I love being right. I predicted that Nest would prove to be a technology that would be of considerable value to consumers and to other companies as well. The $3.2 billion acquisition of the company by Google pretty much says it all. I’m betting Honeywell, and the other companies out there who lagged behind several years in advancing their line of products, is really kicking themselves now. I was an early adopter of Nest and I love the device. I loved it so much, I proceeded to automate other parts of my home. At present, I also have Chamberlain MyQ light switches and garage door openers, Belkin Wemo plugs and a couple of switches, Foscam security cameras and other odds and ends that make up a pretty advanced smart home. I like to tinker and my next project at home is to tie a Raspberry Pi into my home automation center to control and monitor my security system.
It saves you money
The fiscal conservatives and the green energy folks love these connected devices. For example, my Nest has already paid for itself in the few years I have had it just by it’s “smart” reactions to my habits and the way I like my house to be heated and cooled. I no longer leave my outdoor lights on all night to deter prowlers since the motion sensors and automatic switches take care of it all. I even replaced every incandescent bulb in my house with energy efficient LEDs. It was an enormous up front cost, but if a light is left on, it only uses a fraction of the power of the older bulbs. I thought I’d just compile some of the advantages of a “smart home” that I have experienced. These are by no means all inclusive and the extent of how you automate your home is all a matter of your imagination.
- Chamberlain MyQ notifies me if I leave my garage door opens or it stays open too long. I can close it remotely if I drive away and forget
- Chamberlain MyQ switches allow me to turn on all my outdoor lights at the touch of a button. I do this if I hear dogs barking at night
- Foscam Cameras monitor my entrance ways and send me notifications of movement
- Belkin Wemo devices monitor energy usage of my lights and appliances and allow me to control them and automate their operation
- HDMI-CEC (built into most TVs now) allows external control of devices like a receiver so I don’t need multiple remote and I don’t need to turn off the power to devices when I turn off the TV. It does it for me.
- Chromecast, Samsung and Apple TV allow me to broadcast video and audio from any device to another
- Green initiatives: Solar film on windows, enhanced attic insulation, and other energy saving modifications
Other areas of automation include wifi/bluetooth enabled door locks, the new Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and much more. All of these are available on the Internet but I will warn you that most of these devices are not cheap. The cost of the Nest Protect alone has been prohibiting me from diving into that technology.
All my excitement and gushing aside, I think this is the year for a home automation boom. The acquisition of Nest signals to other companies that the race is on. I’m pretty excited about what is headed our way this year myself and I look forward to my own projects as well.