If you have multiple houses and want to remote control the electrical devices from anywhere on this earth with a decent UI then this article is for you. When we need to control just few bulbs or motors then we can use ready to use smart sockets. A DIY alternative to it is using IBM IoT and ESP32 to control the AC powered appliances. These ways are cost-effective, commercial solution provides a mobile app with different functions such as monitoring the consumption, provides a timer function etc. Although I have written the code for ESP32 and IBM Watson IoT for this job, I will suggest purchasing the commercial smart sockets to make this part easier. Save your DIY enthusiasm for the next steps of automation. Think about yourself which lights require control when you are not at home. If you carefully plan for a 3000 square feet house, you will not need more than two smart sockets. It will be easy to control via a mobile app.
But when you plan to automate the whole house with a wide array of devices and various methods then you need additional custom hardware and software package which can be customized. In my opinion, you should not attach over the internet control for everything – it adds too much security risks which I have discussed in the article about smart camera. Purchasing a dedicated firewall is a costly affair.
So, outside the electrical things which need to be controlled over the internet, you have a ton of electrical gizmos which you wish to be controlled from your mobile device when you are at home. This is the most difficult part for different reasons. Your ways to automate will be :
- By using various sensors and Arduino/ESP32
- By using smartwatch and Arduino/ESP32
- By using Raspberry Pi
You can automate the lights of the corridors with a motion sensor and Arduino/ESP32. These lights are often not mandatory to keep always ON. You can purchase ready-made commercial solutions.
Controlling the lights with smartwatch and Arduino/ESP32 is mostly for the reading lights and decorative lights. I have tested it for another usage – honestly, those are impractical, complicated use.
The remaining things like the lights of a bedroom, dining, living room, bathroom, curtains, windows, garage door, water pump etc demands a Raspberry Pi for electronic control. This will potentially avoid the problem of forgetfulness. This part I am developing at this moment for my ancestral house. You need a Raspberry Pi, relays and the software Node-Red and Home Assistant. It is laborious to configure Raspberry Pi. I will suggest not to fall into marketing tricks. Neither you need everything “smart” nor internet-connected devices are safe. Give importance to usability and return of investment. Wired connections are often superior. Most of us use these technologies have large houses. It is laborious for us to ON-OFF various lights and pumps. Partial implementation of IoT Home Automation is helping us a lot.