Smart Home Diary Stories September 26

Writing user guides used to be part of how I earned my living. But this week I’ve been creating a smart home user guide on a purely personal basis.

When you’ve lived with smart home tech for quite some time, it all becomes second nature. But it’s easy to forget just how much there would be to learn for someone new to it all.

That’s a discovery we made when arranging for a friend to cat-sit later in the year. He’ll be living in our apartment while we’re on holiday, and it was only when we were showing him around that I realized quite how much there is to know – and he’s a tech guy by profession…

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Smart Home Diary Stories May 24

A conversation this morning got me thinking about the different categories of smart home tech.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love gadgets for their own sake. If there’s a low-tech way of doing something and a hi-tech way of doing it, I’ll tend to favor the hi-tech option even where the benefit is marginal.

My partner is not of the same view. She’s not a Luddite by any means – she has an iPhone, iPad, Mac, and appreciates some hi-tech solutions – but for her, the default option is the traditional way of doing things. Any technological wizardry has to justify itself.

This results in some negotiations about the devices we have in our apartment, which led me to the conclusion that there are three categories of smart home tech …

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Ecobee HomeKit Thermostat

Smart Home Diary Stories May 9

Although I do generally have a rule that smart home tech has to be HomeKit-compatible, there have been a few exceptions here and there. HomeKit-compatible window blinds were one of these, because the only option available at the time was just crazy money for the number we needed.

We did still get iPhone-controlled blinds, with HomeKit support promised down the line. Alexa support arrived first, which gave me an interesting insight into how the two ecosystems compared – but then HomeKit support finally landed for Hunter Douglas blinds …

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Smart Home Diary Stories January 16

One recurring theme I’ve seen in comments on my various Smart Home Diary pieces is the view expressed by some that a truly smart home ought to be automated. That pressing on-screen buttons on an iPhone does not equate to a smart home, only automation does.

I have some sympathy for this view. ‘Anything that can be automated should be automated’ is something of a mantra for me. But automation isn’t the whole picture, and I’d like to explain why I hold that view …

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Smart Home Diary Stories January 14

I mostly control smart home devices via Siri, and even Steph has become a convert to the idea since we got HomePods.

But while both Siri and the Home app make things very simple for us, things are trickier for guests – which is why I decided to put an old iPad to work …

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Smart Home Diary Stories September 7, 2018

I’ve played around a bit with Alexa, and even considered buying an Echo Dot or two before the launch of HomePod, but in the end decided to wait it out.

However, while Hunter Douglas is still promising HomeKit support for our Luxaflex Duette blinds, and was expecting to get there by now, certification has been delayed until later in the year. In the meantime, it’s gone ahead with the launch of the new bridge which brings voice control to the blinds – but so far only for Alexa and Google Home …

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