Smarthome hubs are great for linking your devices together for routines and voice commands. However, the real benefit is automation, so your smarthome can act for you without any input. However, there is a problem: Smarthome sensors are rare and expensive.
Smarthome sensors detect and do things
Smarthome sensors have multiple form factors to capture your presence or other information using a variety of methods. Contact sensors go to your doors or windows and recognize when you open and close them. Motion sensors see when you enter and leave the room. And temperature sensors do not recognize you. Instead, they derive information, eg. B. detecting a rise in temperature due to an open door on a hot summer day.
With intelligent sensors in the right place, you can do a full automation, at home. More advanced hubs can do this and add additional components to the routines such as the current time or the weather. For example, you can create an automation that turns on the light on the porch if someone opens the back door while it is night.
When voice assistants make your Smarthome respond to your commands, sensors proactively let your Smarthome respond to your presence. However, equipping your home with smart home sensors is difficult as there are only a few to choose from and most (if not all) are expensive.
How much is a sensor?
One of the biggest problems with smart home sensors is the lack of choice. You can perform an Amazon search for Z-Wave contact sensors. However, some of these results apply to security systems that do not work with smarthome hubs.
If you limit the search to the contact sensors that work with a hub You have two to three options. And then the price becomes a problem. Samsung produces the most popular Z-Wave contact sensor and is usually in the $ 20 range. That does not seem to be much in advance, but you'll need a contact sensor for every door and window you want to track. If you have a front door, a back door, and two windows to connect to your smarthome, you already have $ 80.
Motion sensors that work with Smarthomes are just as rare and often more expensive. Again, there are two to three ways to search for smarthome-compatible sensors. You usually spend around $ 60 on Fibaro's highly rated motion sensor. Multiply this now with every room in your home, and you'll see how quickly the costs add up.
Strangely, it is not necessarily difficult to make these sensors. Most motion sensors are virtually just PIR sensors with a Z-Wave or ZigBee radio, and PIR sensors are easy to find. The scythe kit from Wyze shows that they do not have to be expensive either. However, there are only a few Smarthome-compatible sensors to choose from, which are usually costly.
Some incomplete alternatives
If you want to add presence awareness to your home, you have several alternatives, each of which involves compromises. Wyze offers a very cost-effective sensor kit that fully follows the trend. They work great and are useful for easy basic automation. However, Wyze sensors are not compatible with Z-Wave and ZigBee smart hubs. You must have a Wyze camera to use the sensors.
In addition, the Wyze system can perform basic automation, but no more advanced scenarios can be created.
With RoomMe, Intellithings would like to try a different route method completely to add presence awareness to your home. Instead of providing your doors and windows with contact sensors and your room with motion detectors, you attach a device that resembles a smoke detector to the ceiling. Then download the RoomMe app (for iOS and Android). If you carry your phone from room to room, the RoomMe hardware will be contacted, and RoomMe will turn on the lights or change the thermostat, depending on your preferences.
The obvious downside is that you need to carry your phone anywhere in the world to work for this system. And you have to buy one for each room you want to automate. Worse, it works with a limited number of smart hubs and devices – currently Wink, Homekit, and Philips Hue are the best-known names in this list. If you have another hub like Hubitat, you're out of luck.
Currently, full automation that really anticipates your needs is unattainable due to lack of choice and high cost. Hopefully, other companies are following in Wyze's footsteps, bringing cost-effective, effective sensors to market. Until then, voice controls are the most sensible option for controlling your smart home.