Third Party “Things”

Since we are talking here about the Internet of Things (IoT), the implication is that lots of “Things” can integrate together to form a cohesive system that can to set to work together to make various tasks automatic.

I’ve discovered that two “Things” I already had may be compatible with the SmartThings hub which will extend what I will be able to do:

I have a Wemo Motion and Wemo Switch. Although I think the latter is not working properly, the former could be used just as another “Thing” that detects motion. I should be able to integrate this into my existing security setup.

I also have a Harmony Ultimate remote, which I use to control my home entertainment devices, so potentially I could do something here to turn stuff on when people get home, or off when everybody leaves. I can see this making us very lazy, but also saving electricity for those times when family (who will remain nameless) forget to switch off when they “pop” out.

However, it looks like the app I have is limited in the “things” it will see out of the box. I did manage to get the Wemo Motion recognised by the app, but only after I had “hacked” it by adding the device manually using the web portal which I discovered in a forum can also be used to administer my SmartThings system.

My feeling at this point is that I’ve hit the limitations of the trial.

Any conclusions?

I was able to easily pair up the things I was given, but there really aren’t enough devices to properly assess if these would be adequate enough for setting up home security, for example.

Home automation is achievable to a point, but should not be totally relied upon. My tests automating Adam’s room unfortunately hit an issue where the power outlet did not turn on when he was back in his room. He needed to manually power up and I feel this now defeated the purpose. I re-checked my routines to try and work out if I’d set something incorrectly, and this in itself led to some further confusion.

IoT is an exciting new chapter in tech, but it is still maturing. There’s some work to do in apps to make configuring these things easy, so they do what we need them to do. Maybe it’s just semantics; finding the right words to describe how things can work together intuitively.

It’ll be interesting to see what Apple does in this space with HomeKit, and I look forward to seeing how the whole loT arena develops across all vendors.

Happy Connecting Everything!