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Amazon Expanding Alexa SmartHome Team


A CocoonTech member working for Amazon's Alexa Home Automation division has shared that Amazon is looking to fill more positions in this category.
 
Check this thread for more information.


5 Comments

I am watching with interest. What do people think about "everything" connected to some companies server on the net. Does privacy concern anyone?  I have a ring door bell. It has stopped working on two occasions without notice. The first failure they told me to do a complete reset and reconfigure. The next time was after they updated their server and rendered it inoperative until it was upgraded. I refuse to pay for their service,. I was away from my home when this happened. Does anyne share a concern for privacy when the actions of another company can affect your security system? We constantly hear of hacked systems what are these companies collecting on you?

I share the same set of concerns you mentioned.  I'm concerned by system dependence on a working Internet connection to the company's servers (what if your Internet's down and/or you're not home and/or your utility lines have been cut), hackability, data breaches.  All your devices communicating via wifi, which is easy to jam, all behind a paid service that can be cancelled at any time?  All your devices controlled through central service in the cloud?  That seems like about the least secure model! 

 

I'm trying to understand the direction the home automation industry is headed.  I currently have an Omni IIe, which is discontinued.  I'm trying to figure out a suitable replacement that has the same programability, centralizes and integrates security and device control, has a readily available assortment of sensors and switches, can be hard wired, and doesn't rely on the internet or anything outside the home.  I am not finding any products currently on the market that meet those criteria.  Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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Deane Johnson
Dec 09 2020 06:26 PM

The fact that companies feel free to render your devices inoperative on a whim to upgrade their products makes them useless in my opinion.  They're  ultimately shooting themselves in the foot.

I'm trying to understand the direction the home automation industry is headed.  I currently have an Omni IIe, which is discontinued.  I'm trying to figure out a suitable replacement that has the same programability, centralizes and integrates security and device control, has a readily available assortment of sensors and switches, can be hard wired, and doesn't rely on the internet or anything outside the home.  I am not finding any products currently on the market that meet those criteria.  Can anyone point me in the right direction?


Elk M1 is a product similar to Omni that is still alive, but one day it will be gone as well. The trend "to the cloud" seems to be accelerating and is pushing out remaining local only vendors. Stock up on the old components as it will be a while before some new business genius will re-discover the benefits of hard-wired home automation. Alternatively, you could go DIY on r-pi and ESPhome.

Ulf, on 08 Dec 2020 - 18:01, said:
I share the same set of concerns you mentioned. I'm concerned by system dependence on a working Internet connection to the company's servers (what if your Internet's down and/or you're not home and/or your utility lines have been cut), hackability, data breaches. All your devices communicating via wifi, which is easy to jam, all behind a paid service that can be cancelled at any time? All your devices controlled through central service in the cloud? That seems like about the least secure model!

I'm trying to understand the direction the home automation industry is headed. I currently have an Omni IIe, which is discontinued. I'm trying to figure out a suitable replacement that has the same programability, centralizes and integrates security and device control, has a readily available assortment of sensors and switches, can be hard wired, and doesn't rely on the internet or anything outside the home. I am not finding any products currently on the market that meet those criteria. Can anyone point me in the right direction?


I think the days of "one system controlling it all" are long gone.

The IOT has drastically changed the automation landscape and it is not going anywhere. The positive side of this is that there are a lot more interest in automation which has raised the demand for devices and lowered the cost of those devices. The obvious downside to this is the almost universal reliance on "the cloud" to make these things operate. This is NOT a good thing and everyone should be figuring out how to get off the cloud. Not only is security and privacy a real concern, but you should never rely on a cloud service to make your devices function. There have been plenty of examples of services simply ending or dramatically changing their pricing. You have to look no further than the recent IFTTT news to realize that cloud services hold their users hostage for the most part.

All that being said, here is my advice.

1 - I do not suggest getting an alarm system that also does automation. Instead get a "dumb" alarm system that can tie into a larger automation system. ELK is really the only "do it all" kind of alarm system left, and honestly their "automation" elements are generations behind. It's simply not worth spending 2-3x the cost of a dumb system for something you either wouldn't use anyway or can do via another method for less money. Take it from me. I have an ELK and do not use anything except alarm related features. All of my automation is handled by a different system. That leads to #2.........

2- Get an automation software to tie larger systems (like your alarm system, HVAC, lighting, A/V, etc) together. CQC is about to go open source (ie free to use) This is what I have used for over a decade, so it's what I know. Home Assistant is a very popular option as well and I believe it is free to use as well.

3 - Read up on MQTT and learn that system. It's probably the protocol used most often to take inexpensive IOT devices off the cloud and getting them on your local network only. This means they will work without any internet connection making security, privacy, and reliability a non-issue. Most automation systems can talk to MQTT and it's easy to fold these devices into a larger system. For example, if you are interested in lighting control it's super easy to use things like the Shelly1 to make your old "dumb" light switches and plugs into Alexa ready (but optional) smart automation devices - all for less than $20 per device. The alternative is to spend $50-150 per switch to move to some specialized lighting system that isn't going to work any better and may even lower your home's resale value. Please note, not every IOT device can use MQTT, but there are plenty of options out there that can.

Hopefully that gives you some sense of direction to go.