So I'm a big fan of IoT, (Internet of Things), and over the last couple of years have done various things to my house to enhance my living environment. The main things been introduction of Tado controls to the central heating and hot water system so I can control that remotely and the addition of a few Belkin WeMo electrical sockets and their movement sensor. I have also added a LIFX wireless bulb for the front of the house that is remotely controllable.

The big advantage of most of these things is that they can be connected together using the IFTTT service so there's a certain amount of logic that can be controlled when each device is used.

However the biggest problem with the whole IOT environment currently is that there is no universal "glue". A certain amount of things can be done outside the appointed IFTTT channels by using their maker channel which sends a web hook off into the cloud and you can invoke another service, just by using this more freehand way of doing stuff. However the big issue is that currently there is no central home hub that somehow pulls all of the stuff together. If there is an API available, with a number of these devices I have also created proprietary Windows apps in C# to make them do stuff that is of more use to me.

Earlier this year I received a Ninja Sphere device which promised to be the home hub, but shortly after receiving this the company went bust! Fortunately my "investment" wasn't lost because of the wonderful credit card section 75 cover so all the money was returned. But you can't help but feel that there is a big hole in the market simply because of this inability for these devices to speak to each other readily. OpenHAB seems like it may be a possible solution, but I haven't really had the opportunity to look further into this.

The other area I find peculiar at the moment though is that more and more lightbulbs into becoming on the market that are IFTTT capable or controlled by mobile apps via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. But I think the issue doesn't lie with the ability to control the bulb but the ability to control the switch itself. Simply because it doesn't matter how controllable your bulb is, if somebody has inadvertently turned it off at the switch! To this end there is nothing on the market that helps you do this, particularly in the UK. Some might argue that the LightwaveRF device allows you to do this which can do from an app, but the problem with this is that it is completely proprietary so you can't address it from other devices and also has no capability of finding out whether the switch is on or off. All fairly fundamental stuff I would have thought.

In the US Belkin with their WeMo brand have created the light switch but despite me doggedly asking them the question over the last couple of years, all they ever say to the UK market is look at our website…! I do find it really strange that no one else has jumped in to this arena to make light switches addressable and to that end also electrical sockets without the need for an extra appendage needing to be plugged in to your existing sockets. Maybe I'm missing something really fundamental here but this market would just explode given the ability to remotely control devices like this.

Anyway just a random mind dump, and no doubt as I find appropriate devices and solutions I'll post more on the site.

Go To Top