Weekend Open Forum: Do you use smart home products and LED bulbs?

By Justin Kahn
Aug 14, 2015
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  1. There is a massive list of smart home products out there from Nest and upcoming HomeKit devices, to smart LEDs, air conditioners, outlets and well, to many to mention. On one hand, there are certainly options out there that have me interested, especially some of the LED bulbs and the smart thermostat devices that bring down energy bills. But on the other hand, with so many different platform formats, and figuring out which devices are compatible, it is not easy to feel confident, never mind worrying about future-proofing.

    Maybe I need to do more research, or just care more, but it really doesn't seem as simple as deciding Apple or Google when it comes to making our homes more intelligent. Either way, it looks like I’ll be turning the lights on the old-fashioned way until a clear all-in-one winner emerges from the pack.

    So for this week’s open forum we want to know what you guys think of smart home products, which ones you use, and the best way to navigate the messy platform war. Has everyone switched over to simple LED bulbs now? or smart bulbs? Are the Nest (and Nest-like) thermostats a good investment?

    Permalink to story.

  2. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 699   +164

  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 1,530   +288

    Waiting for CFLs (3-5 years old) to burn out.
  4. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Guru Posts: 320   +253

    All of the bulbs in my house are LED bulbs. Its wonderful not having to worry about high electricity usage or the heat produced by conventionals, or the harsh white from CFLs.

    A smart home, OTOH, hell no. until IoT devices are held to modern standards, and are required to get security updates for the life of the device (10-15 years for ffridge/toaster, 30+ for a thermostat) they will not see the inside of my home. Even then, adjusting the thermostat doesn't really need a smartphone, and I can see whats in the fridge without the fridge telling me. I can unlock my door without bluetooth. a smart home never really made sense.
  5. johnehoffman

    johnehoffman TS Rookie Posts: 18   +10

    There is no point in replacing bulbs that are working. The energy savings are generally not enough to warrant the cost of buying a different type of bulb. On the other hand, when replacing a bulb, an LED may be a great choice, particularly where the bulb is difficult to replace. LED's are becoming cheaper and more varieties with different color balances and wider color spectra are becoming available gradually, so it's probably best to wait unless you have a burned out bulb that needs replacing.

    "Smart houses" are probably a bad idea. We are starting to hear stories about how hackers can take remote control of cars with remote key controls, etc. There is no reason to use devices connected to the Internet unless there is a benefit to be derived that outweighs the risk. it is worth connecting my computer. It is NOT worth connecting my thermostat, refrigerator, stove, or other appliances.

    And being a first adopter is always risky. I'm inclined to let someone else be the guinea pig.
  6. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,926   +185

    Yes I've switched to some LED bulbs, some of the new ones really have great light, but you need to research before you buy of course...
    I'm also looking to buy a Nest Protect fire alarm, it's not available in Sweden though and prices on eBay are quite prohibitive for version 2 of the device.
  7. BryanS

    BryanS TS Rookie

    I have used a Nest thermostat since they first came out and like the way they work and reporting they do. I think it helps me use less electricity since it's easy to program to adjust when I'm at work, on vacation, etc. I'm not sure if I had a older style programable thermostat if I'd play with it as often to keep it adjusted optimally.

    I've got a home that was constructed with non-dimmable CFLs and I don't much care for them. I've replaced many with dimmable LEDs that I got subsidized pricing on from my power company and installed some dimmers but none of those are "smart." I have installed a couple of Wemo switches so I can turn back yard lights on from my phone while I'm in the yard and turn on my front porch lights remotely or on a schedule. I prefer this to building the "smartness" into the bulb itself but I'm not going crazy with this stuff until we have some good standardized protocols/industry leaders that determine which technologies will take over.... I don't want to invest too heavily in betamax or HD DVD ;)

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