Tech

How to get started in home automation with these basic and advanced products

Automate illumination from home 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 starting, it is necessary choose a system.

The champion brand in the sector of smart LED bulbs and strips is Philips with its range of products Philips Hue. 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 the lighting solutions of Ikea. Their bulbs also work with their own bridge and are not as advanced as Hue’s, 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.

Motion detectors

Very useful for turn on lights quickly without doing no 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.

Intermediate level

Smart Air Fresheners and Humidifiers

A very interesting gift are smart humidifiers, which can aromatize areas from home automatically using drops of essential oils. They can also be used to add moisture to our rooms without adding aromas, allowing us to breathe better at night.

Programmable buttons

Flic

Programmable buttons allow assign routines from Alexa to a physical button, such as “1 touch: the kitchen is turned on, Ángel Martín’s newsletter sounds through the Echo speaker and the coffee maker is turned on” or “2 touches of the button: pink lights turn on 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 back on sale, 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

The automatic feeders They 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.

Advanced level

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 leave a kidney this Christmas, we propose a few alternatives less materialistic, but original and creative, since they require the user to be directly involved in the start-up of their connected home.

Smart Switches

The 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 us to cut the power, take out the traditional switch and place the smart device. Come on, it requires a bit of skill and some knowledge about 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 with Alexa. Of course, there are many different models. The most advanced also allow set up the switches like smart buttons or act directly on other connected devices.

Raspberry Pi + Homebridge

Apple HomeKit is currently 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 is 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 a 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.

Arduino kit

At the most extreme level, we can find an Arduino kit. With them, the possibilities are endless, since all types of sensors, lights, motorized elements and others can be combined to build custom apps for our connected home.

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