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Smart Home Notes

by Julian H. Stacey

This is: http://www.berklix.com/~jhs/smart-home/

Introduction:
  • Devices can include eg Cameras in & out of house Daylight & infra red for night, PIR Movement detectors, Smoke heat & humidity detectors, Broken window & Open door detectors; Thermostats, roller blinds ( Roll-laeden/ Jalousie), etc.
  • What's Not Covered:
    • Gimmick Speech Assistants like Alexa & co. - I'm averse to, don't need to be spied on, don't trust the lack of security, don't want mis-understanding, especially in a multi lingual environment, averse to robots that speak German. .
    • TV's connected to house net - I don't trust the lack of security.
    • Smart phones with random apps with cameras & microphones spieing on you.
    • I've no interest in fridges with bar code scanners & cameras to recognise & quantify & re-order size of a lump of cheese & half cucumber, there are limits ;-)
  • House alarms can also be implemented, not just with PIR movement detectors, but also with cameras added for pictures of thieves to send to police, & also night vision cameras; if by WLAN, then you no longer need to old fashioned chisel away cable runs into the plaster & drilling through walls back to the burglar alarm, re-plastering & painting.
  • Personal mobility alert system can be built in, eg Elderly/ infirm, fall detectors, via accelerometers in android smart watches etc.
  • Many IOT (Internet Of Things) devices are not encrypted. (esp. cheap Chinese stuff) so eg a thief outside house can get on your WLAN & see what cameras show inside.
  • There are multiple communication protocols, : competing, non standard, proprietary, non co-operating.
    Don't get trapped ! Plenty of starter kits in shops will trap you to buy more later from same manufacturer.
  • You don't just want a product that talks to a smart phone running a proprietary app that only talks to their devices
  • Learn about protocols before you buy, & ensure products support your chosen protocol.

Routers

When you select your telecom supplier, ask if you can get a rebate instead of a bundled router, if you supply your own router. Various things are easier to configure, and with more flexibility for eg remote control for alarm call out & monitoring if you choose one with extended functionality. eg in Germany: Deutsche Telekom offers cheap connection first year to tempt new customers, the rebate subsidises buying a router. The contract ties you for 2 years. Telekom offer a small range of their own routers, or buy your own in a shop or on the web:
  • much wider choice of more functionality, usually at some more cost
  • buy from a physical local shop or on the web, new or 2nd hand
  • Some 2nd hand routers are very cheap, because they were bundled with Telekom contracts, & seller then bought another one for more functionality.

Old Cameras & Smart Phones

Old cameras with USB interfaces can work as net cameras. eg even a really cheap camera bought maybe 10 years back in Tesco, credit card size, except for lens, for all of ten pounds, no screen, just 1 button, but it works as a USB camera / net cam.

Old Android phones can work as cameras via wlan, though specific cams can be screwed to walls easier. (I haven't thought through security encryption issues yet.)


Wikipedia on Protocols etc

VPNs Virtual Private Networks

FreeBSD - Operating System support


Fritz AVM

Deutsche Telekom

Conrad.co.uk

Conrad.de

Ebay.de

aliexpress.com

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