What's in my smart home: November 2021 - Stacey on IoT

Cupertino, November 7, 2021

Note: This story was published in the October 22 newsletter, but never reached the site. So I updated the title and posted it here two weeks later.

A little over a year ago, I shared what was in my smart home. I started by saying, “Wow, what a difference three years make in the smart home world. The last time I shared what connected devices were in my house was in October 2017, and as I review that article, it seems like almost everything has changed. ”

Here we are, just 14 months later, and I could say essentially the same thing: my entire smart home has changed from what it was, because the Apple HomeKit is now the brain of my home.

I still have some devices outside the HomeKit world. I keep an Amazon Echo Dot for testing, even though my Wi-Fi mesh is powered by a trio of Eero 6 Pro drives. Eero is owned by Amazon, so I have another toe in that water. The Eero 6 Pro system replaced a Samsung SmartThings WiFi configuration, which offered both a WiFi 5 network and an integrated SmartThings hub.

Eero 6 Pro three pack
Image courtesy of Eero

I was mostly all-in on Google Home in August last year, and my smart home still has a few remnants from that time. We still have the old Lenovo Smart Display in the kitchen, as well as a Google Nest (first generation) Hub in the bedroom. They are not used so much nowadays, but they still work nicely to control the voice of some of our lights, change the thermostat and occasionally the YouTube TV or Netflix program. And I often use one of these to stream Apple Music while I work.

Our Nest x Yale lock, another product supported by Google Home, still guards our front door. It works as well as ever, although I might consider replacing it with a HomeKit lock once we see that some with Thread support arrive.

The Nest Hello ringtone disappeared from outside the front door. My review experience with the HomeKit-compatible Logitech Circle View ringtone was so positive that I bought mine. I also replaced a Wyze Cam with the Logitech Circle View. Both take advantage of Apple's HomeKit Secure Video, so I'm less worried that my video streams may be seen outside of my family members.

Logitech Circle View ringtone

We still have a lot of smart lighting brands in the house. I added half a dozen Wyze bulbs, for example, and a few extra Philips Hue and CbyGE lights (now called Cync). Over time, we've replaced older Cree and Osram bulbs with newer products. However, some lights are controlled by Apple, while others are managed by Google. My plan is to standardize HomeKit compatible lights only in the coming months.

Speaking of HomeKit, the $ 99 Apple HomePod mini allows us to remotely control or access our smart devices away from home. And it's a Thread Border router, so any Thread device can access or be accessed from the internet.

I also recently added a HomeKit remote garage door sensor, which still works perfectly. And, in a nod to Stacey's love for the product line, I just bought and set up a Lutron Bridge along with some smart switches. Since I was in the middle of a kitchen renovation in the last few months, I decided to go with smart switches over smart light bulbs.

lutron

So why switch to HomeKit? Honestly, after using all the main smart home platforms, it is the easiest to set up and use. We also had fewer problems with our smart devices, although HomeKit is not infallible either. And it's very useful to have all our Home controls right at your wrist with the Apple Watch.

That doesn't mean you should make the change, of course. Your home is your home and as we always recommend, buy and use what suits you best!

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