For me, it’s about HomeKit, Thread and a bit of Zigbee.
2020 was an excellent year for home automation. Apple unveiled its HomePod mini in October, the company’s first Thread border router, and Nanoleaf launched its new Essentials line in the same month. It’s a good time for me, in the late 1920s, to start turning my camera into a better, more automated future.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions in the article below are based on my experience and my own research and are not the views of my employers. I am not paid for these reviews and opinions and I bought all these smart products using my money. Your mileage may vary.
Because I’m so invested in Apple eCosistem, it’s crazy for me to go HomeKit: It is built into the MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and HomePod mini. Tim Cook’s opinion on privacy also played an important role in why I chose HomeKit compared to other platforms.
thread is a wireless network protocol with wireless networking, designed for easy integration for the smart home. Thread allows smart devices at home to create a smart mesh network between them (250 of them!), Making them securely and reliably connected directly to the cloud. While I just heard about Thread in January, it looks like it’s not new. It has existed since 2014 by several well-known companies and has been a topic for Google I / O sessions for the past few years. Apple also joined the Thread alliance in 2018.
In 2020, people’s interest in Thread increased, helped by the fact that several companies, including Apple, Nanoleaf and Eve, launched Thread-enabled devices for the “real world”: HomePod Mini (as a Thread border router), Nanoleaf Essentials ( light bulbs and strips) and Eva’s portfolio of HomeKit over Thread. These devices excite me, along with the fact that we are moving towards the unification of network protocols (Thread, Zigbee).
Zigbee is a wireless technology developed as an open global standard to meet the needs of low-cost, low-power wireless IoT networks. It is currently the standard for many popular Smart Home platforms such as Philips Hue and IKEA TRÅDFRI Home Smart, both very popular and available in Indonesia.
Being the fourth most populous country in the world, with over 270 million people, Indonesia also has one of the most connected societies in the world. Jakarta Post mentioned that Indonesia has over 190 million internet users, of which more than 95% use mobile internet. Google also reported that Indonesia has 156 million smartphone owners.
In the smart home landscape, we have internationally recognized brands such as Philips Hue, IKEA Home Smart and Yeelight, as well as local players such as Bardi. Unfortunately, Nanoleaf and Eve are not yet available locally.
Bardi, for me, is the most unique brand on the list. They have a very good support and presence in Indonesia and have just opened a showroom in 2020 in Tangerang. Their product portfolio covers light bulbs, smart cameras, smart plugs, smart vacuum cleaners, window sensors, and pet power supplies. Their prices are so low (less than $ 9 for a 9-watt RGBWW bulb) and they often have additional discounts on the market, such as Tokopedia, Shopee, and JD.ID. On their Tokopedia page alone, they sold over 100,000 light bulbs and thousands of other smart sensors and gadgets.
Pro: affordable portfolio, good products,
Versus: not compatible with HomeKit, all devices connect to the router / do not make a dedicated mesh network.
Philips Hue is one of the most famous smart lighting brands in the world. In Indonesia, their portfolio covers the Hue bulb, dim switch, light strips and a few other lighting accessories. Based on their Tokopedia page, their sales are only thousands of items and their price can be quite steep, more than 30 USD per bulb and about 99 USD for the starter pack (1 gateway + 3 bulbs).
Pro: well-known brand, HomeKit compatible, good support in Indonesia, Zigbee protocol proved stability,
Versus: steep prices, the portfolio is not diverse enough (especially lighting).
IKEA Home Smart (TRÅDFRI) is another well-known brand in the world. In Indonesia, their TRÅDFRI product portfolio covers LED bulbs, Gateways, remote controls, motion sensors, smart umbrellas and several versions of E27 and E14 bulbs. Their prices are generally lower than the Philips Hue offer ($ 83 for the starting package of 2 white bulbs, a Gateway and remote control) and it looks like IKEA will soon be adding more products to their HomeKit portfolio.
Pro: well-known brand, HomeKit compatible, good support in Indonesia, growing portfolio, Zigbee protocol proved stability,
Versus: Each bulb must be connected to a remote control before connecting to the Gateway.
Yeelight is a brand that I discovered at the end of 2020. It is interesting for me because it offers HomeKit compatibility at an affordable price. It is still growing in popularity in Tokopedia, selling hundreds of smart light bulbs in addition to less smart light bulbs and other lighting accessories.
Pro: affordable, compatible HomeKit,
Versus: I am not familiar with the brand, I am not sure of their support in Indonesia.
Nanoleaf, a company famous for its modular wall-mounted lighting, currently has no presence in Indonesia other than to mention that their products can be shipped from their HK warehouse. Although their product portfolio is not yet as diverse (they just launched their Essentials product line in October 2020), I think they are taking the best way to implement Thread on their products.
Pro: Rhombic acid bulb, capable of kit, compatible with wire, beautifully designed,
Versus: There is still no distributor in Indonesia, which costs me additional shipping and import duties.
My initial goal was to build a smart home considering these points:
- Secure and focused on privacy, it’s my private space called home, I want to keep it that way,
- Future proof, unlike my smartphone, these smart devices will not be updated or modified every 3-4 years. I want to make sure that these items continue to swing in 2025 and beyond,
- Fast and responsive, but at the same time long lasting and reliable, Because yes,
- Sold by a company that is affordable in Indonesia, making sure everything is legal and I can reach out to them if I need help or have questions.
Since my focus is on building a smart home centered on HomeKit, I’m almost removing Bardi from the list. However, the fact that their prices are so low made me buy two of their 9 watt RGBWW bulbs ($ 8.3 each) just for fun.
These are my first smart home products and they are very beautiful for $ 8.3. I can’t complain about the boring design of the light bulb, because it rarely disconnects from the mains. The colors and brightness are equal to those promised by 900 lumens.
However, it is not without problems. The first expected issue was that these bulbs do not support HomeKit natively, so each command from Siri must be connected to the Bardi app via Siri Shortcut, and the response time between me saying the command to the actual bulb can take 2–5 seconds. . I tried to install the Google Home app on my iPhone and Android phone and it gives me more commands with a slightly faster response.
The real break-off is that each light bulb connects directly to the router instead of building its own mesh network, making them unscalable. I do not want to have 25-35 light bulbs in my future home to be connected directly to my router, I already see big problems with this approach.
Overall, these are beautiful products from Bardi and it would be great to have HomeKit support and a mesh network for scalability.
A few weeks ago I was captivated by Nanoleaf’s Essentials line, when I researched HomeKit and Thread resources, I watched videos from several YouTubers, Google I / O and online articles. At first, I thought I couldn’t get them in Indonesia, but it seems I can.
After contacting Nanoleaf on Twitter and the Nanoleaf Singapore distributor, I ended up buying them from Singapore. These were more expensive than the listed price due to international shipping costs and import duty, but I found them best suited for my needs.
First, there is Thread. It’s FAST, like fast instantly. Remember the light switch? It’s so fast, but wireless. It also uses a mesh network, so whenever I add a new smart device / node to my house, it will make the mesh network more reliable.
Second, HomeKit. It’s just fun to add more items to my home network, and the Siri command is just as much fun. Now, as long as I have my phone with me or I’m in the same room as the HomePod mini, I can only talk to Siri and ask her to change the lighting in any room in my house.
The third is the Nanoleaf product itself. This is the most beautiful light bulb I have ever seen. The design of the rhombicosidodecahedron is so unique and stands out from the crowd, the setup process is fast and I have never had an unstable connection between the bulb and the light strip. My only wish now is for these bulbs to be available in Indonesia at the same price as in the US or HK ($ 20).
For now, I am very satisfied with my Nanoleaf bulbs and tapes and look forward to seeing them officially appear on the Indonesian market.
I look forward to adding more smart products to my home, starting with light bulbs and remote control (for lighting). In the future, I plan to have security cameras and smart blinds.
My wish list:
- Smart bulbs, 11 or 12 watts (1000–1200 lumens), white spectrum (non-RGB), for general household use,
- Smart bulbs, 9 watts (800-900 lumens), RGB, for use in the office room, film room and bedroom,
- 11 or 12 watt (1000–1200 lumens) RGB smart light bulbs for use in the living room,
- Smart light strips, 2 m starter, extendable to 8 m,
- Intelligent remote control for physical control of light bulbs and strips,
- Smart cameras that support HomeKit Secure Video,
- Smart blinds and
- Router with mesh network capacity.
All the items on my wish list (except the router) should be Thread-enabled and HomeKit-compatible, because I think this is the future that many of us are heading for.
I have experience in product management, IT analysis, software localization and web development. Headquartered in Indonesia, I have been developing and implementing solutions for personal, independent and professional work since 2009. I currently have a full-time job working as a product manager, building mobile applications and websites used by hundreds of thousands of people. farmers, field agents and stakeholders from over 25 countries. I am a big fan of technologies that fade into the background, supporting our daily activities.