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Showing posts from June, 2019

A Beginner's Guide to Automation: Getting Automation Right

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Last time, we talked about the different levels of automation. To recap: Level 1 is a simple “if this happens then do that” process. Level 2 adds fixed conditions such as the day of the week or time of the day. Level 3 introduces the concept of modes which are essentially shortcuts to represent other actions or automations and allows you to constrain your automation to certain modes. Finally, Level 4 automations are complex, allowing an arbitrary number of conditions and if statements to be chained together. The automation level provided by Alexa and Google Assistant is Level 2 with basic day and time conditions. This week we’ll discuss why Level 2 is not enough for most multi-person households. We’ll also go through some strategies to help ensure the automations you create are as reliable as possible.

A Beginner's Guide to Automation: What is Automation?

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By now, you’ve installed all the various devices in our home. You can whip out your phone to change the temperature on your thermostat, turn on the lights, see who is at the door, close the blinds, and make sure the door is locked with the greatest of ease. Congratulations, you have a connected home! The next step is to start turning your connected home into a smart home. If the hub is the brain of your home, then (at the risk of taking the analogy too far), your home’s “thoughts” are automations.

An automation can have one of several different degrees of complexity. The level of complexity you require typically informs that class of device you need. I’ve grouped these complexity levels into 4 major categories. We’ll start with the simplest category, discuss an example, and then build on it through the increasing levels.