When you combine an engineer and his home security system, the result is something far more advanced than your typical alarm. Ever wish you could just tell your garage door to open, monitor the salinity of your saltwater pool from afar, or catch your kid or roommate who leaves the window open while the heater is on, all from a mobile device? It can be done, and our chief engineer Jami Lurock set out to prove it!
At our second installment of “Lunch Meet,” a monthly team-led learning series on a variety of relevant topics, Jami took the floor to talk us through his “Journey to Home Automation,” including the hardware and software he’s using now, and how he got started.
“The house came wired for an alarm system,” he said. Once he hooked into that alarm system and saw the possibilities, Jami wanted to improve upon nearly every element of his home that had the potential for automation. Electrical boxes filled with jumbled wires be darned: this was a job for an engineer!
Using the alarm system, Raspberry Pi with RS485 serial hardware, the Samsung SmartThings Hub, a custom build web server, Angular 2 application, SmartThings custom device handlers, and the SmartThings app, Jami programmed alarms he could control from his phone for every room in his house. Later, he added camera motion sensors in outdoor locations and the garage, then automated everything from the house temperature to the dining room lights. Now, he can also control the temperature of the hot tub, turn on the pool cleaner, and click the Christmas lights on and off. Or, use the garage camera to see who is coming through the garage when it opens. He demonstrated this using his phone to command the garage door to open, then showed us the video footage to prove it was listening. And low and behold, from 20 miles away, his garage door opened. Amazing!
I asked how long it took to automate everything to date at his house, and the answer was “years,” but it was worth it to figure out how everything works himself. He doesn’t have to call a company to do the work every time he wants to add a new device, and he has peace of mind that his family is safe and sound.
Want to learn more about the various software and hardware Jami has used over the years in his journey to home automation? He made his entire “Lunch Meet” slideshow available here.
Big thanks to Jami for sharing this journey with us for our monthly “Lunch Meet,” and inspiring us all to make life a little easier through automation.
Stay tuned for learnings from our next event!
Courtney Meznarich, Director of Community Outreach