Welcome to the last entry of my 4 part series about my smarthome evolution. In Part 1, I discussed my start in developing my smarthome. My smarthome evolution to actually having smart gadgets and automation is detailed in Part 2 of this series. In Part 3 of this series, I went into detail about the current state of my smarthome. This final part will focus on where I think my smarthome will be headed over the next year or two.
I’ve learned so much in the last year and I have many projects in mind that I haven’t yet had time for. At the same time, I need to upgrade my existing solutions while always looking out for new and better solutions. A combination of getting to desired projects, performing upgrades, and transitioning to new and better solutions constitutes my foreseeable future smarthome evolution.
Smarthome Evolution: Home Networking
I’m in a happy place with my network right now. My TP-Link Access points are rock solid and just work. I have good wireless AC and N coverage throughout my house. My router, pFsense, does everything I want to do. I don’t have a need to run any new wiring as I have Cat 6 going to most rooms. However, I’d expect there to be a few changes over the next couple of years.
Upgrade to my access point infrastructure
I’m happy with my access point controller, Omada, but I still need to keep it up to date. Also, I currently have it running in a VM, but there is a Docker image for it. I’ll probably migrate over to the Docker image for ease of maintenance, upgrades, and portability.
In addition, if over the next couple of years I purchase a couple of WiFi 6 clients, I may upgrade one of my access points to WiFi 6.
Reevaluate virtual router
Virtual pfSense has worked out well, but it does have some inconveniences. I’m the only one who knows how to restart the router if needed. With an appliance, anyone could do it. Also, I’ll need to migrate the router VM as I plan to upgrade the OS on the host where it’s currently running. This might be a good time to look at buying hardware for my pfSense router.
Keep my eye on better failover Internet options
5G may be available for home Internet in my area in a year or two. At that point, I seriously consider it for my primary and/or backup internet. Also, I’ll be on the lookout for a lower cost and/or higher bandwidth 4G plan than what I’m currently using for backup Internet.
Highly available docker
As I move more of my services to docker, it is time to look into options for making my containers highly available in a failure situation. The best options for this seem to be Kubernetes and Docker Swarm. I don’t know much about either, but I plan to dip my feet into one or both of these in the near future.
Smarthome Evolution: Home Security
My alarm system has served me well and I have no plans to change it. My video surveillance system has also worked well, but Zoneminder is another candidate to move to Docker. Also, a couple of my cameras are aging and aren’t even HD, so it is time to replace them. I’ll be looking into inexpensive models that support RTSP, like my current SV3C Outdoor WiFi Camera (1080p).
Also, I may finally install a smart doorbell with a camera to further improve my security. I’ll be looking for one that isn’t dependent on the cloud and can integrate with Zoneminder. I also may see what I can do with facial recognition for my existing cameras.
Smarthome Evolution: IoT
I can already tell that my next obsession will be LED lights. I’m already starting to look into the WLED software that can give me cool effects and integrate with Home Assistant. Watching Dr. Zzs video below made it seem pretty easy to get started. I know there are other options, but this probably where I’ll start.
Other devices I’ll probably get into include:
- Another robot vacuum for another floor in my home, and for mopping
- A couple more smart switches, as not all my light switches are smart yet (gasp!)
- I want notification when my smoke alarm or CO detector goes off. It is too expensive to outfit my house with smart versions of these, like the Nest Protect or Z-Wave detectors. So I’m going to look into a device like the Roost smart battery or even a Wyze Cam, which has the ability to notify based on smoke/CO sounds
- I have a couple of WiFi smart switches that require the cloud. I want to learn to use Tuya-convert to make these work without cloud access
- I’ll also be on the lookout for innovations in smart displays and smart speakers
Smarthome Evolution: Automation
I plan to keep writing and refining my automations to keep making my house smarter and smarter. While I like developing my Home Assistant automations in YAML, I’m really interested to try creating automations with Node-RED. Some new automations I have in mind are:
- Sprinkler scheduling with weather control (Edit: Done). I am able to manually start each of the irrigation sprinkler zones manually with Home Assistant, but I currently rely on a cloud service for regular scheduling. To eliminate the need for the cloud service, I need to be able to make irrigation schedules that are smart enough to take the weather into account.
- LED lighting schedules. I recently got into individually addressable LEDs. I’d like to install more lights and set schedules and triggers for when the lights come on. For instance, I’d like the lights to have particular patterns for various holidays and birthdays in the house.
- Use motion sensors to automate more lights. I’d like my house to know when to turn on and off more lights and not have to have anyone in the house think about it. I have a few of these automations, but I would like more, I just need more motion sensors.
If you are interested in some automation ideas, make sure to check out this article.
Home Assistant will reach version 1.0, and I plan to upgrade my installation with each new release and take advantage of new features. Home Assistant will continue to improve its new official Android app and I plan to adopt it. At this point, I really can’t imagine using any other smarthome hub!
Smarthome Evolution: Multimedia
I’m at the beginning of my cord-cutting journey, and the streaming service wars are just beginning to heat up. First and foremost I am going to keep evaluating streaming services to make sure my family has the right mix. The great thing about streaming services is that I can cancel and restart at any time, and if the service doesn’t provide content I’m interested in at the time, I’ll cancel.
My primary TV and A/V receiver are getting long in the tooth. Sometime over the next couple of years, I’ll replace them with 4K capable smart models, like the TCL 6 series Roku TVs and the Denon s750 A/V receiver. I’m pretty happy with the Roku streaming sticks I have, but I’ll keep my eye on new versions in case there is a compelling reason to upgrade.
What does the future hold? These are my plans but what new technologies will emerge that I don’t know about? What do you think I should be getting into? I’ll keep you up to date on my journey right here, at HomeTechHacker!
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