Home automation - these words can be intimidating, hinting at a lot of costs if you start thinking about it. My experience suggests to me that it doesn't have to be all that expensive at all. Technology has advanced and numerous brands are giving you smart solutions at a reasonable cost.
Some are reliable and some absolute trash!
My smart home journey started late last year when I decided to have my first Amazon Echo. The COVID-19 was forcing us all to be locked in home and I was finding ways to make my life more interesting. It has a technology advantage and people at my home started appreciating for what it's worth. Let's look at what I have in my home space.
Asus AC86U Wifi Router
I work in the IT industry and as you can imagine it is an absolute requirement to have a strong internet connection, preferably a Fiber Optic connection. This router though a bit costly for my taste (I paid around 15000 Rs/-, ~ $200) is my daily driver when it comes to the gateway to the Internet. All my devices, including IoT devices, are connected to this.
I keep it in my hall and it is the heart of automation. All that we will see further is controlled by Echo. Alexa integrates with almost every smart device and voice control is not only a breeze but at times a convenience as well.
Ikea Floor Lighting
I have four of these. One in the hall and each of the three bedrooms have one. It comes with an E27 type holder and I found Mi had the smart bulbs that were suitable for it. I bought a total of 4 bulbs to be powered in the Ikea Floor Lighting. All these bulbs are connected to Amazon Echo and I control them via Alexa. The most important aspect of this bulb is that it retains the previous power state while an electricity interruption happens. It is quite a normal affair in India to have frequent power cuts so you must have bulbs that do not randomly turn on.
Amazon Smart Plug
All the entertainment systems are connected to it via a power strip. It has my 55 inch Sony Bravia OLED TV, Airtel's Internet DTH receiver, Samsung Q60t Sound Bar and the sub-woofer. It is controlled by Alexa to switch it on and off.
You say 'Alexa, turn on the TV' - voila! you have the system ON.
Wipro 16 Amps Smart Plugs
I have 2 ACs in the home which we use during summer. One in the master bedroom and one in the kid's room. The air conditioners are from LG and have it's own routine to switch on from midnight and off at 4.00 AM. However, I make sure that it turns off and on based on voice commands as well. Again, these plugs are connected to Amazon Echo.
Amazon Echo Dot and a Google Home Mini
I have these two as well which are placed in different rooms. One in my office room and one in the kid's room. They use Google Mini for mostly songs from Spotify. I use them to listen to music as well as listen to my audiobooks while I'm relaxing.
There, with these my home automation is complete. The other major smart thing which I did (though not strictly smart) is to replace all traditional fans with BLDC fans. The traditional fans take up 75W regardless of the speed. BLDC is the new fans that use much less power to work and comes with a remote control too. The fans I have are 28W rated and at 2 speed, it takes 14 watts to work. I am an efficiency freak and try to save electricity as much as I can.
Hopefully this gives a fair idea of how I did my Home Automation.