Advice on design/implementation before I start making choices - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-04-2017, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Advice on design/implementation before I start making choices

Hello all. We've moved into a new home and are about to start slowly adding some automation and "smart" devices. I'll run through some of the things we are interested in doing and what directions we are currently leaning. I'd love your feedback and suggestions.

Some initial thoughts- I'd like as many products as possible to be both HomeKit and Alexa compatible. We have been an Apple household for years and would also like to use Echo and Echo Dots for voice control. For WAF, I would also like 1 app interface for day to day use either on the phones, or the iPad mini that's always in the living room. I feel like the Home app for HomeKit would accomplish that. I don't mind having to use individual apps for setup and changes. I would like lighting and some other "core" functions to continue to work in an internet outage. It's a townhouse, so I have neighbors on either side and might want to be mindful of wireless interference and congestion. It's new construction and I believe I have neutral wire available most places.

Lighting- Leaning toward Lutron Caseta. Lighting would be the basic foundation and core of the "smart" features. I want as rock solid as I can get without spending a fortune, and remaining DIY. Want the system to work whether someone uses a physical switch or an app. We have maybe 10 dimmer applications, 7 or so non dimmer switch, maybe 5 lamp module applications, a few locations that would probably be best served with occupancy/vacancy switches, and a few 3 and 4 way switch pathways to sort out.

HVAC- Ecobee4. Mostly for the remote room sensor availability. Our thermostat is on the ground floor, and the upstairs bedrooms can be a bit colder/warmer than the set themp. Hopeing the Ecobee will help balance that. Like the built in Alexa as well.

Locks- Interested in the Kevo 2nd gen with kevo plus. The things that attract us are the ability to lock/unlock with hands full and the ability to grant remote access. The August is out mostly on aesthetic reasons.
Doorbell/camera- Ring Pro. I like most of the features, the app ties in to Kevo for unlocking, it will fit where the current doorbell is wired (the trim is fairly narrow, the august/skybell wouldn't fit there). It would be nice to have the free storage of the skybell..
Cameras- we would possibly like 1 indoor and 1-2 outdoor cameras (or possibly looking out a window). I haven't researched them much. Not looking to spend a ton here or get very complicated. Would be looking for easy setup, quality video, and cheap short term storage.
Alarm- a couple door sensors and a glass break sensor would cover it. Prefer cell phone push notifications over monitoring service.
Smoke/Fire/CO2- We have the hardwired/interconnected units throughout the house. Is it possible to replace just 1 of these with something "smarter"? Providing notifications, maybe kicking off a "scene" lighting pathways and flashing an exterior light?
Anyway; as much of this "security" stuff working together as possible would be good. I need to do more research here.

Audio/Video- The living room system. We have a Sony 940E, hooked to a Sony HT-ST5000 sound bar and a Sony X800 UHD player. We use mostly the TV apps for content with the occasional disc via the X800, and streaming music to the bar from the phones. It's all Sony, and all fairly new. ARC and the bravia sync seem to work pretty well. It's always on the TV input, if we switch on the BD player, it all switches inputs, if we switch it off it goes back to TV. I don't really think it needs any "automation". But, she doesn't like the small buttons (glasses) on the Sony remote. She would rather have something for control on the iPad mini that is always in the living room. I on the other hand prefer a hard button remote. I've been thinking of the Harmony Companion setup. I looks like it would give us both what we'd prefer, an app for her and buttons for me, all staying in sync. It looks like it would let me control the rooms Lutron lighting with the remote as well. Sony recently announced that this TV could be controlled via Alexa as well, so I'll look into that.

Random- Would like a few water leak sensors, maybe a shutoff. Garage door control. We have 2 lift master openers that have the MyQ symbol on them, so probably something to be done there.

Anyway- long rambling post. But I hope some will skim it and offer some feedback.


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post #2 of 3 Old 09-04-2017, 10:59 PM
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Smart Things is what you want, with that Harmony remote, and maybe an Alexa or Google Home to round it out.
Caseta is the most bullet proof lighting system that is DIY....but I must ask, what is the size of your home? There are limits to what Caseta can do!
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post #3 of 3 Old 09-05-2017, 08:00 AM
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Luke, the Apple Homepod will give you voice control for HomeKit later this year. Granted, Alexa and Google Home are way more adept at home control and integrate with more home control products. But I agree with you in terms of going with Alexa or Google Home for voice control; stick with that. My Q will work with HomeKit but you'll need to buy the Chamberlain Home Bridge for $70. I would say that you should get security cams that connect directly through your alarm system, but you're not doing a monitored alarm system. Basically, you can get any security cam and set it up inside of your home. The outdoor cams are bit more tricky, but you probably want to take a look at the Ring flood light camera as an outdoor option. Nest also makes an outdoor cam. Definitely do the Harmony Companion setup. Harmony works with Google Home, Alexa and IFTTT. The Harmony app, especially on a tablet is very good. The water sensors are a good idea, but at this moment there is no water shutoff valve available for HomeKit.

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