “Alexa, give the cat a bite.” You will spoil him, but you can continue to sleep peacefully.
If your friend or family member is already an advanced user and has almost their entire home connected, it is going to be really complicated and expensive to surprise them. As we do not want you to lose a kidney this Christmas, we propose a few less materialistic alternatives , but or riginal and creative, since they require the user to be directly involved in the start-up of their connected home.
Lighting for the user who starts in the world of home automation consists simply of changing their traditional bulbs for smart bulbs. But … What about those bulbs that are associated with a switch ? If you close the circuit on one of the two sides, the intelligence is over, since the light bulb will stop being connected until we press the switch again.
But there are solutions, and the most complete is to replace the switches of a lifetime with smart switches . They obviously require that we cut the power, remove the traditional switch and place the smart device. Come on, it requires a bit of skill and some knowledge of electricity . But the result is great, since, once installed, any light bulb can be used. We can turn off the lights with its switch without fear of losing connectivity. It is also a very interesting solution if we usually receive visits at home from elderly people and they do not understand each other very well with Siri or Alexa. Of course, there are many different models. The most advanced also allow you to configure the switches as smart buttons or act directly on other connected devices.
Raspberry Pi + Homebridge
Apple HomeKit is at the moment the platform with the fewest compatible products, which is a disadvantage when compared to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. But there are solutions to make HomeKit compatible with products that a priori do not support compatibility. How? Using a Raspberry Pi and the Homebridge distribution.
Raspberry Pi + Home Assistant
Home Assistant is an automation software that allows to unify in a single device all the information of our connected home. We can install it on any computer, but the most efficient way to install it is on a Raspberry Pi. It has more than 1,000 integrations with devices of different types, and we can control anything from its panel directly.
At the most extreme level, we can find an Arduino kit. With them, the possibilities are endless , since all kinds of sensors, lights, motorized elements and others can be combined to build custom applications for our connected home.