In another thread regarding the liquid flags, some interest was posted about smart lighting and such. Feel free to continue here and ask away.
I am by no means and expert but I have diplomas in electronics and computers, so I learn quick.
I learn new tech as it appears when I am interested in it.
Now, many years ago, I got involved with X-10 smart devices. It was more or less plug in switches that can be controlled manually or via proprietary software such as Homeseer. While it was a cheaper alternative to Z-Wave, (a more expensive tech that came out later), it had its caveats. X-10 passes signal over your electrical lines. For the most part, riding a free road with your electric. If the house was old, had bad electrical wiring, old motors from fridges or air conditioners, it was interrupted and failed. The software would send a signal via serial connector which was interfaced with a controller and plugged into your computer. Devices were reasonably priced and you could control lighting and certain appliances with the software via manually switching it on or off or via schedule. One advantage was for example, making your house look lived in when you were away. Unlike motorized timers, you can have multiple schedules for each light, change dimness levels, go on and off at sunset based on your location and even engage a security mode where no times are exact. This way nobody would see patterns.
Later on, this concept was reinvented with a different way of transmitting signals called Z-Wave. I won't elaborate on it because it is essentially similar to X-10, but more reliable. You can google z-wave to get various specs. With z-wave, the modules where more expensive and software became more powerful. Giving you more bang for the buck.
Ok, fast forward a tad. Several months ago, I started replacing all incandescent bulbs in my house with LED bulbs. Not a cheap endeavor, as they cost a lot more than old bulbs. Don't you wish you discovered something better before blowing money on all new bulbs? Lol. Well, the lighting industry is slowly suppose to be phasing out old style filament bulbs. Forget by what year. They want everyone to go by way of LED for the most part.
Anyway, as I was replacing bulbs and almost done, I discovered Philips Hue lighting. Go figure, they come out with a whole new tech and not so long before saying they were getting out of the lighting industry. Filthy liars, hehe. Instead, they decided to get involved with Smart devices.
A whole line of color led bulbs, strip lighting, etc. I was so intrigued, I stopped my original project and started investing in their Hue line.
Just a short deviation. You remember when video tapes were poplular?
First Beta by Sony, the VHS? Beta was much better quality for recording. But Sony being greedy, would not let other companies develop players and have their licensing. If I recall, VHS appeared and basically gave every company a way to develop with their format. Essentially giving Sony the middle finger. Shame...
Ok, point. Z-Wave was a bit like that. But then other companies started developing similar stuff and just changed signal frequencies. Z-Wave required a router type bridge to talk to. This would only let one companies device to talk to their interface. No others. They are either hard. wired or via wifi.
Moving forward, Belkin came out with theirs, Philips, GE, etc... The kicker is, software developers were allowed the code for the software. Most devices will talk to any of these bridges which made life easier and flexible for the consumer. There are others too, but rather than list everyone, the kicker for me was Amazons new Echo, kindly named Alexa. Amazon built a ton of features into it and still is adding more. Further, they have given developers packages to create new software for various devices. For example, Echo will communicate with Hue, Wemo, Wink and other party goodies.
To be continued: finger needs a break from this ipad typing...
Be back in a few.
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