i’ve been making my home a bit smarter.
Mind you, this is not what you’d expect me to say. i’m paranoid. The idea of opening up my house to a remote exploit because some company forgot to use encryption is very much unlike me. Hell, i put my cable box and guest devices on their own, isolated subnet. What the hell am i thinking?
i’m thinking that i don’t need to go out to the internet.
The guiding principle i have is to not require external connectivity where and when possible. While things can talk to the outside world, i discourage it. Enter Z-Wave.
Z-Wave is an interesting semi-proprietary protocol that allows devices to talk to each other. What makes it useful to me is that those devices can talk to a managing hub. What makes it REALLY interesting to me is that i can run an open source package on a Raspberry Pi that lets me control the devices. Data never leaves my local net.
What makes it super-duper interesting is that many of these devices are advertised as “works with Amazon Alexa”. i don’t have an Alexa in my house, but it’s becoming the clear winner in the “voice controller” market. This means that there will be a lot of controllers out there that will be talking Z-Wave, including light switches, outlets, thermostats, door sensors, and more that can integrate into my device network.
Again, and delightfully, none of that info needs to leave my LAN.
The very nice thing is that there are a few different open hubs i can use. Currently, i’m using Home Assistant. It’s nice, but absolutely not end user friendly. It’s a typical dev app and requires lots of weirdly formatted files, obscure naming conventions, reboots, and other fiddly bits. Mozilla is also working on a less fiddly version called IoT, which promises to be more noob friendly, but it’s still very much in pre-beta.
Still, i’ll admit that having control of my house (and remote control thanks to the glory of SSH tunnelling) is rather nice.