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    Smart home?

    So I own a single-family home that was originally built in the early 90's. I want to start to automate it a little bit. Thermostats I can control remotely, lights/outlets that I can control remotely and put on timer (interior and exterior) and possibly remote lock/unlocking of doors.

    Does anyone have a good resource/recommendation to figure this out? Ideally I would be able to control all of this from a single app, and not have an app for each item. I want to make sure I don't limit myself for future expansion, if we want more smart stuff, as well.

    #2
    Smart home?

    I have been tinkering with smart home stuff for about six months now. For outlets, I like the Wemo smart plugs. For lighting, I run Phillips Hue bulbs. I also recently introduced a Logitech Harmony hub and remote to single remote control my tv, surround sound system, Roku, and blu-ray player.

    To control all of this in one app, I imported it all into Amazon Alexa, thereby enabling voice control for everything. As an example I now can say, "Alexa turn on Netflix", and it turns on the tv, turns on surround sound receiver, switches to the correct input, turns on Roku, switches Roku to Netflix app, turns off overhead lights, turns on my fireplace mood light to a 40% dim and turns on my tv backlight all at once.

    I have similar commands for blu-ray, sling tv, amazon prime, etc. You can also pause, mute, volume control, etc. via voice. I love it.

    Yonomi is another consolidation app for smart devices, but I haven't got that far.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Last edited by CMAc7; September 10, 2017, 06:54 PM.

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      #3
      The two platforms I'm familiar with are Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Homekit. Each provides an app or voice-enabled input to control a wide range of smart home devices from various brands. I have an Amazon Echo Dot that I really like, so I seek to buy smart home products that are compatible with Alexa (many are compatible with Alexa and Homekit). You can see what devices are compatible with Alexa and Homekit through their respective websites.

      Similar to CMAc7 above, I use Philips Hue lights and also the Logitech Harmony hub to control all my A/V stuff. I'd like to also use it for thermostat and door locks, but I live in an apartment so that wouldn't be feasible for me.

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        #4
        As I'm currently on orders to CYBERCOM, I refuse to give in to IOT stuff until I have *ZERO* other options.

        I actually manually disabled the telematics in both mine and my wife's cars. The bottom line is, if it's connected to the network, it *CAN* and most likely *WILL* get compromised.
        https://www.professorhorseyhead.com

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          #5
          [MENTION=15101]armedferret[/MENTION]

          Given that literally half of US citizens had their SSN and credit cards numbers hacked from Equifax last week, the light bulbs in my lamp being compromised is the least of my concerns.


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            #6
            Originally posted by CMAc7 View Post
            [MENTION=15101]armedferret[/MENTION]

            Given that literally half of US citizens had their SSN and credit cards numbers hacked from Equifax last week, the light bulbs in my lamp being compromised is the least of my concerns.


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
            Remember that time China hacked OPM way before that happened? No? K then.

            That should give you MORE cause for concern, not less. As more and more of your personal info is stolen and begins floating around, criminals have the ability to target indoviduals more easily. The more you have that gets connected, the bigger/more hackable a target you become.
            https://www.professorhorseyhead.com

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              #7
              Smart home?

              Perhaps my point wasn't as fine as I had suspected. What I meant to proport was, why would someone expend time and effort hacking my lightbulb when there is no financial incentive to do so? Wouldn't accessing the financial data of millions through Target be a more worthy endeavor? Aren't I more at risk by simply buying groceries?

              Perhaps I am being obtuse, but I just don't consider my lighting usage of interest to a hacker. Door locks, perhaps. Listening to me incessantly praise my dog through Alexa, doubtful. You obviously have more of an interest or background in these matters, but I just don't think my house routine worthy of a hack.


              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
              Last edited by CMAc7; September 11, 2017, 08:09 PM.

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                #8
                It isn't so much the hacking of my light bulbs that causes me concern. It is the aggregation of all of the data points to form a picture of me. Be an accurate picture or not. For example...

                - you wear a fitbit/apple watch/Garmin GPS/whatever
                - you have a smart fridge that knows what you eat and when you need more of it
                - you have a smart lock that knows when you're home and when you're not.
                - you have a car that knows where you go and how often you go there and use it.

                Now. You go to apply for life insurance for you/your kid/whatever. A few taps of the keys and...

                Well your fitbit indicates you don't move much off your couch. This is confirmed by how often you leave your house. And we know from your food purchase you order/eat nothing but sugar. And you drive everywhere. So your premiums will be XXX per year...

                Yeah, that's the part I don't like. Oh, and THIS is where the hacks will be focused on. Not messing your lights. You'll try to get the insurance companies/whatever to understand that look, I do exercise. That's why I have the fitbit. And I buy fruit and healthy items. But when the data is changed by malicious hackers (even if it is just for kicks), and not in your favour, it will be very difficult to convince anyone otherwise. Give Weapons of Math Destruction for a look at how big data and algorithms are messing with your life. This shit is real.
                Last edited by DocDave; September 12, 2017, 12:58 AM.

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                  #9
                  Smart home?

                  [MENTION=13399]DocDave[/MENTION]

                  Thanks for the information and book recommendation. I'll always take the opportunity to educate myself, especially when I am not initially convinced by a premise.

                  I still claim that I run a larger risk by simply buying a home, car and food (and clothes; this is Dappered after all), but am willing to be wrong about that.

                  The real question is, what does the data point of me adding this book to my Amazon cart do to my algorithm?

                  (Agent Smith shutters as a proverbial red pill is guaranteed on my door step within two business days.)


                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                  Last edited by CMAc7; September 12, 2017, 07:58 AM.

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                    #10
                    [MENTION=11780]CMAc7[/MENTION]

                    No worries re: the book recommendation. I found the book to be a great read. Then again, she (the author) kind of was already preaching to the choir.

                    I think the individual data points by themselves are not an issue. So Amazon knows you bought a book about algorithms. Big deal. It is when those points are all aggregated from multiple locations/sources to form a picture of you that I don't like.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by CMAc7 View Post
                      Perhaps my point wasn't as fine as I had suspected. What I meant to proport was, why would someone expend time and effort hacking my lightbulb when there is no financial incentive to do so? Wouldn't accessing the financial data of millions through Target be a more worthy endeavor? Aren't I more at risk by simply buying groceries?
                      If stealing financials is the goal, then of course. If developing a complete pattern of life about you to know when, say the spouse or kids are home alone, etc. is the goal, then EVERYTHING you do that's connected/IOT-participating can be used against you.

                      I just don't think my house routine worthy of a hack.
                      On a governmental scale, probably not.

                      When cars went with keyless access, car thieves discovered that creating an RFID signal booster for about 50 bucks worth of parts was an easy way to get into and steal cars. Suddenly a great anti-theft tactic turned every car with it into an even bigger (and easier) target. Far less time spent than traditional hot-wiring, and newer cars with more features to make them worth more in Mexico/South America where most of them end up.

                      These weren't nation-state actors engaging in this. These were petty thieves who realized tech advances made their gig even easier.

                      That you're stuck on the idea of "well a hacker doesn't care about my lights" illustrates you're not thinking like a bad guy. That's certainly not an insult in any way/shape/form. But it's also the mentality of the vast majority of americans who simply look for convenience, and don't realize just how insecure they really are.

                      It's only paranoia if they AREN'T out to get you.
                      https://www.professorhorseyhead.com

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                        #12
                        Have a look at IFTTT https://ifttt.com/

                        It's not perfect but can aggregate a lot of you devices and create automation around your normal daily behaviors


                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                          #13
                          Thanks to the both of you for furthering the discussion. It is very interesting to me and at the very least, I will be a more informed consumer.

                          Allow me to further play the devil's advocate for a moment though. I will certainly grant that [MENTION=15101]armedferret[/MENTION]'s scenario of hacking locks is easily equated to financial data theft as a comparable risk, and taking measures to mitigate that risk is probably good in the same way that one should probably pay for credit monitoring. In [MENTION=13399]DocDave[/MENTION]'s example of aggregate data manipulation, while I grant that this hack would be impactful to my health insurance rates, the likelihood is so remote I feel I could make a calculated decision to continue as is with little downside. We do this all the time with more malignant hazards. E.g, Opting to operate a motor vehicle or eat sushi given the potential outcomes.

                          I want to at least pose an additional question for consideration: Is individual data aggregation all bad? I define good or moral much like Sam Harris does: as the choice that causes the least amount of human suffering. Would the human benefit of data compilation for health/life insurance rates not outweigh, or at least be equal to the bad? My employer does a form of this with annual health screenings to calculate my premiums. My auto insurance company allows me to volunteer my driving data to calculate that premium. I think a more tailored premium based on data makes the system a little more fair. As with a suit; more data points, better fit.

                          I think that pooled data aggregation is even more benign. For instance, Amazon being able to make recommendations for other products based on my cart contents isn't all that invasive to me. The convenience of online shopping is worth the cost of my purchasing data to me, but I realize this might not be the case for everyone.

                          Lastly, people who ponder the future of these things typically agree that more data gathering and algorithms are likely the future. I think it is the intent of the gatherers that will ultimately define the future, not the data itself. I think that we are much closer to Huxley's "A Brave New World" than we are to Orwell's "1984". Some may not think this is a good thing, but if these are my choices, is it a choice at all?

                          Not sure if this is the direction the OP intended this thread to take, but perhaps they share my sentiment that it has evolved quite nicely.

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                            #14
                            Awesome (and civilized ) discussion.

                            My concern stems from the fact that I might be taken in a direction I didn't want to go on. Let's use your Amazon example. They are aggregating information to give me book recommendations based on what I, and others, are buying. But at what cost to my ability to find other stuff on my own? So they start showing me authors X, Y, and Z. But THEY are determining that for me and it is at the cost of other authors who might be just as good, if not better. Those authors though don't fall in to the algorithm.

                            Plus what if book publisher G gives a big order to Amazon? Are my recommended books now X, Y, Z and G?

                            Here's another real world example. Instagram is deciding what posts/pictures I will see based on my likes. But I don't want them deciding but I have no control over it. So I'm being shown pictures that they THINK I will like, whether I want to see them or not. It all just feels way too big brother for me. Another good book by the way. 1984. Highly recommend it.

                            I do believe though that algorithm as are bad thing. They are inherently programmed with the biases of those people who created them. They are made in these closed environments and when you say/ask to see how it was determined that you pay more for car insurance than your buddy, you're told that they can't share it with you. Either because a) it is the secret sauce or b) you wouldn't understand it because it is hard math or c) it's none of your business.

                            I don't believe that any of the examples I cited above are trying to do harm. But I do believe they are having that unintended consequence. And yeah, I know. I might as well yell at the sky because they aren't going away anytime soon.

                            I'll hop off the soapbox now. Thanks for listening.

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                              #15
                              I like the idea of the smart light bulbs to help when the sun goes down early. We live on the east side of a wooded hill so by 3pm during the summer, we aren't getting much sun, let alone when days get shorter. My wife and I like the ambient light in other rooms, which is a waste of electricity, but my dog is in there so maybe he wants to see a little better.

                              As for other smart items, I am not worried about people making patterns of my life to rob be. If someone robs our house, they chose the wrong house to rob as my neighbors and many others where I live have a lot more money. Also two barking pit bulls tend to make people back up.

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