My Path Towards A Smart House
I have had visions of an automatic house since first seeing the idea on Tomorrows World. A few years ago I made my start, automatic lights controlled by motion sensors and door connectors. This was based on Motorola’s proprietary hardware all controlled by a router box from within my network. The primary interface was very intuitive all configured using a drag and drop web interface, this would of course soon become its Achilles heel.
Motorola’s system was soon re-branded as Xanboo as before long some much needed updates were being pushed out and the format looked like it was benefiting from the change. Like all good things it didn’t last long. Xanboo was bought over by AT&T in December 2010, this news was soon followed by a letter at the end of March from AT&T’s general attorney Meredith Mays who said “AT&T is currently in the process of integrating Xanboo into AT&T’s portfolio of services and affiliated companies. At this time, AT&T anticipates modifying or eliminating current Xanboo products and services and winding down its existing processes. The purpose of this letter is to notify you that your agreement shall be terminated effective as of midnight, July 4, 2011.”
My local supplier soon notified their customer base of the news which would mean the closing down of their online services as of December 2011. As I previously stated, even though the router controlling my devices was located in my house I had to use their website to configure it. So I, along with everyone else, faced the prospect of losing control over everything we had already bought. They did however promise to search for an alternative. Non was found.
So as of December 2011 my home automation/security system had turned into a rather expense collection of paperweights. I am now, finally, searching for a new solution.
My criteria are quite specific this time:
1. Open Standards – If one company were to close down I should not be left starting from scratch.
2. Local Access – I must have access to my configuration internally, without requiring the internet
3. Mobile Access – My phone is my remote control for everything else, so it should control my house
4. Tasker integration – Not a requirement, but it would be good
There are a number of solutions available at present. I will investigate fully before making my final decision, but the short list is Z-Wave, X10 and LightwaveRF. As always with projects of this nature I will use this section of my site to categorise and log my journey.
If you have experience of any of these options or would like to share your experience and any pitfalls please use the comment box below, I would love to hear your thoughts.