I have just shifted to my new place and definitely home automation is one of the first few things that I will doing. Ideas are of course aplenty, but implementation takes time and budget. 😄 Fortunately, some of the ‘smart’ feature already comes out of the box when I bought my appliance. I didn’t have to even think. Let me take stock of the smart things around the house.
No. 1 – LG Appliances
I read briefly about the smart feature of appliances these days. Not only LG has it. Samsung, Midea, Xiaomi etc etc. Everyone has it. Except maybe the Japanese brands. But I bought LG not for the smart features. I bought LG because there was $200 vouchers if I bought the bundle. 😅
I bought 3 items from LG, namely a fridge, washer / dry and a TV. All the appliances can be connected to WiFi. That’s a given. I didn’t expect the fridge and washer to be very smart thought. More expectation was on the TV. But let’s talk about the fridge and washer/dryer first.
Fridge and Washer/Dryer
To get the applicances connected to WiFi, you need the LG ThinQ app. Each appliance has a number of steps to follow. It’s pretty straightforward. But there’s something anecdoctal here.
When I connected my fridge to my WiFi, the app prompted me to upgrade the firmware on the fridge. I was like WTF. As if upgrading routers and switches at work wasn’t enough. Now I have to upgrade firmware for my fridge. Anyway I went with it and kept my fingers cross in case the upgrade failed and bricked my fridge. That would be a damn big ass brick.
Anyway, the functions were rudimentary. I could remotely set my fridge temperature. That’s about it. I wasn’t expecting much anyway. Of course, I envision a smarter fridge but of course it’s back to budget and practicality. (On a side note, a smarter fridge can help save people, save environment. That would a separate post). The washer/dryer side, I can remote start a cycle. And the most interesting part is when it flashes a notication on your phone and TV when a cycle completes. That irritates the wife a lot. 🤣
So, now we come to the highlight – The TV. So now the LG TV runs on WebOS. I thought LG developed this whole thing themselves, but turns out WebOS has it roots in Palm. I haven’t heard this name for a long time. Palm was one of the most popular personal digital assistant, until smartphones came along and killed them. There is a long history there. You can read from WikiPedia.
Although this TV runs WebOS, the have Google Assistant built in. Only thing is that it has to activated from the TV remote. I can’t ‘Hello Google’ the TV. I might be getting a Sonos soundbar for the TV that can do ‘Hello Google’ or ‘Alexa’. Speaking of which, Google is pretty aggresive here. I see Google enabled speakers from Bose, Seinheizer, Sonos, Harmon Kardon etc. while searching for a sound bar. One major plus point for this TV personally is that it has AirPlay 2 built in. The Apple ecosystem is not left out. I can AirPlay from all the Apple devices at home, including my MacBook Pro.
That’s all for LG. Let’s move on to the next thing.
No 2. – Zip Blinds
The zip blinds are not smart on it’s own. It’s actually the motor that is smart here. The motors in my blinds is from Dooya, model DM45EQ. The motors are RF enabled. Together with this motor, a RF bridge is installed. This RF bridge connects to the WiFi at home and lets me control the blinds from my mobile.
As you can see here, the app works with all the available assistants. In my case, I use Siri. All I need to do is to setup the scenes and then add them to Siri. The app is pretty comprehensive and convenient
No. 3 – RF enabled remote controls
Technically, this is not the smart part yet. But I’m future proofing a little. Other than the aircon and TV, all my remotes are RF enabled . I specifically chose remotes that would on RF rather than IR. RF is superior to IR because it doesn’t require line of sight. I will be putting in Broadlink RF bridges so that I can control all those devices remotely. There are a few possibilities here but the most common and practical ones are for example doing a auto switch off for all the lights when we leave the house or chaining a few actions together like switching on living room rights when blinds are down.
So, out of the box without much effort, I already have these ‘smart’ features in my home. Compared to few years back, the gadgets and technology has gottten more comoditize and accessible to the general public. But of course, as a techie, I wouldn’t be handing over money to the vendors so quickly. Engineers’ money is hard to earn. 😄 More updates will come as I add more automation in the next few coming months. I gurantee surprises, so do come back to check out soon.