IT, Digital & Culture
Amazon Alexa, is a virtual assistant, first used in the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers. She is the central "hub" to all my systems, start with an Echo Dot and build it from there! Just added an echo auto to my car and it's changed everything all over again!
OPNsense is an open source, easy-to-use and easy-to-build HardenedBSD based firewall and routing platform. OPNsense includes most of the features available in expensive commercial firewalls, including IPS / IDS. I only really use OPNsense as a firewall, IPS/IDS and VPN server, but you can use it for almost all network scenarios.
Unifi's CCTV solution is brilliant, the Flex is the bargain of the range and well worth the investment. Using the 3rd party monocle skill (https://monoclecam.com/) you can ask Alexa to bring up any of your cameras, with minimal setup.
Open source home automation that puts local control and privacy first. Powered by a worldwide community of tinkerers and DIY enthusiasts. Perfect to run on a Raspberry Pi or a local server.
Using the Broadlink mini RM 3. You can control a number of IR devices using Alexa. Make sure you purchase an EU version or it won't work! Suited for the bedroom, kitchen or study, where the harmony hub is overkill. Be warned always setup devices as TVs for them to show up in Alexa.
The cheapest and most flexible devices in my current smarthome. Using the ewelink app to create scenes and linking the solution with Alexa for voice control. The app recently got a much needed update!
By far the best control system for A/V equipment. The app is great the Alexa skill is one of the best I have. Full control of multiple devices and routines within the app are simple. A worthwhile investment!
Everyone has heard of Hue, it is an expensive system, but by far my favourite lighting system out there. So far I have only used the bulbs and motion sensors, but am considering an outdoors project next Spring!
Curtain bots are cool and at £60 per set of curtains, a lot cheaper than the £400 rails I was looking at before!
The only govee product I own is the ambilight which is great for watching films, I only really use this with Alexa to create scenes and automation routines.
Possible replacement for Sonoff with a much more open approach to development and firmwares.
A small button that can control nearly any connected device or service with a push. Simple smart light switch, advanced routine trigger, etc. I mainly use these buttons to control lights and mix manufacturers. They work really well with node-red which is something I am building on especially in the smart static project!
Total local control with quick setup and updates. Control using MQTT, Web UI, HTTP or serial. Automate using timers, rules or scripts. Integration with home automation solutions. Incredibly expandable and flexible.
Often found on your phone NFC is the technology used in contactless payments. You can buy simple stickers that when you pass a phone near can trigger actions. Such as joining a wifi network, turning off a light, etc. I have linked to a starter pack which I would recommend.
The oldest component in my smarthome system. I still recommend lightwave for controlling devices like lamps, plug sockets and other plugin systems. The new generation support two way comms, but I haven't moved to gen 2.
The unifi USG is the protector of the perimeter of my smarthome. Offering a robust firewall and some advanced features including VPN (remote access) and IDS / IPS (intrusion protection and dectection).
IFTTT makes it easy to create simple actions that you want to trigger using something like an AWS IOT button, NFC sticker or an ESP8266 creation.
Removed due to subscription costs!
TP-link make great networking kit, ideal if you are just starting out. My first tip would be to get rid of your ISP supplied router and go with a tp-link. They also make a range of Alexa compatible plugs that don't require a hub.
An insurance company that sells incredibly cheap (and good) internal cameras that work with Alexa. The app is ok and includes geofencing for auto arming.