Home Automation - A Bit of History

Many years ago (~25), I was then a student at a school in the North-East (02139), the Mechanical Engineering Dept started looking into Mechatronics, and the Civil Engineering Dept started a ‘Smart Home’ Project/Curriculum. The idea back then was as simple as LCD window panes that would go clear/opaque based on time of day and outside brightness (Today we have smart/motorized window blinds). Many of the ideas we take for granted today have not even been invented yet. Fast forward to ~15 years later, then we see the Arduino/RaspberryPi and the like, then Cloud Computing and AWS, and shortly after, everything IOT.

I do not see HA as a single discipline that has necessarily evolved over the years. I see it more as the ‘culmination’ of many technologies that have ‘somehow’ come together (Web, programmable electronics, cheap cameras and sensors, …).

Besides the above ‘short/compact/incomplete’ story, care to share what, in your view/experience/opinion, has contributed to where HA is today?

As to the future, I’d like to see the following:

  1. SmartER devices that report their energy usage/consumption (including smart electric panels)
  2. More standard protocols (already started with the Amazon/Google/Zigbee/Apple) working group
  3. ‘Lego’ approach where modularity and ease of interfacing are key
  4. Low cost (naturally)
  5. Consolidation across the multiple players (how many companies sell smart plugs?)
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“Economies of scale” paired with increasingly smaller transistors.

Translation: It cost a lot less to put IoT in to products for end-users now that the underlying electronics are also getting smaller and cheaper.

I rolled my eyes at this, but thinking about it, you’re right. Everyone rolling out Home Assistant or their own home automation solution really needs to become the master of many disciplines.

I guess that’s why this is still out of reach for many people.

Probably the vast majority of the planet is capable of purchasing a toaster, plugging it into mains, and making toast; without much thought, but IoT still is limited by problems in integration.

Pretty much what you covered here :stuck_out_tongue:

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You’re right about the ‘master of many disciplines’ … since I started this hobby, I have

  1. changed multiple smart switches at home - learned so much about electric wiring and how switches/dimmers work
  2. Replaced my garage door opener with a ‘smart/wifi’ newer one (old was nearing its useful life anyway)
  3. Got a Sense for energy monitoring, and learned a lot about specifics of house electric power in the US (2-phase) … I learned only about 3-phase in school
  4. I’m into security systems now … very confusing still
  5. While many of us take this for granted, a fridge or dish-washer does not always pull the same fixed amount of watts. It depends on which specific component in there are active (defrost/lamp/compressor/…)
  6. The many flavors of yaml/json/… and things vs. scenes vs. bindings vs. …
  7. Replaced my sprinkler with a ‘smart’ one … and learned a lot about garden water distribution

It is for sure a hobby with a lot of learning potential.

All the smart people who devote a buttload of their time to HA, makes HA what it is. I cant count how many add-ons/integrations I’ve looked at that @frenck has made. Like where does he find the time to do all those add-ons, plus all the behind the scenes things we dont ever really see?

Not many comments … do we not have any opinions about this topic at all?