Best of Breeds: Expert’s Guide to the Top Smart Home Devices 2017

I reached out to a friend and expert in the field Mike Yurochko  CEO & Co-Founder of Stringify, www.stringify.com,and smart home integration application, with this question: “If you had the chance (and money) to build a smart home from scratch, what would you do?” Here was his reply: This is a very complicated space as you…

I reached out to a friend and expert in the field Mike Yurochko  CEO & Co-Founder of Stringify, www.stringify.com,and smart home integration application, with this question:

“If you had the chance (and money) to build a smart home from scratch, what would you do?”

Here was his reply:

This is a very complicated space as you can imagine, and it’s rapidly evolving as well. The leaders from 5 years ago, were different 3 years ago are different today and will be different next year, so a couple thoughts.

1 – Flexibility – I would definitely avoid being locked into a particular ecosystem at the moment. There are so many unique products on the horizon, but it’s tough to tell what ecosystem they may be aligned to.

2 – Best of breed – agree on this approach, but I would probably apply the philosophy to the products themselves. For instance, you may really like a Nest thermostat, a Hue light and a Ring doorbell. Those are all great products, but there are very few established systems that allow them to work together.

3 – General Use Cases – meaning…what are you looking to achieve from your setup? A great security system? Save money on utilities? Cool entertainment setup? There are leaders in each one of those verticals, but none work together.

  • System recommendations – again, all will be limited in some way either through integrations, UI, cost, or time to setup
  • Security – com
    • Managed service but expensive and you won’t be able to add any of the ‘cool’ products
  • Entertainment – Savant
    • Expensive and limited to just AV setups and very limited integration list
  • General – Xfinity
    • Expensive but integration list is growing. UI sucks.
  • DIY – Stringify , SmartThings, Wink,
    • Deep integration lists, cheap, but you have to setup all the devices yourself (which is basically an ongoing commitment)
  • Product recommendations – going the DIY route opens up the below possibilities.
  • I would def recommend doing this step by step though. Set one or 2 products up each weekend and don’t try to do it all at once.

Voice

   Amazon Echo for your main room, Dots for bathroom/kitchen

   Google Home pretty good as well

   Or wait for the Siri product (this fall?)

Thermostats

   Nest

   Ecobee

Lighting (broader systems that replace your light switches)

   Lutron Caseta

   Insteon (it’s what I have – keypads are great, but the app is terrible. You’ll want to use something else as an interface)

Simple Colored Lights

    LIFX – wifi bulbs and strips – they are the best point products

    Hue – market leader

Cameras

   Netgear Arlo – if you don’t mind recharging them every month or so

   Nest Cams – plugged in so no recharging, but they take a tremendous amount of  bandwidth

   For internal use – Lighthouse is coming soon and is really interesting. Canary and Netatmo Welcome are also good products.

Doorbell

   Ring

Connected Outlets (if you don’t use SmartThings or Wink)

   WeMo

Open/Close sensors, leak sensors, motion sensors, etc.

   Wink

   SmartThings

Irrigation

   Rachio

AV remote control

   Logitech Harmony (great for turning on TV / amp / lights all at once)

Audio

   Sonos (more powerful once connected to SmartThings and/or Harmony)

Door locks (you’ll want the bridge so it connects to the internet on its own)

   August is the leader but its not great build quality

   Yale/Schlage – can connect via SmartThings / Wink

Smoke detectors

   Nest protect, but it’s expensive

   Could also just use Roost which is a connected battery for your ‘dumb’ detector

Garage Door

   Chamberlain, but limited integration setup

   Garageio has more integrations

There are also connected products for your pool, pets, appliances, cars and more…

Bottom line, it’s a really complicated space at the moment – very early. So I would say the best advice I can give is just to get started, but start small, then add to your system over time. For instance, a quick, sub $1k shopping list to order off Amazon could be:

   3 LIFX bulbs for living room, master, maybe kitchen

   Amazon Echo

   Ring

   Nest

You can use our app for free to connect stuff together just to get a feel for how you might use everything. If our app is too complicated to start, IFTTT has some simple applets you can use for free as well. Then build your system based on what you are trying to achieve – AV, lighting, irrigation, etc.

Hope that helps,

Mike

Mike Yurochko
CEO, Co-Founder
www.stringify.com 

App Store << download our iOS app

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