Smart Home Automation – Round 1

I am in the process of purchasing our new family home. One thing I didn’t get to look into in our last home was the home automation, to be honest I thought it was interesting but it wasn’t really going to make my life easier or faster. It was a lot about coloured light bulbs and asking Alexa to do certain things and then getting bored with it all and moving back to the “traditional” way of doing things.

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I started looking into more and more smart things and how I could use these devices to potentially make my life easier. I was still and still being not convinced by the lighting although I see more use cases. My wife said about having to get up in the night and having to turn a bright light on, this is something that could be solved by some smart lighting solutions.

I am going to run through this post with my purchases so far and some ideas behind it.


The hub is the first investment anyone should make if they are looking to put some smart home automation in place. There are many types of hub but be sure to check out integrations I found this to be a little daunting but I found that the Samsung SmartThings Hub was probably the easiest and had a lot of mainstream integrations. Oh, and it was cheap on Amazon over the Christmas period so I took the plunge.

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At this point you have to have an idea on what you actually want to achieve or have a vision on where this is going. I knew I wanted some sort of camera function from a security perspective. I wanted at first the ability to visually see who was at my door from anywhere in the world and I wanted to make use of smart home automation to power on my lab and other useful appliances in the house.

Blink Cameras

At the same time as the Samsung SmartThings hub was on for a good price on amazon so was the Blink Cameras, I decided to go for the 5 cameras for the new house, this would give us more than enough coverage.

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I went for the all-white version but it seems there is also a black version also available.

  • MOTION DETECTOR: Built-in motion sensor alarm, when motion detector is triggered, WIFI cameras send an alert to your smartphone and record a short clip of the event to the cloud
  • BATTERY POWERED SECURITY SYSTEM: Wireless camera system with 2-year battery life from 2 AA Lithium batteries. Systems consist of everything you need including the Blink Sync Module, Camera(s), Wall Mount(s), Batteries and associated accessories
  • SMART HOME SECURITY: Simple self-install home monitoring in minutes; easy control wireless cameras with the included iOS & Android apps or via voice through our Amazon Alexa Skill!
  • ADVANCED HOME SURVEILLANCE: Home and pet monitoring in real time with video camera “Live View” streaming mode
  • FREE CLOUD STORAGE: Totally wire-free, with no monthly fees or service contract required. (Requires iOS 9.3 or Android 4.4 KitKat or higher)

Also, to add apparently up until the end of December (which may represent why the cost has gone down in the sales) is that the integration with Samsung SmartThings has been dropped! I will have to wait and see how their software and other integration points will work here.

Amazon Alexa

Over the past year I have accumulated several Amazon Alexa capable devices, this includes the Echo, 3 x Amazon Echo Dots and 2 x iLuv devices. I have also added a couple Amazon Fire Sticks which can also be controlled by Alexa.

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Ring Pro 2


As I stated in the opening requirements the doorbell was one of the top priorities the ability for me and the family to see who is at the door is a plus but also the ability to have communication with people coming to our door when we are out is a pretty cool feature. I also have a plan to include a smart lock on the doors to allow for deliveries and such to be placed inside the house, the ability to communicate and see the drivers is again a big plus for me.

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TP Smart Plug

This one was a gift for me so I am yet to know where it will be used but it did get me thinking about some use cases with the home lab which will live out in the detached garage. So maybe a function there to power everything on and monitor the energy being consumed.

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Possibly my most audacious purchase on this smart home adventure. The iKettle, it’s a kettle that connects to your Wi-Fi network and allows you to remotely boil the kettle. Ok that’s going to be pretty strange if I am boiling the kettle whilst away on business. But the ability to set schedules for boil as well as geofencing as to when to boil when arriving home. All that with the price point being pretty similar to a high end stainless steel and modern kettle I thought what the heck.

Now hopefully people don’t get into my network and hack my kettle.

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My next post on this will either be a continuation of me buying more toys for the new house or some sort of my first installation segment. I can think of at least one major purchase I am looking to make in the next few weeks though which is Wi-Fi related for the new house.

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