My Smart Picks

I have been on my quest for a smarter home journey for a while and I thought I would share some of my device selections. I will update this post as I add new devices. In the future I will also share some of my use cases for them as well.

The SmartHome System

I went with SmartThings because of its openness. When I first started out I gave Lowes Iris v1 and v2 a shot but I was unable to do the things that I wanted to. Their v2 system is closed, doesn’t have an api and is a bit buggy as of the last time I used it. I think there are two different use cases for these two products. Lowes’s Iris is a good fit for someone who wants to setup an out of the box home automation system in which they don’t want to do a ton of customization. SmartThings is a fit for those that want to integrate everything, and don’t mind doing some “coding” and detailed configuration work. In the end Lowes provides a simple closed system and SmartThings a wide open system.

My device picks below are for the SmartThings smart home system.

Contact Sensors

Rating Manufacturer Price Range Product Link(s) Notes
5/5 Lowe’s Iris System
Made by CentraLite
~$23 Lowe’s Iris Why the Lowe’s Contact Sensor? I found that it is one of the cheaper options on the market for SmartThings compatible open close sensors.


To configure with SmartThings, you will need to create a custom device type from this code on Github.

3/5 – Device is too big. Maybe ideal for sliding doors. Monoprice ~$20 Monoprice Why the Monoprice Contact Sensor? I found that it is one of the cheaper options on the market for SmartThings compatible open close sensors.


To configure with SmartThings, you will need to create a custom device type from this code on Github.

5/5 SmartThings ~$40 SmartThings Why the SmartThings multi sensor? This sensor is not only a contact sensor but is also a vibration and temperature sensor. My current use case is alerts for my washer and dryer.


This device is directly support by SmartThings so pairing is easy.

Motion Sensors
Rating Manufacturer Price Range Product Link(s) Notes
4/4  Lowe’s Iris System
Made by CentraLite – Lowe’s Iris Motion Sensor
 ~29.99  Lowe’s Iris This motion sensor is one of the cheaper options and it works extremely well.


To configure with SmartThings, you will need to create a custom device type from this code on Github.

 0/5  Aeon Labs – Aeon Multisensor Gen5  ~47.50 Amazon This sensor looked like it had great potential but it really did not. I have not had any luck getting it to work with SmartThings. I need to reach out to the manufacturer to see if this a defective sensor. Also the updating time for the sensor is really slow.
Bulbs
Rating Manufacturer Price Range Product Link(s) Notes
 3/5

They lag a little in turning on and off. They also get out of sync in the network rather often.

 Ge – Ge Link Bulbs  ~$15  Amazon I chose these because of the price being low.


The device type for this is built into SmartThings so it will pair easily.

 4/5  SYLVANIA ULTRA 11-Watt  ~20 Lowes I needed something inexpensive that would work outside. Even though these are indoor bulbs, I have the working nicely outside.


The device type for this is built into SmartThings so it will pair easily.

Smart Plugs
Rating Manufacturer Price Range Product Link(s) Notes
 3/5 – For difficulty in pairing  Lowes’s Iris SmartPlug  ~$35  Lowes These plugs I originally got when I tried Iris. It work with SmartThings but the device is a bit expensive and from my experience the built in repeater can mess up the device network.


You can get the device type for SmartThings from Github.

 5/5  Aeon Labs smart plug  It was $20 when I bought mine. Now ~$100 Amazon This smart Plug works pretty well and was a good price when I purchased it.


The device type for this is built into SmartThings so it will pair easily.

 4/5 – Setup is a bit rough  Aeon Labs power strip  ~$80 Amazon Great for controlling multiple devices, has 4 individually controllable plugs and two normal plugs.


Steps to setup can be found on this forum. The device type ca be found here as well.

Miscellaneous Sensors
Rating Manufacturer Price Range Product Link(s) Notes
 5/5 – It’s loud  Utilitech Siren  ~$35  Lowes This siren works well with SmartThings and is plently loud


This device type is built into SmartThings.

 5/5  Utilitech flood sensor  ~$30 Lowes I have not had a leak yet but in my testing the device worked well.


The device type for this is built into SmartThings so it will pair easily.

 5/5 SmartThings Arrival Sensor  ~$30 SmartThings  Device works great for setting up arrival/departure events, such as setting or dis-arming alarm


Device is directly support by SmartThings

 5/5 Garageio  ~$200-$219 Garageio  Works great for making sure garage door is closed as well as for receive notifications for when the garage opens.


See this forum for integrating.

 5/5 Logitech Harmony Hub  ~$90 Amazon This device makes it possible to integrate your media devices (TV, DVD players, Game consoles and so on).


See this forum for integrating.

 5/5 Amazon Echo  ~$180 Amazon Configure voice control for SmartThings.


See this forum for integrating.

Stay tuned for my top SmartThings app picks as well as some other cool devices and SmartThings projects.

What in The WWW Is The Internet Of Things?

First the Wikipedia definition:

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items which are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.” –Wikipedia

You might think IOT is just another buzz word like Web 2.0 and you might be right, but its cool nonetheless.

So IOT is basically an internet of connected sensors/devices. This network of devices lets us do cool things like asking Alexa (The Amazon Echo) to turn on the lights, tracking driving data and making better driving decisions, detecting water leaks and preventing them and then list goes on.

There is a future of Uber digitization ahead of us. We have had the web craze, the app market and now we will have an ecosystem where everything is connected.

This sounds great, but wait, what about security? Yeah… fraud with bank accounts and credit/debit cards occurs pretty often so how do we prevent our houses, cars and lives from being hacked?

Great question! The answer is we need to start planning for that now. Security in the IOT ecosystem is not the best yet and it needs to get better.

That’s all I got for now! Stay tuned for more later.

What are you thoughts on how to handle the IOT security issue? Post a comment below.