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Anyone here have a smart home setup?


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Which one do you prefer? Do you use one app or will my phone be filled with apps? Pros and cons? I need convincing. 
 

All of dh’s friends and coworkers set up their smart homes and talk it up like it’s the greatest thing ever. They tell him they can sit on their couch and turn off the sprinklers, lower the a/c, and turn on their Roomba. The surly Luddite I am is like ...what’s so hard about doing all of that stuff manually? 

We got a free Google mini from Spotify that I put in the kids bath so they can rock out in the shower. Middle figured out he can use the app to change the song to Seagulls Stop it Now when his sister is in the shower. 😏 I can only imagine what he might do if we start connecting other appliances. 

I bring this up because we have picked out some ceiling fans and there’s an option to connect them to you smart home. Usually he makes the kids get up and manually turn them on. They have such a hard life. 🙄

I have a feeling this is the beginning of a series of choices we’ll be making as we replace out appliances. I already rejected a fridge that connects to WiFi. I could see it would be nice to have an oven that connects so it could text you when the timer goes off. Or you can preheat ahead. 

Normally I’m resisting tech over privacy and security issues. Dh is not convinced. 

Edited by Plum
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DH and I work in the tech industry, very much use it for earning a living. But we resist adding even things like Alexa because of privacy and security concerns. 

It's not like we are luddites. Our Fans have remotes, no need for an app. We have a roomba, sprinklers on timers which we leave even when we go on holiday and it takes care of it. We've always had a radios that are water proof. The thing though is each is a standalone and nothing is connected to anything. I do not want a fridge with a wifi connection. I have an iPad or a laptop portable enough for that. We don't use social media but apps like WhatsApp to connect which is owned by facebook, but seems to have a degree of control which FB does not have. 

I think we each have to make our own decisions on what is safe and what is not and what we are comfortable with. 

The only thing I will break the rule for is the star trek replicator for my kitchen. It can connect to outer space and broadcast my information to aliens for all I care, all bets are off then. 😂

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We have a variety of things attached to our Alexa system. Most of the individual items require their own app to set up but then just use Alexa for basic usage, thereafter. I think you could delte all those aps but they usually have additional controls beyond what Alexa can do. (Alexa can make the smart lights like 12 colors, the app can do a zillion, my thermostat can control the house fan through the app but can't through alexa, etc). We have smart plugs on a few things, lots of smart light bulbs, a smart thermostat... and we love them. So convenient.

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26 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

DH and I work in the tech industry, very much use it for earning a living. But we resist adding even things like Alexa because of privacy and security concerns. 

It's not like we are luddites. Our Fans have remotes, no need for an app. We have a roomba, sprinklers on timers which we leave even when we go on holiday and it takes care of it. We've always had a radios that are water proof. The thing though is each is a standalone and nothing is connected to anything. I do not want a fridge with a wifi connection. I have an iPad or a laptop portable enough for that. We don't use social media but apps like WhatsApp to connect which is owned by facebook, but seems to have a degree of control which FB does not have. 

I think we each have to make our own decisions on what is safe and what is not and what we are comfortable with. 

The only thing I will break the rule for is the star trek replicator for my kitchen. It can connect to outer space and broadcast my information to aliens for all I care, all bets are off then. 😂

A gal after my own heart. 🥂

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I resist, mostly.  Our roomba can be turned on with the Alexa, and I think I’ve heard Dh do it once?  That’s it. I don’t want most appliances to be WiFi.

Our sprinklers are on timers. Most things I get up and do.  During the day, at least.

A few features I do like: as I’ve hit an age with, errrr, rapidly fluctuating temperature preferences at night, I’ve found it convenient to control the thermostat with my phone in the middle of the night.  Ditto turning on the fan.  Those are the only times those functions get used.  3 am.  🤣

When DH travels, I like being able to make sure the garage door is closed without getting up, make sure lights are out, and set the house alarm.  Again, that’s something I do from bed, usually in the middle of the night because I’ve forgotten until that moment.  So maybe not 3 am, but definitely midnight.  

Ooooh!  One more!  Our hot water heater alerted me once at 1 am that there was a leak.  I was able to mop up, and get things stable before calling a plumber in the am.  Actually, it alerted DH - who was on a layover in Ireland, and called from the airport.  So again - apparently I only like this stuff for middle of the night uses!  

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We have our thermostats (three) that we can control via computer or phone. But they are also programmable, so we rarely (probably never except for the first little bit) use that feature. 

And when the power goes out, or the internet goes out, the volume of emails generated is amazing.

It is nice that they generate monthly reports of how much heating/cooling, but I track electricity usage closely, so I'm not sure that is really useful for us. 

I'm against everything else. Just get up and get moving over to that thermostat to change the temperature! 

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4 minutes ago, Spryte said:

I resist, mostly.  Our roomba can be turned on with the Alexa, and I think I’ve heard Dh do it once?  That’s it. I don’t want most appliances to be WiFi.

Our sprinklers are on timers. Most things I get up and do.  During the day, at least.

A few features I do like: as I’ve hit an age with, errrr, rapidly fluctuating temperature preferences at night, I’ve found it convenient to control the thermostat with my phone in the middle of the night.  Ditto turning on the fan.  Those are the only times those functions get used.  3 am.  🤣

When DH travels, I like being able to make sure the garage door is closed without getting up, make sure lights are out, and set the house alarm.  Again, that’s something I do from bed, usually in the middle of the night because I’ve forgotten until that moment.  So maybe not 3 am, but definitely midnight.  

Ooooh!  One more!  Our hot water heater alerted me once at 1 am that there was a leak.  I was able to mop up, and get things stable before calling a plumber in the am.  Actually, it alerted DH - who was on a layover in Ireland, and called from the airport.  So again - apparently I only like this stuff for middle of the night uses!  

Wow I didn't know water heaters could do that! 

I do think it would be nice to have the fridge in the garage be wireless in case it stops working. 

I think your situations are what dh is imagining. I think he thinks it would be a little more relaxing for me to be able to do a lot from my phone when I randomly think of it. ❤️ Plus he thinks it's cool. He loves Star Trek and wants to be able to say Computer turn on the ceiling fans. lol

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2 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

DH and I work in the tech industry, very much use it for earning a living. But we resist adding even things like Alexa because of privacy and security concerns. 

It's not like we are luddites. Our Fans have remotes, no need for an app. We have a roomba, sprinklers on timers which we leave even when we go on holiday and it takes care of it. We've always had a radios that are water proof. The thing though is each is a standalone and nothing is connected to anything. I do not want a fridge with a wifi connection. I have an iPad or a laptop portable enough for that. We don't use social media but apps like WhatsApp to connect which is owned by facebook, but seems to have a degree of control which FB does not have. 

I think we each have to make our own decisions on what is safe and what is not and what we are comfortable with. 

The only thing I will break the rule for is the star trek replicator for my kitchen. It can connect to outer space and broadcast my information to aliens for all I care, all bets are off then. 😂

Same.  We don't need any more tech devices eaves dropping on us thanks and both DH and I are tech industry folks.  

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So far we have resisted. If we ever (likely never) moved into a home that was connected, though, I think a lot of it would be hard to resist.

The things I would do to acquire a replicator cannot be mentioned in polite company. 😂

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I love tech but have resisted the smart home stuff.  I refuse to get a major appliance with  WiFi and stuff.  With the shoddy way appliances are made adding wifi will just be one more thing to break. 

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1 hour ago, rebcoola said:

I love tech but have resisted the smart home stuff.  I refuse to get a major appliance with  WiFi and stuff.  With the shoddy way appliances are made adding wifi will just be one more thing to break. 

Exactly! I saw a news report where someone was having trouble with their stove that has a digital panel right next to the burners. Can’t replace a circuit board easily. 

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Haha. I feel sorry for anyone who'd have to listen to me at home... randomly commenting about hgtv shows, complaining about other residents who use our building's communal laundry room,  kvetching at my husband to get stuff done, singing to the cats. Yeah, that's some really exciting stuff there!

I don't own any of those Alexa-like devices but if I did, I'd have to talk about where I hid all the gold just to see if someone listening in took an interest.

We had two smart systems years ago. No one could listen in because it was all programmed online. We were able to turn on/off lights and could tell if doors or windows were opened. All of that was handy while traveling. We could also have monitored any water leaks but that's one of those things I nagged my husband to do to no avail. 😄

Edited by BeachGal
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I refuse to do a smart home set up.  I will not contribute to the rise of the robot apocalypse.  I will not even use Siri or Alexa.  

ETA:  But yeah, I'd totally cave if a replicator were available.  

Edited by Terabith
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4 hours ago, Plum said:

. He loves Star Trek and wants to be able to say Computer turn on the ceiling fans. lol

My DH is the same.  Our Alexa was programmed to respond to “Computer......” for about a week.  Unfortunately, one of our Alexas is in the living room with the TV and the word “computer” is said waaaaay too often during TV shows.  She was alerting constantly.

Now that I am here with my Dd, away from home, I can’t tell you how many times I have said to her house:

”Alexa, what time is it?”

”Alexa is it going to rain today?”

”Alexa, set a timer for......”

”Alexa play.....”

”Alexa add (whatever) to my list.”


The one I use constantly at home is “Alexa, Find my phone”

or the one I miss the most

”Alexa, Good Night.”  Where the locks are checked, the lights go out, the fan starts and ocean sounds start quietly playing.

Every room in our house has an Alexa of some kind except the bathrooms.  Our daughter out in the tiny house has one too.  We use them as alarm clocks, intercoms, calculators and fact-checkers.  She plays our music, our news briefings and our audio books.  

If someone is listening and needs to know that I have a Peter, Paul & Mary playlist that I play when I miss my mom, or that my Audible is the biggest eclectic mess, then I am not too worried. 

Amber in SJ

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We don’t like the privacy concerns and DH is in the tech and network security business, but we have an Alexa in our home. The features are really great for disabled DS. The voice commands for the lights and music are worth it so he can control these without help. DS gets the most use out of it. I use it mainly to announce dinner or check the weather. We haven’t hooked up our ovens or thermostats to it. 

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Thinking about this more... some of our smart devices are not linked to Alexa, so no listening in issues with those.

In general, we aren’t that interesting here, and I’m not worried about a random conversation being overheard, but I do so much other stuff that bucks the system re: privacy so I’m ok with this one thing.

But here’s an interesting tidbit, from a different perspective:  when my mother’s apartment was broken into last fall, she was assaulted, and dementia kicked in big time as a result.  The detective asked if there was an Alexa.  My mom did not have one, but the detective would have tried to gain access to see if she could hear anything which might identify the perp, with my mom’s permission.  It felt like something from a news story.  We would have welcomed any extra clues into what had happened, and I think if my mother is ever up to living alone again - I will make sure there is an Alexa, along with security cameras that we can check online, at least pointing at her doors.  In fact, we put an Alexa Show on the couch side table in my MIL’s assisted living apartment soon after, as her dementia is so advanced she can’t use a phone.  Not saying anyone else should do it, just random musings.

 

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