Rich Freeman on 1 Aug 2016 11:40:36 -0700

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[PLUG] FOSS Home Automation?

A while back we had a talk on MisterHouse, which I believe is still
X10-based.  Is that still the general recommendation for getting
started with home automation?  From what I've read X10 is showing its
age and there are a lot of newer alternatives.  The flip side of that
is that there are a LOT of alternatives and the vast majority seem to
be proprietary.

Everybody seems to be trying to lock-in the market with Apple-store
like models (I'm sure some of these products can be bought in an Apple

What is the general advice for getting started with home automation
TODAY.  Some guidelines for me:

1.  My immediate use case is being able to turn on/off my bedroom
light from bed.  Yes, I realize there are cheaper/easier ways to do
it.  But, this is a general direction I'm interested in expanding on,
so it is a good place to start.  So, make sure I can do this.

2.  I don't want to have to use a phone to do everything.  I want
switches on the wall.  Remotes/phones/etc are all desirable but must
be OPTIONAL for basic functionality.

3.  I want to be able to automate actions (as with Misterhouse), based
on time/events/etc.  Triggers might include sensor or remote inputs as

4.  Basic functionality like turning on/off lights has to work if my
PCs are all shut off.  I don't mind depending on some kind of
appliance-like controller, but software has to be purely optional.
Ditto for the cloud.  I don't mind the lights not changing
automatically if the network is down, but light switches have to work.

5.  If I sell the house, I want to either be able to trivially take it
all with me (ie nothing hard-wired), or leave it in place and the new
owner wouldn't know it was there (ie light switches still work in dumb
mode without automation).

6.  I'd like it to work on my ANDROID phone.  Nothing iOS-only.

7.  I'd strongly prefer FOSS.  It isn't an absolute requirement, but I
don't really see myself going the proprietary route.

8.  It needs to be broadly compatible.  I don't want a choice of 3
devices total that it works with.  I don't want the hardware to be
overpriced either.  No requirement to use $75 light bulbs or whatever.

9.  Notwithstanding #8, the idea of color-spectrum adjusting lights
does appeal to me (f-lux/redshift for the home or whatever).  I don't
mind paying a bit more for some light bulbs with this capability, if
they work with my generally-FOSS solution otherwise, and I'm not
obligated to use them for every socket in the house.

Basically I want flexibility to use either cheap or fancy hardware as
the use case requires and not be locked into anything.

So, does this exist?  Or should I just stick with X10?

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