Recently, I’ve decided to add some smart-home technology to my residence. This past weekend, I selected and installed three Nest 3rd Gen Learning Thermostats. (I have three A/Cs in my home) The Nest app is very cool and allows some sophisticated A/C temperature and humidity management. Nest is of course owned by Google. I have, however, integrated it with my Alexa Echo’s. I can say “Alex set the temperature in the Kitchen to 73 degrees” and she’ll make it so. This is very handy if you’re sitting in the living room and do not want to get your "fat lazy butt’ up and adjust the thermostat.
I also bought some camera technology to try out. I chose the Ring product and bought a Doorbell Pro and the RING Floodlight Cam, but now I’m having second thoughts. There is no way to save video except through a subscription of $3-$10 a month. This is not ideal for me. (I think there is a hack for this, but it seems convoluted since it uses the “Alexa” interface to do this) This means that Amazon, who owns Ring, has video of your home’s activities. They can do almost anything they want with it apparently:
Most of the other leading security camera companies do the same thing. My alternative is a completely local security camera solution. This limits the online video options for answering the door etc. I guess I could build a system which does this myself, but this has limits, too.
Next, I want to connect to my existing security sensors provided initially by Brinks and get rid of the monitoring service.
Here’s the solution I’ve found do do most of all of this. Hubitat:
Another option instead of Hubitat is Home Assistant which uses a Raspberry PI BTW. (I bought my RPI4 2GB yesterday at Microcenter)
My questions are:
- Has anyone designed built and installed a security system that they love?
- Has anyone installed a system using local stand alone cameras that journal the video locally and are happy or unhappy with it? Something like Nightowl
3. Lastly, has anyone installed and hacked a Raspberry PI based system?
4. Right now the Hubitat, which uses Z-wave and Zigbee to access hundreds of devices looks very attractive at only $90 or so.
PS. I’m also looking at running Pi-Hole for a firewall after reading several recommendations on Talk.