offset \ˈȯf-ˌset\ noun

a force or influence that makes an opposing force ineffective or less effective

Home Automation

Continuing onto the previous post, after we got the apartment, I invested some time into home automation. At first I rolled out my own set of small scripts, but eventually figured out that there is a web project called Home Assistant that hosts most of my half-baked solutions with an already nice UI so I switched to that.

Sometimes it can be a pain if you're not a power user, but I don't have a problem with it. For example, there are still some things missing that can't be solved with their DSL, but one can always go down to the implementation in the configuration and change it there. It would also be great if things failed with a bang instead of letting them run anyway, but you live with it.

I bought some devices from IKEA to get the ball rolling. The whole system is called TRÅDFRI and underneath it all lies the Zigbee protocol.

I got some ambient lights, got some motion sensors to power the lights on so I don't need to look for the switch and it also helps when I go away so I don't have to worry about forgetting to turn the lights off.

I set up the smart socket switch for the dehumidifier to run when we're away so we avoid the noise. Ireland can be damp.

I also connected two public API endpoints to the system. Open data can be very useful. One API call checks the weather and the other checks the public transportation. I made it change the color of the hallway light-bulb depending on the weather forecast in the morning so I know if I should bring a waterproof jacket, and I have it recite the upcoming buses for work that are due on the nearby bus stop via speakers. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 circumstances, those automations are turned off because we're not leaving the apartment. Nothing is working anyway and we're doing fine at home.

I also employed a Telegram connection so it notifies me on my smartphone (Fairphone 3 now) as well when needed.

There is also a smart thermostat in place so our heating is precisely controlled depending on if we're at home, but it doesn't activate that often since the apartment is south-oriented with a glass wall in the living room so it gets enough warmth during the day.

As a bonus, I've set up my phone to use the Automate app and solve some of the most common things there. Like when I plug in my headphones, Spotify activates so I don't need to turn it on manually.

There are small things that one can do to make their lives a bit easier with automation. If it doesn't exist natively, see if you can find a way around it.