Smart Home 101: Introduction


What is a Smart Home? / What is a Home Automation?

Home automation is a concept that has been around for decades but only in recent years has it become ubiquitous. Home automation is a broad term that covers the communication between devices, usually wirelessly, to simplify or enhance an existing process. It could be controlling your lights with your phone or voice. Or triggering your alarm system with motion sensors. Or turning on a curling iron every weekday at 7AM. The possibilities of home automation are endless. Literally anything you can think up can probably done with the right equipment and configuration using today's technology.

A Smart Home is a home that incorporates home automation. Smart devices today are usually connected to the internet via WiFi or Ethernet and if they are not, they usually use MQTT, Zigbee, Z-Wave or some other protocol to communicate with other devices. Motion sensor floodlights and "The Clapper" are early examples of home automation. Now with bluetooth, wifi, z-wave, zigbee, there 1000s of devices already with more and more being developed and released every day. Millions of people today own Amazon Echos or Google Homes, Ring doorbells, and smart bulbs. Some day the more expense smart devices like vacuums will be more affordable.

Examples of what I've configured my smart home to do for me..

    • When the front porch detects motion the light will turn on
    • When I get home, my phone connects to my wifi network which tells Home Assistant I am home it also changes my security cameras profile from Away to Home. It also displays my home reminders on my phone's homescreen if I have any.
    • When I leave home, my phone disconnects from wifi telling Home Assistant I am away. I will eventually make this turn off my lights, music, etc.
    • When I get to work, my phone puts itself into Work mode which means all of the volumes are set to 0. It also displays my work reminders on my phone's homescreen if I have any.
    • When I start my car, my phone puts itself into Car mode which turns up my media volume to almost full volume, it reads me my car reminders. It also displays my car reminders on my phone's homescreen if I have any.
    • When one of the shows I watch has a new episode it will automatically start downloading, rename itself to the correct naming format, and then transfer to the hard drive I have connected to the Plex server. It will send a notification to my other devices unless I turn choose to turn the notification off.
    • When a new show or movie gets added to the Plex server it will send push notifications to my other devices including on my TV screen. On my phone and tablet, the notification has the movie or show's picture and a link to it's IMDB page.
    • The lights in all of the rooms turn on and off based on motion or lack of motion. The motion sensors themselves turn off an on during certain times of the day light when at night when I'm sleeping or watching a movie the motion sensors turn off. I can also turn the motion sensors on/off using my voice with my Google Homes.
    • On a work day morning, as a wake up alarm, every room starts playing the radio on the Google Home after it reads the weather. Then it announces the time at a couple points throughout the next half hour to let me know when I should be leaving for work.
    • If I'm taking a shower and listening to the Google Home in the bathroom, the humidity will rise and Home Assistant will turn up the volume on my Google Home so I can hear it over the water. When the humidity level drops back down the volume decreases.
    • When the washing machine or dishwasher is done, it will announce it in every room over the Google Homes and display a notification on my TV for 5 seconds.
    • If my refridgerator door is left open or the temperature gets too high, it will notify me.
    • If there is a water leak by my washing machine or water heater, it will notify me.



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