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Smart Home Notes

by Julian H. Stacey

This is:

  • 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 androidsmart 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.
  • conradconnect . com / en Conrad Connect


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

Markets & Vendors

Fritz AVM

Deutsche Telekom

Smart Water Meters

Smart Meters, Electricity Consumption, UK

  • First generation are rubbish, don't work smart anymore if you switch to a new supplier. Pushed by Government & industry to a short nigh impossible deadline. Just refuse them. They've been interviewed on BBC Radio [4?], approx Oct/Nov 2018: the pusher was heavily evasive.

Power Strips Controlled By Ethernet

Apps For Smart Phones

FreeBSD etc Support - to be searched later

Thoughts Of The Future

Aside from all the energy supply side generation options, the other half is demand regulation. We'll want smart meters linked to micro controllers to control individual devices, & not just to On & Off. & very variable very small time slice dynamic tariffs:

Eg when no wind & tidal & solar available, & the football half time on TV is on & all turn on their kettle in UK for tea coffee (but not in countries where they fetch more beer) is worst time to keep topping up electric car batteries, which should be feeding & selling back to the grid at premium rates. Domestic hot water Immersion heater tanks could heat to a lower temperature for half an hour, not just hotter all night as now..

Kettles could boil slower at peak demand, (but difficult as cheap devices, & control would cost significant extra manufacturing cost & space on kettle).

In hot periods, if there's a few minutes of high demand, the air cons & Bitcoin miners could stop or slow, & domestic PC CPUs could run slow, but not lifts or equipment in hospital, or plane runway light, or dam control gates or most of all, nuke power stations that have powered off, but still consume power for cooling.

On nights when no wind & tidal, houses & swimming pools could warm a bit less, all automatically. Only the super rich/ desperate who push the device over ride button could consume at old normal settings & they will pay at the higher tarif, whether society deems that 20% more, or 500% more ;-)

It will be interesting to design. we will need to design international device id classification type non forgeable electronic certification, non patented, public standard for free interoperability between manufacturers.

Engineers will need some support & decisions from politicians.

Criminals will want to forge device classifications. One example: What classification will power meters declare for illegal marijuana growers (in underground concrete bunker & in the loft) . Best their UV lights go out occasionally too at peak demand, wont delay plant growth much. Some already get caught by power monitoring. What will their devices declare when there are Only smart meters, & no dumb meters allowed ?

Smoke Detectors

David of Faraday 2022-04-01 mentioned what I heard as: Bosch Ferien 5000 0W or OW 868.3 MHz, allows up to ~40 units for a large building. Searching: Gigagset: Cloud Vaporises 2024-03-29

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