If I am posting in the incorrect forum then moderator please move my thread to a forum more beneficial. - Thanks

Smartphones: Android devices
Router: Linksys WRT1900AC
Home size: 1,200 square feet
Computers/Laptop: All PC compatible running Windows 10

The main reason for my post here is to get somewhat of a starting point of making my home smart. Not only for now (today) but for the future looking forward.

Years ago I used to be good with computers but stopped keeping up with technology around 2002. Don't know much about smartphones like I used to with computers. Used to be an IT Analyst back in the time with some programming experience.

Two people live in the home, me and my partner. I am more or less retired and he is still out and about. We both have smartphones that are Android. Mine is a Blu Vivo X and his (well, which one? He has like 5-long story short they are all Android). I am also a licensed electrician.

I want to start installing smart switches etc in my home. Wiring the switches won't be an issue since I am an electrician. I really want to start with the basics but want to start with something I can expand on in the future. I have not been keeping up with technology in the way of cell phones and computers. I have read pages and pages on the Net about how to start and what to start with. Now I am looking for some real input if possible.

I kind of know that you can have a "hub" or not have one. I don't really know the real solid pros of having one. Or do I really need a hub? Small home about 1,200 square feet, only two people live here. Just want to be able to install some smart switches like to control my outdoor spot lights. Drive up to the house, press the screen and the outside lights go on. Go in the house and shut them off with my phone. If I forget, they will shut off by themselves. In the very near future put my steam boiler on my smartphone to control it. Rooms in the house to be put on smart switches. Maybe a few video security cameras around the house to trigger an outdoor spotlight and start recording video.

I see there are so many different systems out there and really have no idea where to start. I am a bit hesitant about using anything like a hub that is "Google" controlled. I am at this point attempting to steer myself away from my gmail account and away from Google all together as I feel Google is way too intrusive in my life! Paranoid-No; cautious yes!

Where would you suggest someone like me starts in the way of a system; or do I really need one. I would like to control any smart devices from my phone no matter where I am. Maybe the security cameras also (cameras in the future) but looking ahead.

Just some pointers (in the right direction) and some suggestions would be very much appreciated. I realize this is a very general overall thread but it can be a starter for me.

Thanks so much