Imagine you come home from a long and exhausting day at the office, and you’re drained from a long day at work. Now all you want to do is to recharge, free up your mind, and think of nothing, and leave tomorrow’s worries for tomorrow.
Then you remember you forgot to check if the door’s locked or not. Such a letdown, right?
Do you really want to get up and check now?
With the right home automation setup, you won’t have to!
Scheduling a home automation routine that is specifically designed for bedtime takes the bedtime routine off of your plate altogether.. Now you don’t even have to rely totally on the automation. You can check everything from the convenience of your smartphone while you’re in bed.
What are some good automations for a bedtime routine?
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
The skinny: Switching off the main lights and turning on the decorative lamps or lighting up the porch
How it works: This does the work for you. Instead of switching from the main lights to the dimmed lamps, you just simply control with just a tap on a mobile app or via a voice control. Better yet, have it automatic based on managed schedules.
What you’ll need:
- Smart switches - WiFi-controlled light bulbs that could withstand the power rating
- AND Google Home - The preferred voice assistant for Android users
- OR Amazon Alexa - Amazon’s voice assistant to be used with the Echo Dot device
The skinny: Locking the doors and the garage automatically at night
How it works: This ensures that all your doors at home are locked and gives no chance for burglars attempting to get in. With the use of smart door locks from top brands like Kwikset, Yale, and Schlage, you can easily lock and unlock via voice control, and auto-lock.
What you’ll need:
- Smart door lock - Check if your voice assistant or automation supports the protocol
- AND a Smart home app - Use this to manage your door lock. One of the favorites is SmartThings.
- OR a Web automation platform - Create a task which runs on conditions like an IFTTT recipe which locks the doors at 10 PM and notifies you when it has been opened.
The skinny: Activating the motion-activated lights and alarm
How it works: When armed, motion sensors detect movements in front of them and sends triggers to either turn the lights on on the area and/or to sound an alarm.
What you’ll need:
- PIR detectors - These actually measure changes in temperature and not movement. So place these in areas where there are less sources of heat to avoid false triggers.
- AND connected light bulbs and buzzer - Make sure on how to properly add these (via relays or switches) to the PIR detectors:
- OR a mobile app - Configure this to wake you up when there is a detection.
The skinny: Switching off the entertainment system and other appliances
How it works: Similar to the first one, you don’t wanna leave any appliances ON until the morning especially your home entertainment system.
What you’ll need:
- Smart switches - Add these in between the plugs and wall sockets to enable the switching
- AND PIR detectors - Place these around your living room or somewhere else to check for activity in the surroundings. Configure your automation system to automatically turn off the smart switches after some period of inactivity.
- OR an automation software - Use IFTTT, for example, to schedule the switching for you.
Those are only some of the tasks that you could automate and you could add more according to your needs. You could even add a function that would notify you when a door fails to close due to blockage or an intruder attempts to force open it. For example, you could use IFTTT (if this, then that), a free web-service that allows your smart devices to work autonomously based on a series of conditional statements that you set, to manage a simple automatic door locking routine based on what time you want it to be locked - e.g., automatically lock the door by 10:00 PM and unlock it at 6:00 AM and have it notify you on Twitter or Facebook if it jams.
Personally though, I would prefer to use an offline system or one that has no cloud-dependence for reasons of security (data privacy), latency (how fast the system reacts), and independence from the internet. One good platform is HomeSeer.
How much would it cost for a basic package?
Well, that depends. There are a lot of factors to look at when computing the overall cost of the package. The first things that you should consider are:
- Automation Platform / Software - open source or proprietary?
- Smart Controller aka Hub - open source or proprietary
- Cloud-dependence - locally-managed or dependent on the internet?
Let’s start with the software. You can choose to have a premium software, which is user-friendly and mostly comes with a mobile app and a web server that is easy to configure, or an open-source which is free to use but might be difficult to setup since it is best-suited for DIY enthusiasts and software developers. Also, most of these open-source software run on Linux and are scripted in Python or C++ and so that might not be too easy-to-use after all. Second is the hub, which basically accepts data from the sensors and/or the cloud and then controls your smart devices. Again there exist proprietary hubs which you can buy off-the-shelf or you could just DIY by configuring cheap single-board computers like the credit card sized Raspberry Pi priced at around $75.00 per complete kit. Lastly, cloud-dependence gives you the benefit of remotely managing your system away from your home. However, it also imposes some issues like security and latency as mentioned above. ge
Of course, the accessories are up to you. You could choose between popular voice assistants like the Amazon Echo Dot which costs $35.00 and a WiFi-controlled light bulb like the $50.00 Philips Hue.
Was this article helpful to you? Let us know if it got you interested in setting up a home automation designed for bedtime and we’ll post more write-ups about this.
Hi, I’m Christy, and I’m an electronics engineer by profession. I have taught in a university for 2 years while pursuing my master’s degree in cognitive radio and worked for a company to develop wireless medical devices. Currently, I’m doing research for a doctorate degree in engineering using a wireless sensor network for smart agriculture. I’ve been active in our local IoT community, IoT Cebu, where I participate in conducting talks about Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and DIY home automation using Wi-Fi and ZigBee devices.