Just received a lecture from my partner about smart home items

Hi all,

Just received a solid 15-20 minute lecture from my partner about how my smart home obsession is making things more complicated for her. Just curious if others have similar experiences to share.

All I try to do is automate as much as I can and make things easier. I have been installing stuff for a few years now. Replacing all light switches, lots of smart lamps, smart locks, motion sensors, smart garage opener, etc, etc.

Just brought some NFC tags, and when I showed her, that was the tipping point lol

Cheers,
Zolt

My basic principle for home automation is it should not be noticeable and it should work without anyone needing to be trained.

My partner is delighted when presence detection makes her life easier (turn on/off the lights, etc.). She is annoyed if she has to remember a verbal command to have Alexia/Google do something. She likes the HA user interface on her phone that allows her to see and control various things (minimal training on how to use the app).

P.S. my partner approved this message :slightly_smiling_face:

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What were her complaints?

The only things get from my SO is an eye roll and “why do we need to automate that?”

Because I can… :wink:

But she doesn’t do that much anymore and she’s asked me to automate more stuff over time and likes most of it now.

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Completely agree Mark about it not being noticeable. Each time she raises a concern, I fix it. Even redesigning the phone interface multiple times. See screenshot.

Her main complaints at the moment was the smart garage door not working how she wants. The smart door lock not always opening when she enters the “home” zone. Speaking random things to Google Home and complaining it doesn’t work.

Those are a legit complaints. You know it’s working right when you don’t get complaints :wink:

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Dude, she has a point though lol… Lack of reliability is what kills home automation. Because where’s the point in automating things when you can’t rely on it and have to manually intervene ? A dumb light switch is, outside of physically breaking, 100% reliable after all.

Personally it rarely comes to GF intervention over here :wink: My own annoyance threshold is low enough to mostly preempt those. If an automation ends up annoying me, I try to fix it once and add some corner case handling etc. If it annoys me again, bye bye. A lot of automations went that way over time. Bathroom fan/lights, too annoying. General indoor motion lights, not worth it. Per person presence, too unreliable (we do use car presence though). And voice assitants are just plain creepy, so they’re a big nope for us.

With time, our automated home (farm actually) followed a bell curve. Lots of automation enthusiasm and experiments during the initial tinkering phase (a lot during covid), then the crash back down to reality where only the things that were truely useful survived. And honestly, not many survived.

We now reached a stable phase. Most automations that have proven really useful are around security (alarm based on our cars presence, automatic outdoor lights, etc) and heating. Also notifications for things we tend to forget, like checking window and door state when we leave or when it starts raining. Or if a far out electric fence is overgrown again. All very unintrusive stuff though. Everything else is mostly about home monitoring (power, water, weather, wells, electric fences, security) and around having a big glorified remote control for our home for when we’re out.

Well, sorry to say it like that, but: if you add something that does add complication for her, or just makes things less reliable than before, then she has a point, if you like it or not.
I know from myself, that my excitement around getting something to work easily makes up for an occasional glitch here and there. But my partner doesn’t have that excitement factor to make up for things that are now worse for her than before.
If pushing 3 buttons for something works 100% of the time for years, and then the version that only requires a single button fails unpredictably every 5th to 20th time, I’d probably go with the 3 buttons myself to be honest :smiley:

Also, one thing I learned: sometimes negative feelings around home automation don’t have to be related to the concrete topic (or a sub-optimal setup for it), but have another background which you cannot cover by throwing more automation at it, but can try to address them in conversations. Maybe your partner works in front of a screen all day as part of her job, and just the idea of having to use a phone for private stuff is annoying. Or something you implement to save energy by monitoring power usage evokes memories of having been raised in a country that spied on its citizens, andandand

And overall: often talking something new through BEFORE you implment it (and later fix it), might result in a solution that is slightly different than what you had in mind, but has her buy-in from the start :slight_smile:

Create some automations that really help her.
My SO always create 6-7 sometimes 10 wake up alarms every evening for the next morning.
So what I did was to use the next alarm sensor and see what the first alarm is she entered then add a new alarm with a random number of minutes (that is important for her) later six times.
So she creates one alarm, HA does the next six alarms.

The look on her face when she noticed what happened was quite priceless.

But yes automations that don’t work is annoying. If you can then it’s better to remove them and try and bugfix them in the background until they work properly.

Voice commands, they are very rarely used here because they are so hard to get right. It’s much easier to add a ZigBee remote that does the job.

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All good feedback, thanks all.

It is difficult to find that middle ground.

The conversation then turned to me replacing light switches with smart light switches and being told they aren’t as reliable. I tried to explain that the smart light switches are hard wired so work 100% as they did before, and they just add additional functionality like being able to control them remotely.

I was then asked why had I added a smart lock to one of the doors, and that unlocking with a code was annoying, But I tried to say well unlocking it with a key is the same, as it required manually doing something. But was told we didn’t use the key before, and I tried to explain that was a security issue…

TBH it sounds like she might just never be happy with “automation” in general. There are just some people who don’t like technology and since she seems to just be finding things to complain about she’s likely in that camp.

Like I said my wife is kind of that way too but much less than when I started using HA 5 years ago. She still “complains” a bit every once in a while but she’s generally OK with it now.

But she refuses to use a voice assistant even tho we have one in almost every room. And TBH, i very rarely use it myself. They are used mostly for making announcements on things we would need/like to know about.

If anyone came to my house they probably wouldn’t even realize that I had a (mostly) smart home unless they noticed a few things turning on & off automatically. All the switches look and work the same as before (the “smarts” are inside the box not the switch itself), any smart bulbs I use are ones that are on an easily automated schedule so we never need to touch them. And I hate to use my phone or pad to operate things I use regularly so everything has to work without using a mobile device or yelling across the room. :laughing:

The one thing my wife is adamant about is NO smart locks. She just doesn’t trust them for some reason. Again, it’s just technology in general that she doesn’t like even tho we are surrounded by it and she literally uses it every single day.

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I think you’ve summed it up well @finity. Not a great lover of technology. I think I’ll need to wind it back and only do the automations of things that make it easier for her, and keep the complex stuff for myself.

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