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Why NOT to automate your home:

Discussion in 'Home Automation' started by endecotp, 28 Jul 2015.

  1. endecotp

    endecotp

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  3. flameport

    flameport

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    I cannot understand why anyone would want the locks in their home connected to the Internet or any other method of remote control.
    Do people often unlock their doors when they are not at home? Or go out to work and then realise hours later that they did not lock the front door?
    Perhaps it's for the same types who turn the oven on and then go away on holiday for a month?
     
  4. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    People are easily fooled by marketing people into thinking that being "Internet Connected" can bring only benefits.

    So they buy things that are not well thought out and are often manufactured with cost reduction as a major factor. And I am not talking about cheap manufacturer in some far eastern sweat shop but the design that minimises component count and was rushed to market without time to fully appreciate the hazards that would be created by connecting to the Internet.

    Fiat-Chrysler are having to "improve" the software of their in-car entertainment system which is internet connected. Hackers can hack into the entertainment system and then on into the engine management system and thus take control of the car. The two systems should for safety reasons be totally isolated from each other but to save build cost they share the data bus around the vehicle. Did the designers not see the possibilty of hackers getting to the engine management system. Or perhaps they did but were told not to worry about it, after all who would want to cause mayhem by stopping a car dead in the middle of the highway during the rush hour.
     
  5. Malc

    Malc

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    Well to be fair, they made the same mistake in Skyfall. I mean who wouldn't connect the cell locks up to the internet/intranet and then plug a suspect laptop into the same network :).
     
  6. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Another reason to not "over automate" a house is that when visitors stay overnight they have to be "educated" about how to operate the system if it can affect their comfort. Loosing the remote control for the TV in the guest room is not a serious matter. But losing the remote control for the lights or heating in the guest room ( or forgetting which button does which function ) can lead to an uncomfortable night.

    I know a house which has proximity sensing switches hidden in the walls for their lights. very elegant but when they have visitors they have stick "post it" notes where the switches are so the visitors can turn lights on and off.
     
  7. Lucid

    Lucid

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    It's easy to poke fun at the over-automated house that encounters some technical issue or other. I wonder though how many Locksmiths earn a decent living out of changing locks because a set of keys went missing?

    Smart- or web-connected technologies installed for its own sake is going to fall over sooner or later. Like-wise, technology that requires relearns something as basic as how to switch on a light really hasn't got a place in modern homes if it makes the house difficult to use for the uninitiated. A good example of the inappropriate use of advanced technology came last year when our holiday cottage kitchen had a ceramic hob. The control for this was a small free-floating metal puck. It magnetised over the control zone for each ring, but could also be removed from the hob completely and thus render the cooker unusable. It turns out that for child safety reasons the puck was stored on to of the extractor hood. I'll bet 80%+ of the guests had the same issue we had when we came to cook breakfast that first morning "How on earth do we turn ion the stove?"....... Clever tech but inappropriate for the application.

    I can see benefits to having the door locks accessible remotely. I have a few customers who spend several weeks at a time out of the country. For them the idea that service personnel can be let in to part of the house without the need for additional sets of duplicate keys does make sense. I know at least one customer who uses the facility to let the local car dealership collect his Maserati in this way. Also the opportunity to change door lock codes if required is useful too should there be a sudden change of staff.
     
  8. mattylad

    mattylad

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    I think the only locks I would have that are connected to the internet are those that lock and cannot be unlocked via the internet.
     
  9. Agile

    Agile

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    Many good reasons not to over automate anything.

    My nice Peugeot will lock its doors automatically after a minute or so if I leave it with the keys in the ignition lock!

    When I came back this evening I found the front door partly open and a set of keys in the lock ! No one was in the house!
     
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  11. Dave54

    Dave54

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    As far as I can see, most of this stuff is technology looking for a use. I can switch my own lights on with the wall swithces, lock the doors with a key, and put the heating on when I get in. More than anything I don't want the extra layer of complexity of this gear, which may well fail at some time which is as already said made down to a price, and may not be reliable.

    Speaking to the small local garage guy the other day, he was telling me that he has several cars there, that while basically sound are scrap due to their age, and having problems with things like locking, immobiliser etc. etc.

    I don't want my house to lock me out, and then for nothing to work when I get inside!
     
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  12. GreenCat

    GreenCat

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    We are heading towards what is now called 'The Internet of Things' where everything will be connected. Your fridge will tell you when you are low on milk and even order more, your heating system will talk to your phone, reminding you (and your service engineer) of service dates and faults. Locks, garage doors, TV systems, ovens, watches and much more will all soon have wifi connectivity.

    Why? Because the apps collect data and data is worth more than gold right now. Organisations and authorities will soon know what time you get up, go to work, have breakfast, what you eat, when you eat it, what security you have, what you surf the net for, what games you play, how often and for how long. What films you watch, what you purchase, how often you use your credit cards or online payment systems like worldpay or paypal, who you send messages to, what you talk about on forums and social media, your political preferences, your family and how you relate to them, how your wages are paid to you, what tax you may not be declaring (based on an algorithm which looks at your income and spending) and so much more.

    The more we step into this interconnected world of the cloud, the less privacy we will have and the worse the big companies and authorities will become. Personally I steer well away from these systems but they seem popular with younger people. So far the TADO system we have found to be bloody awful and their constant, phone calls from 'smart installer' are driving us crazy.
     
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  13. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Well, based on the consensus of opinions here it would seem that DIYNOT should scrap this forum.

    The Internet of things has been around a while and proved so far to be a bit of a damp squib. As for Big Brother collecting data, that has been going on for ages already. I doubt your fridge is going to reveal any devastating secrets about you and your habits that your supermarket loyalty card doesn't already have in minute detail. As for ones heating blabbing about service schedules, is that really such a bad thing? Ask anyone who knows what carbon monoxide poisoning is all about on that one.

    Home automation doesn't have to mean being spied on 24/7.
     
  14. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Home automation can be set up without the need to be conected to the internet. If remote control of some functions is necessary then it can be achieved securely using a telephone answering machine and a tone decoder to recognise and act on PIN protected commands generated from the telephone keypad.

    The biggest problem with home automation is the marketing people who promote their products with comment like " you need the internet to get all the features" when in reality many of the features can be achieved without any connection to the internet.

    Is the ability to see what is happening in your home while on holiday worth the albeit small but not insignificant risk that a hacker can switch on the cameras and view you while you are at home. ?

    There is value in this forum in that it may point out the dis-advantages of the type of "home automation" that is marketed primarily for the salesman's commision and the manufacturer's profit and with a total lack of information about the pitfalls and problems it can create for the home owner.
     
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  15. GreenCat

    GreenCat

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    No but it is the thin end of the wedge. I don't have store cards for that reason either. CO poisoning has been around a long, long time, we have detectors for that and people will service or not depending on their finances not when an app tells them. We are already monitored in more ways that we know, I just don't see the point of another electronic bit of kit, the environmental benefits of which are dubious. For 15 years we have been told that each step saves us money yet the green deal proved that most of these supposed savings are on paper only.
     
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  16. Dave54

    Dave54

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    If you fully automate a house, you need sensors or switches on nearly everything. I worked on plant that was a bit like that. The sensors there were robust industrial items. Parts needed repairing / adjusting / replacing on a regular basis. More expense for the householder in the case of home automation, who presumably won't have the knowledge to DIY?
    At the end of the day a level of automation of individual devices or systems is OK and has been with us for many years. Autmatic washing machines. Timer / thermostat controlled heating systems, and even timer controlled bathroom fans. Once you start to connect them together though I really can't see a real world benefit, except possibly for the disabled.

    I don't have a smart phone or feel the need to be "connected" all the time though. I am a Luddite. :)

    There are all sorts of "big brother" concerns as well. Imagine a world where the fridge told you that you had already had your allowed calories that day, or units of alcohol. The heating told you that you had produced too much CO2 for the outside ambient, or the shower turned itself off after you had reached your daily water quota.

    Or a future where everyone has surveillance cameras connected to the cloud. And government has a back door into every one to "prevent crime" of whatever type. Or simply the "right" as they already do with email and broadband to look at anything they want.

    Far fetched. . . I wonder.
     
  17. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Except that none of these dystopian nightmares are a reality.

    As it stands right now home automation is about convenience. It's the equivalent of the development stage of early motoring compared to modern cars. Early cars were a collection of individual systems over which the driver had to constantly monitor and adjust. Just the basics of starting required pumping fuel and priming a carburettor, then manually cranking the engine in to life. Once running then there was the ignition to advance and ******, the mixture to adjust, a gearbox without synchromesh, even windscreen wipers (if fitted) were manually operated. Today's cars we just jump in, turn the key and go. We take the automation as granted. That's the future of automated homes. It's sitting in bed and being able to switch off the downstairs lights when you might have forgotten, and that's done because it's possible to check the status via a TV or smartphone app. It's having the house windows close (or at least ask you for your permission to close) when rain is due, or the blinds being dropped and the AC switching on when the sun is shining on part of the house. Or it could be something as simple as the house lights coming on in the evening through the hall and maybe in to the kitchen as you drive up. It's simple stuff that makes life easier. What's so scary about that?
     
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