So, where to start .. I’ve always been a closet geek. like _always_ long before it was cool, and home automation has always been something that has intrigued me.
Growing up with the Jetsons means I have been expecting my own Rosie for many years, but have been sadly disappointed. We’ve been lucky in life though, and so with our latest building venture ( an extension to an existing old home ) the opportunity arose for us to include some home automation. A year or so of research, and planning, led me to a company called Fibaro, who are based in Poland, and produce what is likely to be in some eyes the pinnacle of home automation equipment, and in the eyes of others, the depths of marketing oversell 🙂
I fell for the marketing .. but I’m learning that it is also the pinnacle of ZWave home automation ! It’s not C-Bus brilliant where everything is once removed from the user and after paying vast sums of money everything works, ZWave with Fibaro and indeed any of it’s variant controllers, works wirelessly, and in conjunction technically with any ZWave capable device, but requires some tinkering ‘under the hood’, and this can lead to all sorts of issues, and all sorts of wonder 😉
The sort starts with my requirement list ;
- Automated lighting – I’d like to come home and have the lights come on if it is night time when I open the back door for instance, or to turn on a discreet LED strip to light a path to the kitchen for a glass of water….
- Some sense of security – As above I suppose, but to have camera captures sent to me if a zone is breached, to have the opportunity to answer the front door from anywhere in the world, to have a fire alarm that turns all the lights on and wakes everyone up
- Some sense of modern living – I’d like to think that ‘modern living’ includes a green awareness, so rolling down the blinds when the sun starts to get too hot, or if there is a forecast heat wave, along with closing ventilation windows or opening them to cool or heat home, simple things that save power, but sometimes we overlook. Automatically watering my veggie patch when the soil is dry and there is no rain forecast .. you get the idea
- Some sense of wonder – waking up with gradual lighting is the greatest thing to ever happen to those hateful things I call mornings ( well, second only to my beautiful Dee bringing me in a coffee :), integrating some gradual music with the lighting as it fades in is next, and then mornings will be even more bearable. Heated towel rails that start warming up the towels half an hour before the alarm gently fades in with the lighting, and the blind raising .. but only heating if it is a morning below say 10 degrees, and turning off if accidentally left on once the light switch to the bathroom is turned off. Exhaust fan in the walk in robe, that is humidity sensor driven.
- Some continual challenge to the way I live and do things – The above simple examples are some of the basics, I don’t want to spill all, but once you start thinking can I automate that or how can I do this better or how can I save more energy, it becomes an addictive and unusual way of looking at the world ..