Zwave home automation control

AKA, “the Internet of things” (aka IOT), which is a disgusting media nickname for internet enabled things you install through your home, life and self.  Zwave is just one solution for a common problem with all the IOT manufacturers, how do I get the customer to communicate with the product, and how do I secure those communications.  With Zwave, each device has to be “paired” with the controller.  In my case, I have an Aeon Labs zwave usb stick with a simple plug-it-in and press two buttons to pair the new device.

Right now, i’ve got a couple multi-sensors (temp, humidity, lumenance combined with a motion sensor) installed upstairs and at the front door.  I knew my brother was approaching the front door about 10 seconds before the front door bell rang.  No more sneaky Pete UPS guy dropping something off and hurrying away without knocking or ringing the doorbell.

I haven’t installed the new Zwave enabled Honeywell thermostat yet, but once I do, I’ll be able to adjust it’s programming based on internal and external temp/humidity, or even starting the morning schedule 30 minutes after sunup, by measuring luminance on the back yard multi-sensor).  I’ll be able to setup alarms, so if the internal temperature (as measured on the inside multi sensors rises above 80 or drops below 60, so even if we’re out of town, we’ll know to call someone right away. My computer can change from airco to heat when the temp outside drops below 58, and switch back to airco whenever the outside air is hotter than 70.

I’ve installed a Zwave enabled Smart Energy Switch on the refrigerator in my office and the kitchen.  I’ll be able to track actual energy usage it is if I adjust the “cold/colder” setting down a half notch, and setup alerts if the fridge power usage ever drops below 1 watts.

Combined with window frame mounted sensors, I can setup an alert if the air conditioner comes on when any of the upstairs windows are open.

I’m just as nervous about Internet enabled devices as the next guy, which is why I’m not plugging anything critical into it.  The thermostat is about as much power as I’m willing to risk at this point.  None of these Aeon devices came with anyway to update their firmware, so if any bugs or other weaknesses are discovered in the future, the only way to upgrade is to replace devices.  From what I’ve read, Zwave is about the most reasonably comfortable balance between convenience and security.