Making house "Smart" to some degree.
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Thread: Making house "Smart" to some degree.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    116

    Making house "Smart" to some degree.

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    15,695
    For lighting / outlet control something like this might fit your needs. No hub or Google service required - it uses your existing home router.

    https://www.amazon.com/Light-Switch-.../dp/B00DGEGJ02

    For security cameras, I recommend wired IP cameras that store the video on equipment you own, not "in the cloud". Video stored on equipment you do not own does not belong to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    116
    Thanks jdc2000 for the information

    So I know if looking at other smart switches etc, how do I know when reading the specs that a "hub" is not needed for the device to work thru my router only? Is it just that is says "WiFi Enables" and then I know no hub needed?

    Also, I had no clue that if I stored to the cloud (I don't store anything on the cloud-I keep everything on some sort of drive "material" and back things up) I would not own the material (recording whatever format it is). I normally keep the backups "off site".

    As far as the security camera "type" being "IP" would assume "Internet Protocol" then? So if I were to get one like this one HERE I would be able to record the video to my laptop for example thru my router even if I used the WiFi on it or would I only be able to use the "wired" connection to store on my laptop or external storage device.

    Thanks for the help!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    15,695
    To check whether a system uses a proprietary hub, read through the specs on the manufacturer's site and check the reviews for the product. Wi-Fi enabled may not need a hub, but that does statement alone not guarantee it.

    Once data is on someone else's hardware "in the cloud", even if the provider's service agreement states that you own the data, you no longer have control of it. Hackers of various types could get it, it could be provided to government agencies, or sold to third parties, and you might not find out about it until after the fact. So, even if legally you still "own" the data, you should consider it available to anyone who wants it enough to get a copy.
    Anything you do store off-site like backups should be encrypted. Then it would take longer to decrypt (decades at least) than the data would be worth once decrypted.

    IP cameras are available in wired and wireless versions. The wired versions are more trouble to install, but they are more secure since you can't use a wireless jammer to interrupt their connection to your network. You could have the video stored on a laptop, but that is probably not practical. Laptops are not really meant to run 24/7/365. A desktop system would be better as would a dedicated camera recorder device.

    https://www.newegg.com/Surveillance-...llance-Systems

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    116
    Thanks jdc2000 you have given me a good starting point. Unfortunately after Googling quickly some of the things you mentioned I think I will need to take a class in school. I think it was easier for me in my electrician classes than understanding all the new technology with security cameras, smart hubs etc - wow!! This old brain at 62 can't absorb as well now; totally overwhelming. Brain "data overflow" going on here

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