Over the past several years I've only gone as far as dipping my toes into the "smart home" / "home automation" world. It all started with SmartThings in 2014 when my company (InfernoRed Technology) built their original Windows Phone app (back when they were still a startup). I picked up several SmartThings "things" including the original hub (which I'm still actually using), multi sensors, etc. and started tinkering around with things. But I never got past a few light/dimmer switches and plugs because I kept letting the fear of getting locked into a single platform get in my way, along with over researching everything - "should I avoid Wifi things and stick to Z-wave things?", "Does Z-wave have a future?", etc. For a while, I really felt Z-wave was the way I wanted to go - but I kept having connectivity issues in my house with the z-wave things. I also went down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out if and how I should segment my "things" from my main network. On top of all that, I was never really successful in getting my wife to adopt the SmartThings app (on iOS) - it's a great app, but not extremely user friendly for the non-tech enthusiast who just wants to turn things on or off from their phone.
Over the past few years I've all but ignored HomeKit... originally because the lack of a single app, and also because of the limited marketplace of "things"... But I started looking into it over the past couple months and really liked what I was seeing - the "Home" app seemed very clean and simple to use, the security seemed solid, and it looked like "things" vendors were starting to really adopt and build for it... So right around Christmas time I went out and bought 3 iHome plugs that were on sale at the time for $20 at BestBuy and hooked the Christmas trees up to them (we had 3 trees setup throughout the house ).
First of all, the setup was so simple - was able to do it all within the Home app and didn't even download the iHome app. I setup a Scene that toggled the 3 Christmas trees on and off and that was it. It literally worked 100% of the time and the Home app was super easy to use - in fact my wife figured it out without me showing her (she's the first to admit she's not tech savvy at all) and she used it every day with no complaints, so spousal approval is high so far. Now that the Christmas trees are back in storage I've repurposed those plugs for some lamps around the house... and so far we are still really enjoying the Home app and as far as connectivity, it just works 100% of the time, it's great.
So - I think I'm sold on HomeKit now, but I still don't want to lock myself into a single platform... And to avoid that I've looked for "things" are HomeKit, GA, and Alexa enabled so at least if I decide to abandon HomeKit at some point my "things" are still usable with other platforms. For example, those iHome plugs I mentioned work with all three platforms as well as SmartThings so it was a low risk way to give HomeKit a shot.
Next steps for me - dimmer switches for the LED ceiling lights throughout the house and for the outside lights. Also planning on getting into the HomeKit automation stuff a little deeper - I don't expect it to be as sophisticated as SmartThings, but honestly, my requirements aren't that complex. I currently don't own an Apple TV, but planning on getting one to enable remote access to the HomeKit "things".
Will try and report back to this forum to share my experiences as my HomeKit adoption evolves.
I like this author but he seems to blame MicroSD technology for user error. I used to love a phone that supported upgradeable storage but finally bit the bullet and went with a 128Gb Pixel XL and couldn't be happier. No errors with the card, no worries with drops, and faster storage.
Secondly, this all could have been avoided by locking the phone! No, you might not get it back, but your worries are gone, and scumbag thief has a bricked device. A good home warranty will replace that handset.
The last two points I get. No arguments there. Seriously folks. Upgrade from your old Galaxy S3, Ahem Avram Piltch, get a decent phone and a good home warranty coverage for your portables.
Read the rest of this article and pay attention to the Transition section. These points and many more make it VERY hard for me to consider an iOS device as my daily handset.
Apple showed off the HomePod yesterday and I know it's early to compare these things but there are a few key points that we can look at in comparison to the other vendors. I would like to do this without bashing X vs. Y as I think Apple entering this market is key. Bring your facts.
They are obviously playing to their strengths first. Music. They announced that they have 27 million Apple Music subscribers. That is a very large number and they are also entering the market in typical Apple style. Make a good product (as in sound) and compete where they feel they are stronger. Looking at you Sonos. The Apple Home Pod will debut at the end of the year for $350.
It will also have Siri and touch controls on the top of it. I know, siri is a huge "hit and miss" product. I don't feel it performs as well as Google or Echo but it is improving. It also does home kit integration like turning on lights, etc. Basic stuff.
Where I think it will shine is when you couple it with another unit in the same room. They are supposed to recognize each other and balance the sound in the room. Equally impressive is multiple rooms. You can now sync audio on multiple units, in multiple rooms. Amazon Echo is now officially behind as Google Home will do this as well.
The size caught me off guard. It looks monstrous in photos but it's actually only 6.8" tall and 5.6" wide.
Earlier I said lets play fair but here is where I give you my opinions on the market and it's not favorable for all.
Apple - Mostly discussed already but they will enter the market and the sheeples will drop their Echos in mass and go to Apple. They will complain that it doesn't have "feature x" or feature y" but then go get a second one for another room and be happy in doing so. Prepare for a gluttony of used Echo tubes on the market come December.
Sonos - There will be huge debates on sound. Right? If you have invested all that money in Sonos you are probably going to defend that stance! These debates will rage. Sonos can win this one but I'm curious if they take new paths or just try to be the best speaker system and continue to partner with all the voice operated devices. That's a strong position. Output great sound and talk to siri, echo, AND google.
Google Home - Is Google going to stay in this game? Can they overcome the "we are creepy with your data" stigma? I'm pretty sure if I didn't already have a boat load of Echo's I would be a Google Home customer especially with calling and multiroom audio. Everybody will have these features by end of year though. They better!
Amazon - First in Wins? Echo Show better sound real good Amazon! In one of my recent #RESET podcasts I predicted that the sound would be amazing or at least 10x better than "Echo in a tube." It has to be since they designed the base the way they did. The screen is a differentiator. I think it is going to be a big deal. I have one on order and we will find out on Jun 28th.
Microsoft - Hey Cortana. Best name in the business in my opinion but I'm a huge Halo fan. I do fear that missing mobile has once again reared its ugly head in Redmond. I don't know if this tube can catch up or better yet, even be relevant in this market. It's so freaking behind and their Harman Kardon partner literally copied the Echo Tube design. Microsoft got to the puck, but as they did it's been smashed far beyond their reach but Microsoft fans will continue to tell you they are "skating to the puck!"
I do think Microsoft has a few feathers in its cap though. Skype and Surface. If they can get the Home Hub, Cortana, and Skype, into a design that mimics the Echo Show, and sounds like a Sonos they can compete. It has to be a device. You can't expect anyone but us geeks to design kitchen PC's. That is not mass market. Panos, you need a day one home run in this category. Surface Home anybody?
I was on a trip last week riding in a Hertz rental bus on the way to an airport. The bus was full. I was standing there riding and noticing the phones the 6 people around me were using. All of them had iPhone's. It made me think of how bland that really is. Everyone either has iPhones or Galaxy. I am blown away by Apple selling 9 million handsets in a weekend. People actually standing in line to get a phone that doesn't have anything new to offer. It makes me wonder if WP can ever break through this consumer wall that Apple and Samsung have built. On a side note, I love busting out my Win Phone HTC 8X in situations like this. I love to have something that looks completely different. Unfortunately no one noticed my Win Phone. Maybe they were all getting too motion sick from IOS 7 to notice.
Has anyone attempted to import ITUNES video and Music on a MAC into PLEX running Windows 10?