In my old house I used to have a pretty extensive home automation setup based on the SmartThings platform. The new house we moved into was my wife's childhood home and I just wasn't in a place where I wanted to install a bunch of smart home tech. That all changed when we had a flood in the kitchen due to a slab leak and decided to remodel the house and build an addition master suite for my wife and I. With everything opened up and a new room being added, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge again. This time I'll be doing it based on a mainly hubitat platform with smartthings augmented just for my air conditioner controllers. I'll use both those platforms to integrate into a sharp.io dashboard using fire tablets mounted on walls. 90% of what you see is new with some of them being left over from my last house. Not pictured are my smart blinds which are on their way for my new room and my office.
The hard thing with this install is we live with my in-laws to help them with some medical issues. Everything has to be senior friendly for them and smart home enabled for me. That is going to be the biggest challenge for this project.
My end goal is to start a smart home tech consulting company where I live. I've made contacts and friends with the contractors working on my house and have an agreement with them to provide any smart home consultations for their clients. I would do the design, set up the smart devices and automation, and they would install any of the hardwired things like switches and plug since they have electrical licenses and contracting license. I'm using the smart home technology to show them what I can do and be use cases for my marketing. We will see how it goes.
List of items:
Older Aeotec appliance switches
Older Monoprice zwave door lock
Keen smart vent
Aqara Zigbee Door and window sensors
Aqara Zigbee motion sensors
Cielo Breez smart thermostat for mini split system
Amazon 10" Fire Tablets
Various older Zwave sensors and outlets from old house
SmartThings water leak sensors
Dome Zwave Siren
Amazon Echo Dots
Makes by Mike Amazon Fire Tablet wall mounts
Zooz Zwave appliance oulets
Singled battery operated remotes
Zooz Zwave Dimmers
First Alert Z-Wave Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Dome water shut off valve adapter
Water Leak detectors, cant remember the brand
Ring wired spot light cameras
Ring Indoor cameras
Ring floodlight cameras
Ring doorbell pro
Cool idea. The thought has crossed my mind too. I just wonder whether the technology is robust enough yet (eg. What effort will be required in support and what client satisfaction would result) and whether there are enough people prepared to spend the interesting amounts of money I'd need from such a venture.
Keep us posted on how it works out!
I lost my job in February since my employer wanted me to move back to Washington which I could not due to my in-laws health issues. I could find another engineering job, but I thought it was a good time to try something different. At the very least, I can write-off a lot of my purchases as a business expense. I need then for learning and marketing use cases to sell services.
I am concerned about robustness and SLAs. I'm hoping that hubitat will be more stable with local processing than Smartthings ended up being.
My 2 cents, don't add the aqara devices, they'll end up being trouble, trust me.
And keeping the ST hub is a very smart move.
I wouldn't add any device that is not zwave plus.
Zwave + only eh? I will have to review my items ad see which will not make the cut.
Are they really that bad?
Regular zwave won't update status, make crappy repeaters and run at slower transfer rates. You'll try to use polling to get them reporting better and will saturate your mesh and make you sad.
Given all the issues with z-wave all over this forum, I"m mighty pleased I'm 95% Zigbee and 5% Z-Wave+. No security issues whatsoever and very few connection issues nowadays. My C5 hub is much improved over the last 12 months.
Absolutely. Good luck with the venture. I think the market is moving in this direction, the technology is improving all the time, and there's a lot of interest, especially if you can set up a really impressive "show-house" at your own property. Then try to get a relationship with local property development companies maybe, to offer some tiered packages to their clients. It helps them differentiate in their market too and you can share the proft to get you started. I would also try to sell a subscription service to each client - just a few dollars a week, to support them remotely via rPi, to replace their batteries "FOC" every year, to change/add a few things time by time. This way you build a continual revenue stream rather than it just be a services/one-off business.
The one thing that intrigued me that I ended up being disappointment about was the Cielo ac controller for your mini splits. It's cloud based wifi... My whole thing for getting to hubitat is not relying on the cloud what so ever... It's a really good looking thermostat. Maybe if they ever go z-wave or zigbee I'll grab one. My personal feelings is that anything that relies on the cloud can go straight to hell and burn with Wink and it's ilk... /rant over
I am doing smart home consulting in my area.
Some quick ideas/thoughts:
- Install stuff at your house first. See what works and what doesn't also family feedback is valuable. Just because you "can" automate doesn't mean you "should". Also you can then use your house as a demo model to show off your automations etc.
- Get a set of products that you are comfortable working with - Zooz/Inovelli/Aeotec/Lutron/Ring etc. While those can be your recommended be prepared to be flexible.
- Create a set of "packaged" solutions using those devices.
- Also depends on what you want to do but I consider myself a "consultant". I do not resell products because thanks to sites like Amazon its hard to compete / add markups. Also don't want to have a ton of inventory around.
- Reach out to some local home builders / contractors and offer your services. Be warned electricians generally HATE all smart switches not named Lutron and will resist installing. You probably will have to accept responsibility for the switches.
- Reach out to the Smart Home companies like Zooz/Inovelli. You might be able to get bulk discounts if order is large enough. Also they can provide technical assistance as needed. For a recent (still ongoing) project I'm doing the folks at Zooz have been very responsive.
- Also might want to look at Sonos as well..
So the Aqara devices will require a 3rd party driver, and since devices don't follow zigbee standards, they become the source of focus whenever there are any issues. Plus overall the aqara devices can destabilize your zigbee mesh. This wasn't such a big deal on ST, but with HE it is. I tried my best only using aqara compatible repeaters, but it wound up being too much of a hassle. When the aqara devices fall off the mesh, they can cause damage to the mesh, as they fall off. The new aqara zigbee 3.0 devices seem better. I only have 1 of those, and it's been great. It's the 6 button controller.
You can search the forum for issues with Aqara. Some people use a dedicated hub for the aqara devices, which seems to be a viable option.
I have nothing against zwave, it has been rock solid for me from day one. And by rock solid I mean 100%, not 99%. Never had any issue with any of my zwave devices. Lucky?, maybe but I also follow some rules. These are not "official rules" but they have worked for me.
- All devices must be zwave plus, a single non-plus device can cause portions of your mesh to operate at slower speeds, so EVERY device needs to be zwave plus.
- Build your Mesh out per the recommendations in the Hubitat docs.
- Go with trusted name brands that are known to work, try to keep the mixing of name brands to a minimum. In my house I have about 40 zwave plus devices (1-Honeywell T-6 Thermostat, 1-Zooz Multirelay, 1-Fibaro flood sensor, 4-Inovelli switches, 2 - GE/Jasco door pin sensors, and the rest are GE/Jasco switches)
- Go with mains powered devices that repeat, in my 40 devices listed above only the 2 door hinge pin sensors are battery. If you need other types of sensors, go zigbee, it is cheap and easy to build a strong zigbee mesh.
- Pair each and every zwave device with no security. If you have a device that needs security (door lock) go with Zigbee. Zigbee door locks generally work better than zwave.
- VERY IMPORTANT, understand each device that you buy and how its driver works in regards to reporting. Make sure you can eliminate or greatly reduce reporting frequency to a minimum. For many switches you don't even have to worry about this, since they don't report that often. But an example of when this may become a problem is with any device that offers power reporting. My Inovelli switches will send power usage reports to the hub by default. I don't need these reports so I made sure to set its reporting frequency to once a day. I recently read a post on the HE forums where a user was having zwave issues and he had a zooz device reporting its power usage every second or two. That is upwards of 86 400 reports a day! From one device! And he was wondering why he was having zwave issues. Any device that sends temperature/humidy/motion needs to be taken into consideration for how often it reports. If it is reporting every second you will have problems.
Although, zwave plus has been rock solid for me, I am by no means "married" to it. I also have a strong zigbee mesh. My door locks, contact sensors, and some other stuff is all zigbee. Zigbee motion sensors report faster than zwave, making the automation faster. I also have a Lutron Pro Bridge (Christmas present) on the way to get several picos working.
Thank you for the info. That is good to know.
Holly cow! As a new potential Habitat Hub owner/user this might be one of the BEST responses I have read so far! There are so many options for brands etc and it worries me to venture off and have different brands everywhere and so keeping those to a minimum was the plan but this is very informative. I don't want to say budget isn't a thing for me but I will pay the price to know that a device will work 100% of the time and not cause me issues. Thanks again!
I'd say Caseta for light switches and get what ever you want on the compatibility list...
Note that he has a number of Aqara sensors in his list...those have been very problematic for many members of this forum, though there are some additional steps and specific HW you can add if you really want to use them. I tried them repeatedly and just could not get them to stay connected. If you do decide you want to use them do some searching here on Aqara first.