Home Automation was never this easy

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Home Automation has always been reserved for the happy few that built new houses and had a considerable budgets. Those days are over. Today, homes off all sorts and sizes, newly built or exisiting, are able to enjoy the ease, comfort and efficiency of Home Automation.

In this blog I will show how easy it is to integrate home automation in our existing home. I will start with exchanging the wall switches by sensor/actuators that are able to communicate wirelessly. In that way, I am able to controll all lights a) by mobile phone, b)within scenarios and c)….let the homeautomation do the work for you: with an ASTRO-time-controlled profile. In that way, your living room scenario will start at sundown, every day again, unless you easily disable the timeprogramm via your mobile.

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Safety part I

To feel safe and to be safe in your own home is contributing to your comfort. Having a doorbell with video functions adds to that feeling of safety. Always being able to see who is on your front-door-step. When linking to your IP-home network, you can answer any house-door call on your smart-device, being a phone or tablet (iOS / Android). This means you can even answer the call from outside the home. This comes handy, when your friends or family unexpectedly visit you, and you are still out doing grocery shopping. You can instantly talk to them and tell them you are on your way home !

Even greater comfort is given when linking Busch Welcome to your home automation system, Busch free@home. This makes it possible to have a HUE light change color for 10 seconds when somebody rings the door. In that way, you have an acoustic signal, as well as a visual signal that somebody is outside your doorstep. You can choose what function to activate, e.g. light up the entrance hall, activate a SONOS playlist (with a barking dog??), etcetera.

This all adds to your comfort and safety in your home!

Application info

180degree view on smartphone when doing a “surveilance call”

Talking to your home??

Soon we will experience voice control via the Amazon Skills of the Alexa and Echo Dot.

So far, I think of them as gadgets, but people say, it will be a BIG THING, these voice controlled assistants in the home. However….if you live in Belgium or The Netherlands, it is a hussle to order these things….. but, nothing seems impossible. Via http://www.mygermany.com you are able to buy at amazon.de and have your goodies deliverd to them. They will forward you your items at regular shipping costs.

When registering, you need to add the Amazon Alexa and / or Echo dot, under the amazon.de account, not under the .com website and you should be ready to talk to your home!

Integrating LED lights

The lights downstairs are plits up in a few groups. We named them:

  1. Office
  2. Living
  3. Dining

The comfort in these rooms will be increased if you are able to dimm these lightgroups. This is to create convbenient scenarios for different occasions. Since this house came with LED lighting fixtures installed (Philips, 3W, 230 Volt), I needed to find out if these are able to be dimmed. Documentation did’t reveal the info, so there was one thing left to do: try it out ! And thats what I did:

I connected 3 spare fixtures to the sensor/dimactuator and I found out they can be dimmed. Surprising to see and learn about the dimming curve of these LED’s. The last 30 to 25% you really start to see a difference, where the final 5 to 1 % gives a very gentle dimmed light.

Result of the test: The lighting groups in the living can and will be dimmed!

Upgrade to Home2.0 started

Today I exchanged the first switch for a movement detector in the storage room. Without configuring it, it already switches the same light as the conventional switch before, except now the light switches on as soon as I open the door of the storage room.

To be able to change parameters of the movement detector, I need to have access to it via the System AccessPoint (SysApp). I hung it in the electrical cabinet closet, where I have installed the HUE Bridge as well:

The SysApp is connected to my internet router via WiFi, so no patch cable is needed on the SysApp, only 230Vac (the white cable plugged into the socket)