I’ve long wanted more automation and remote control over my house, but until recently such wasn’t possible without a lot of special project boards, wiring, gaps in functionality and – most importantly – time. Now, with the Internet of Things (latest buzzword for automating and monitoring using Internet technologies for transport) this is becoming so much easier, and something for which I can make time. Also, it is somewhat synergistic with my cloud architecture role at Dell: Although IoT is assigned to others and not to me, it still warrants some first-hand experience to be a fully competent chief cloud architect. (At least, that’s my rationale!)
Two weeks ago, the two thermostats in our house were replaced with Honeywell WiFi models. It makes it SO easy to program a schedule when you can do it in a web interface! We never have to touch the controls now – they change for different times of the day automatically, and we can control them from our phones remotely if necessary.
I’ve just completed upgrading the pool control system to include WiFi connectivity and Internet remote monitoring and management. I upgraded the pool control to a Jandy AquaLink RS Dual Equipment model, so that now pool, spa, spa heater, spa lights, blower, and pool solar heater are all unified into a single controller, controllable via the network.
Now, the only missing item is the pool light, which is wired through a toggle switch on the other side of the house, near the master bedroom. Rather than run a wire from the controller to that switch, I’ve decided to branch out further into home automation with a SmartThings hub. I’ll replace the pool light with a smart toggle switch, and I’ll put a relay sensor in the Jandy controller so that when we “turn on” the pool light via the pool remotes (phones, etc.) it will close the relay, send an event to the SmartThings hub, and it will then turn on the actual switch.
Since I’m putting in the SmartThings hub, I can now add more Z-Wave IoT devices to the house and solve some other quirky problems, like turning the porch lights on and off at dusk/dawn and power cycling my server or desktop if necessary when traveling. I’m sure I’ll think of others. With SmartThings, you program your own apps and device drivers in Groovy, so I can make it do just about anything I want. Well, at least that’s the theory. I’m supposed to receive the hub and devices tomorrow, so it shall be tested shortly.