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  • You want complicated? Wink went to a subscription model and I had to replace the Wink2 hub with a Samsung SmartThings hub.

    We have ZWave, Zigbee, Hue, Cree, Kasa, 5 Echo devices, 5 Firestick TV’s, Apple TV’s...

    Some of that stuff is really hard to reset.

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  • I went with TP Link for my plugs.

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  • Using the Philips Hue smart plugs right now.  $35 Canadian (requires a hub) and they work great.

    I also have some older Ubiquiti mfi Stuff that I have been using for close to a decade. Works great too, but was discontinued about 5 years ago

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  • From a security perspective, I put all my consumer IoT devices on a separate SSID and VLAN. Once they are installed, I generally delete the app from my phone and control it via a hub (in this case, Alexa - which has its own security risks, but is only used in my house for IoT control). Some of these devices are potentially intrusive, hence the separate VLAN.

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  • I've a couple of smart plugs in the house and haven't had any bother getting them up and going  They initially threw a warning about WiFi, but my bulbs all threw the same warning when I got them and they work fine.  

    It was basically complaining about not being able to join my WiFi because the devices didn't support 5GHz, but my AP broadcasts 5GHz and 2.4GHz on the same SSID so I just tap "OK" and it joins the 2.4GHz one.

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  • Smart plug? why not just buy a plug with a timer on it if you want your teas made machine to have your coffee ready when you wake up? Or if you want it for when you get in from work, or better still, put the kettle on before you take your hat and coat off so it will be boiled when you are bereft of out door clothing?  I've spent the last 30 plus years in IT but I'm buggered if I can phantom  why people are becoming so reliant on technology.  What you all going to do if we run out of electricity because we are all trying to charge up our electric cars at the same time?

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  • I had a few issues with an unknown brand plug a couple of years ago, it just didn't want to setup using any method, so in the end I gave it up as a bad job. However, I've had great success with the Amazon own brand bulbs and recently with bulbs from Meross. 

    As to why go with technology, they're a real help for my wife who has limited mobility, she can simply ask Alexa to turn on the lights, etc.rather than struggling to get out of her chair and going to the light switch itself.

    Still trying to find a sensible use for smart plugs though at home. Havew used some infra-red switching ones at work though for WAP's at high level, so people can reset them in the warehouse, if needed. However, these tend to require resetting if there's been a power outage.

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  • Tradewalker wrote:

    Still trying to find a sensible use for smart plugs though at home. Havew used some infra-red switching ones at work though for WAP's at high level, so people can reset them in the warehouse, if needed. However, these tend to require resetting if there's been a power outage.

    My use for smart plugs is very basic. I am going to have one behind the X Mas tree so I don't have to crawl behind and plug and unplug, and I have some for the outdoor lights so I can sit in the comfy house and turn them on or if we are away, turn them on when it gets dark.

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  • I just got a couple of Amazon Echo Dot's cause they were dirt cheap prior to Prime day and I had some other bonuses to use up...Bought some TP-Link Kasa "mini wifi plugs" and I had NO issues what so ever getting them installed and set up (4 of them). I did not like having to set up an account with TP-Link OR installing another app....or the fact that you sill had to go into the Alexa app and "discover" the devices...seems to me that it should be a little quicker and easier to set up, but...really I remember the x10 days...this is MUCH easier.

    If it weren't for the voice control, and the ability to create "routines" with the Eco Dot...yes a plain old mechanical timer switch would work just fine. Not to mention the Dot works pretty well as a wifi streaming device when connected to the stereo.

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  • I got some Wyze plugs, and was able to get them up and running within 5 minutes per plug, and connect them with my google home, or to use the schedule within the Wyze app, or within google home.

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  • Love my TP-Link Kasa smart outlets.

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  • A guy I help out bought a 3-pack of smartplugs from Costco, and asked me to help set them up. Needed to drop by in-person, since he couldn't explain things over the phone. He'd bought a 'cheap' set, so no 3D barcode to scan and 'autoconfigure'. Had to download the app, sync each plug (that was fun), then go to Google Home, give it access to his app account, and then let it recognize the plugs. Then we had to name them.

    I picked 'Slam Dunk', but that wasn't really how I'd describe the experience. Left up to him, he still would never have gotten them going.

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  • My home automation system uses an Insteon Hub, but I also have TP-Link SmartPlugs, and some Z-Wave.  That is the order I'd put them in, in terms of trouble-free operation.  

    Much of the reason Insteon is first, however, is because I'm using Mark Sander's spectacular plugin for HomeSeer which makes it very simple.  The second reason is Insteon uses a simultaneous wireless and over-the-power-line communication protocol where every device is a repeater in a mesh network.  So, the more you install, the better everything works.

    The TP-Link WiFi SmartPlugs I'm using were a little dicey at first, but it turned out the app was mostly the problem.  I'm not a fan of wifi-based stuff because every little gadget takes an IP address and becomes a potential vulnerability, and I really hate them if they phone home outside my network.  A separate subnet is ideal, but problematic if you're trying to run things without going to the cloud (which most of the stuff I have does).

    As for Z-Wave, again these need a hub, and they only transmit RF, not over the wire.  I don't have a lot of devices so the mesh is pretty sparse and I think that's why they've been less reliable than the Insteon.

    I have Z-Wave locks that are iffy some days. I just ordered a few additional Z-Wave plugs for cheap, and I'm a little concerned a $25 device could be a fire hazard.  UL listing is important to me, but the question I always have is "Was it really?".  It's pretty easy to print a label and then ship them over by the thousands on a container ship.  Who's really inspecting these to ensure they've actually been UL tested?

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  • Early items were certainly more difficult and plenty of the super generic ones can be annoying.  While certainly not 100%, for the most part the old adage of "You get what you pay for" holds true in this instance as well.  We're planning on building a new home in the next year, and it'll be wired with smart switches, sensors, etc from the get go.

    For the "I don't know why anyone would need that" people, do you NEED a smart phone?  Do you NEED a lawn mower?  Do you NEED a car?  Do you NEED a washer and dryer?  The answer of course is No, we don't NEED any of it, but in most cases they make our lives just a little more enjoyable.  Most of us can't remember the time of washing our clothes by hand and hanging them out to dry.  When washers and dryers first came out they were only luxury items and many people considered them excessive.  Now they're in most homes.  Much like the washers and dryers we have now have evolved from their first iterations, smart home technologies will evolve much farther than where it is currently and it too will become common place.  </soapbox>

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  • I'm one of those Luddites who will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century with respect to "smart home" devices.

    I'm a big fan of simplicity. There's not a whole lot that can go wrong with a basic light switch, and when it does fail, I can replace it without a bunch of complicated setup. Even a mechanical timer is simpler than an IoT device.

    The two big problems with IoT is obsolescence and security. At what point will a "smart device" have to be replaced because it uses a protocol that no app supports anymore? Or the manufacturer stops supporting the proprietary app and you can't install the old app on your new smartphone? You're stuck replacing an otherwise perfectly functional device.

    Then some serious vulnerability is discovered, but the manufacturer has abandoned the product; no updates are available. Now, you're replacing devices because of security.

    Eventually it adds up to a whole bunch of money. Is the convenience these things offer worth the time and expense of setup and maintenance? To me, it's not. A labor-saving device should not require more labor to maintain than it "saves" doing the intended task.

    Nobody ever remotely exploited a manual light switch. Except for maybe my brother, who ran strings and pulleys to the light switch so he could turn the light on and off from bed. Now *that's* some home automation I could get behind.

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  • Jonathan Johnson wrote:

    I'm one of those Luddites who will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century with respect to "smart home" devices.

    I'm a big fan of simplicity. There's not a whole lot that can go wrong with a basic light switch, and when it does fail, I can replace it without a bunch of complicated setup. Even a mechanical timer is simpler than an IoT device.

    The two big problems with IoT is obsolescence and security. At what point will a "smart device" have to be replaced because it uses a protocol that no app supports anymore? Or the manufacturer stops supporting the proprietary app and you can't install the old app on your new smartphone? You're stuck replacing an otherwise perfectly functional device.

    Then some serious vulnerability is discovered, but the manufacturer has abandoned the product; no updates are available. Now, you're replacing devices because of security.

    Eventually it adds up to a whole bunch of money. Is the convenience these things offer worth the time and expense of setup and maintenance? To me, it's not. A labor-saving device should not require more labor to maintain than it "saves" doing the intended task.

    Nobody ever remotely exploited a manual light switch. Except for maybe my brother, who ran strings and pulleys to the light switch so he could turn the light on and off from bed. Now *that's* some home automation I could get behind.

    I used to think the same way. Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of making my entire house smart. But...a year ago I got a Google Home Mini in a secret Santa deal at work, brought it home asked my wife if she wanted it cause I would NEVER use it...she put it in the kitchen...(a great place for such a thing) and I got used to it...a year later...I've bought in (to an extent), the stuff is cheap enough at this point that if all I get out of it is 4 or 5 years before I need to replace...it's still worth it for some of the convenience. Being able to wake up in the morning and say 3 or four words and have lights, heaters, sound systems, coffee makers turn on...without going anywhere near them...is kind of nice.

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  • Having the lights just turn on as I walk into a room...  total worth it.  

    but I also realize I am some high level of "Lazy" 

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  • I updated the Belkin Wemo (Android) app this morning and lost connection to the "smart plug".

    Physically powering the plug off and back on wasn't sufficient. I had to reset my Eero mesh AP before the Wemo plug was able to rejoin my wifi network and the app was able to reestablish comms.

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  • I have had nothing but grief with the Belkin Wemo line. If I wanted to ever look into "smart" plugs and stuff, I would look for a different brand. The software and firmware on that line of products is TERRIBLE!

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  • I second the Wyze plugs.  Easy to setup, easy to schedule, 2 pack for less than $20.

    The pricing on their cams and some other products that work with the same app are great also. No subscription fees for 2 week event storage on the cams makes it a no brainer if you need those as well.  

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  • Now on my 3rd smart plug manufacturer:

    Treatlife:

    Install was a breeze, decent app and never lost connectivity. Only major drawback: not UL certified.

    Belkin Wemo: 

    Ugly installer (see "error message" below!), better app than Treatlife in some respects and UL certified. The darned thing kept going offline every couple of days (even with wifi having direct line of site after I moved the bloody thing to see if that would resolve the issue).

    Kasa:

    Slick installer, connected to wifi easily, nice multi-colored (amber/blue) status light and app is the most polished of the three contenders. If it manages to stay connected to my fancy eero mesh wifi, we have a WINNER haha


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