1. gwhizkids's Avatar
    I am a regular homeowner with kids in college. I don't really want/need lights that change colors radically for parties or music mixes (that said, I wouldn't mind something that helps out during long winters with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I digress). What are some good, down to earth and relatively inexpensive things to start out with? I really shudder at paying hundreds of dollars, for example, to replace the 6 floodlamps in my family room?

    What is the biggest bang for the buck?

    Thanks!
    02-20-2017 03:29 PM
  2. Just_Me_D's Avatar
    While awaiting a reply from Mikah, feel free to peruse the iMore Blog information via the following link.

    http://www.imore.com/tag/home-automation
    02-20-2017 03:37 PM
  3. dpscott's Avatar
    I am a regular homeowner with kids in college. I don't really want/need lights that change colors radically for parties or music mixes (that said, I wouldn't mind something that helps out during long winters with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I digress). What are some good, down to earth and relatively inexpensive things to start out with? I really shudder at paying hundreds of dollars, for example, to replace the 6 floodlamps in my family room?

    What is the biggest bang for the buck?

    Thanks!
    The first thing to do is work out what you want to achieve.
    I was an early adopter of smart home tech but made the mistake of jumping in feet first and ended up spending on certain items twice with more cost to come.

    I started with a Philips Hue starter kit which is 3 bulbs and a hub. Ideal for the bedrooms and hallway as the kids always left them on.

    I wanted to expand and ended up with the Samsung SmartThings setup which is a very comprehensive system and works with Hue, IFTTT and many, MANY other systems.

    As my home setup grew it became difficult to manage from within one app.
    I had SmartThings doing all the really technical stuff like switching lights off after 30mins of no motion from a SmartThings motion sensor and alerting me to any motion when no one was home and essentially being the 'security' hub.

    I had Nest for my video which was crazy handy when I did have a notification to say there was motion when I wasn't home (a bird came in the window)

    I then had things set with IFTTT to turn my hallway light blue if rain was due the following day for example.

    Since then I have invested more into the Apple ecosystem with two Apple TVs and upgraded iPhone giving the kids my old ones. We now have a full Apple household and that meant installing all 4 apps on all 4 devices plus the ones we share such as iPads.

    When HomeKit was announced I took interest devices were slow to market so I continued to grow my complex home.
    With iOS 10 and the Home app everything about HomeKit made sense and I decided to bite the bullet and make the switch to HomeKit devices starting with my Hue system.
    Unfortunately I can't achieve the same level of customisation as I did with SmartThings but Apple are always updating unlike SmartThings and I'm confident that iOS 11 will change how things work for me.

    Long story over.... I'd always recommend starting with a thermostat for several reasons.
    First and foremost is that they have potential to save you money on heating. In the U.K. Where it's always cold having the ability to switch heating off when no one is home is great.
    Secondly most top brands are HomeKit compatible and easy to install.

    The next thing to consider next to that is lights and you can get Hue Lux bulbs that are white only for £15 (about $20 I think) plus a hub at about $50.

    I'm a bit of a self taught expert when it comes to Home automation so please feel free to ask questions or challenge what I've said.
    Home automation for me has been a hobby but for some it's a home security system... something my work has exposed me to a lot of!
    gwhizkids likes this.
    02-20-2017 04:12 PM
  4. Muero's Avatar
    If you want some smart lights, do you know what size/shape bulb you need? Check out this chart: http://www.bulbs.com/images/resource...-and-sizes.png

    Since you mentioned "flood" I think you may have BR30 bulbs. Philips does make BR30 bulbs for their Hue line. The Hue White Ambiance don't do all the fancy colors, but can be adjusted anywhere from bluish white to yellowish white, and a 2-pack is $49.99 at Amazon. I don't know if the bluish white is the the right kind for seasonal affective disorder.
    gwhizkids and Carl Oglesby like this.
    02-20-2017 04:21 PM
  5. gwhizkids's Avatar
    The first thing to do is work out what you want to achieve.
    I was an early adopter of smart home tech but made the mistake of jumping in feet first and ended up spending on certain items twice with more cost to come.

    I started with a Philips Hue starter kit which is 3 bulbs and a hub. Ideal for the bedrooms and hallway as the kids always left them on.

    I wanted to expand and ended up with the Samsung SmartThings setup which is a very comprehensive system and works with Hue, IFTTT and many, MANY other systems.

    As my home setup grew it became difficult to manage from within one app.
    I had SmartThings doing all the really technical stuff like switching lights off after 30mins of no motion from a SmartThings motion sensor and alerting me to any motion when no one was home and essentially being the 'security' hub.

    I had Nest for my video which was crazy handy when I did have a notification to say there was motion when I wasn't home (a bird came in the window)

    I then had things set with IFTTT to turn my hallway light blue if rain was due the following day for example.

    Since then I have invested more into the Apple ecosystem with two Apple TVs and upgraded iPhone giving the kids my old ones. We now have a full Apple household and that meant installing all 4 apps on all 4 devices plus the ones we share such as iPads.

    When HomeKit was announced I took interest devices were slow to market so I continued to grow my complex home.
    With iOS 10 and the Home app everything about HomeKit made sense and I decided to bite the bullet and make the switch to HomeKit devices starting with my Hue system.
    Unfortunately I can't achieve the same level of customisation as I did with SmartThings but Apple are always updating unlike SmartThings and I'm confident that iOS 11 will change how things work for me.

    Long story over.... I'd always recommend starting with a thermostat for several reasons.
    First and foremost is that they have potential to save you money on heating. In the U.K. Where it's always cold having the ability to switch heating off when no one is home is great.
    Secondly most top brands are HomeKit compatible and easy to install.

    The next thing to consider next to that is lights and you can get Hue Lux bulbs that are white only for £15 (about $20 I think) plus a hub at about $50.

    I'm a bit of a self taught expert when it comes to Home automation so please feel free to ask questions or challenge what I've said.
    Home automation for me has been a hobby but for some it's a home security system... something my work has exposed me to a lot of!
    Thanks for the very comprehensive and helpful response!!!

    The one thing I already have is the major thing that is not Homekit compatible: a Nest thermostat. I agree with your thinking on the utility of that and I think it has saved us a great deal of money in the 3 years we've had it (hard to tell for sure, as it coincided with the installation of a new furnace/AC combo, so I can't tell how much savings is due to Nest and how much to upgraded equipment).

    I'll take a look at doing the other things you suggest.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by gwhizkids; 02-21-2017 at 02:39 PM.
    02-21-2017 01:48 PM
  6. gwhizkids's Avatar
    If you want some smart lights, do you know what size/shape bulb you need? Check out this chart: http://www.bulbs.com/images/resource...-and-sizes.png

    Since you mentioned "flood" I think you may have BR30 bulbs. Philips does make BR30 bulbs for their Hue line. The Hue White Ambiance don't do all the fancy colors, but can be adjusted anywhere from bluish white to yellowish white, and a 2-pack is $49.99 at Amazon. I don't know if the bluish white is the the right kind for seasonal affective disorder.
    I will have to check these out. Sounds about what I'm looking for. Price is still a bit hard to take (vs non-automated).
    02-21-2017 02:38 PM
  7. dpscott's Avatar
    I will have to check these out. Sounds about what I'm looking for. Price is still a bit hard to take (vs non-automated).
    I'm sure you already have but make sure you YouTube the hell out of things to see how they work, what limitations are and how they work day to day in someone's home rather than just for show.

    Philips Hue is great but only when combined with motion sensors for example.
    Without that you rely on set times which isn't as flexible
    02-21-2017 04:42 PM
  8. kilofoxtrot's Avatar
    Apple really needs to make a "amazon echo" or "Google Home" type product. I have 3 echos in my house. It is nice being able to turn lights on and off, control doors, thermostats by just talking out loud.

    Homekit relies on Siri for spoken commands... and let's face it, you don't always have your phone on your person or within range of you. With the Echo and Wink or Smartthings you just talk to your house.

    Homekit is a closed system compared to Wink or Smartthings. Something to consider.
    02-22-2017 11:27 AM
  9. dpscott's Avatar
    Apple really needs to make a "amazon echo" or "Google Home" type product. I have 3 echos in my house. It is nice being able to turn lights on and off, control doors, thermostats by just talking out loud.
    Couldn't agree more. If it was my choice I'd build it into Apple TV since the likelihood of being near a TV is high
    02-22-2017 01:23 PM
  10. kilofoxtrot's Avatar
    Couldn't agree more. If it was my choice I'd build it into Apple TV since the likelihood of being near a TV is high
    One ATV really doesn't work (at least for me), I would have to have 3 to cover my house as I do with the Dot/Echos. For the price of an ATV, you can get 3 Dots.

    IMO.... they need something similar to a DOT/Echo or Google Home to make HA work robustly. I don't see ATV being an answer, at least not one that would appeal to me.

    Example... I have a Dot in my kitchen. I give it voice commands for lighting, doors etc etc along with kitchen timers, todo lists, shopping lists. I don't have or want a TV in my kitchen. Having an ATV in the kitchen would be a waste.
    02-23-2017 10:02 AM
  11. kilofoxtrot's Avatar
    Couldn't agree more. If it was my choice I'd build it into Apple TV since the likelihood of being near a TV is high
    One ATV really doesn't work (at least for me), I would have to have 3 to cover my house as I do with the Dot/Echos. For the price of an ATV, you can get 3 Dots.

    IMO.... they need something similar to a DOT/Echo or Google Home to make HA work robustly. I don't see ATV being an answer, at least not one that would appeal to me.

    Example... I have a Dot in my kitchen. I give it voice commands for lighting, doors etc etc along with kitchen timers, todo lists, shopping lists. I don't have or want a TV in my kitchen. Having an ATV in the kitchen would be a waste.
    02-23-2017 10:02 AM
  12. mavsguy842's Avatar
    I feel the impact from days of cloudiness and the darkness of winter quite a bit. I'm also somewhat sensitive to the harshness of fluorescent lighting.

    I would HIGHLY recommend the Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit. You can adjust the temperature of the white light, but can't do colored light (red, green, pink etc). It's considerably easier to transition the White Ambiance bulbs to a different room/rooms if you decide to upgrade to color bulbs in the living room without needing to buy a new hub.

    Philips makes a wireless dimmer switch that you can use to toggle between light scenes and also to manually dim/brighten the lights. It runs off a watch battery so you can keep it magnetically mounted to the wall, but also take it with you to the sofa or to bed.

    I set automation in my living room so the lights come on before it starts getting dark outside and starts dimming down later than sunset. This tends to make the short days less noticeable to me, while still giving me the natural cue to sleep from dimming light as the night goes on.
    02-27-2017 12:28 PM

Similar Threads

  1. I can't listen to my voicemail
    By iMore Question in forum Ask a Question
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-20-2017, 06:59 PM
  2. What is the best way for me to back up my Mackbook Air -
    By iMore Question in forum Ask a Question
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-20-2017, 03:58 PM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-20-2017, 03:54 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-20-2017, 02:57 PM
  5. Can't get a Nintendo Switch? These are the five best alternatives
    By iMore.com in forum iMore.com News Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-20-2017, 02:12 PM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD