time to get smart

Found 10th Dec 2017
I’m hoping for some basic advice on how to setup a “smart” home, i want to control my heating/water (new boiler with additional wifi thermostat) and link to amazon alexa, then add lights and electrical items as needed, i am baffled by the speed if this technology and don’t want to keep replacing or upgrading things!
do i get a home hub installed first then add everything to the same system? i figured thats how it works and lights/plugs get connected as they’re installed but then i was told the new amazon echo is a home hub so im wondering if my “hub” should be installed with the heating control or should i get a hub separate? also can i keep my thermostat as its fixed to the wall or does it not work with a new smart thermostat?
im also unsure about things that are wifi enabled? for example i bought some touch light switches that are remote and wifi enabled, does that mean i can connect them to my hub? hive? hue? what if i back the wrong team? im hoping for some advice/recommendations on how to start a smart home that doesn’t need 100 different apps and 50 separate remotes in 5 years time?
Community Updates
I went with Hive as I was never bothered by amazon and google’s talk to things gadgets!! Plus I liked the simplicity that a British Gas engineer would come and install. So I can’t advise on the others but I can tell you of my Hive experience.

The basic pack is the hub which plugs into your modem, the wireless bit by your boiler and the control panel which I had in the Hall. All talk to each other wirelessly with no probs.

Installation took about an hour (only booked a week in advance so not a long wait) - had quite a chat with the engineer and he said they’ve got sooo many products coming out that will join up with Hive in the next year or two. He also emailed me a special offer to get the welcome home pack (two lightbulbs, a motion sensor and a plug) for £4 a month x 10 months which was cheaper than on their website.

I’ve hooked up the light bulbs and plug and am very impressed - it took 30 seconds to link them to the hub and set up on my phone app. So easy to set a schedule or switch them on and off manually. Heating controls working perfectly.

I think I’ll sell the motion sensor on eBay for £20-30 which would make the pack cost pretty cheap.

Wish I’d put one in ages ago!
Edited by: "bluep" 10th Dec 2017
You have my sympathy. Personally I have given up with technology now. It's getting too complicated. It's supposed to make life easier, yet I feel guilty if I don't have the latest technology.How is that beneficial.

What is wrong with a thermostat and timer? What is wrong with pressing a button on the remote control?
Imagine watching a romantic film with the other half, and you can't hear what is being said because the sound is low. You then bellow "Alexa, turn the bloody volume up!" , it them replies "increase the volume..On what?" . Rather spoils the moment, eh? I can surreptitiously press a button on the soundbar volume. I'm happy with that.
mrty2 h, 45 m ago

yet I feel guilty if I don't have the latest technology.

That's nothing to do with the technology though, but the people around you who hold those expectations.

@aep Jumping in when something first becomes popular is always going to be a risk in terms of long term support. Your best bet would be to go for something popular and established with a large UK userbase as an established customer base is more likely to persist in the long run

I would just treat the current options as a trial run. Buy something you fancy to try it out and find out the benefits and downloads, but assume you'll be replacing it in a few years time.
To be honest with the pace of the controlled electricals being changed and upgraded it’s probably only worth doing the central heating and maybe a few lights rather than all until the pace of change slows a little. Otherwise you might invest a lot of money in something you will be ripping out in 3 years time.
Don't waste your money.
I have two Alexa's (Echo dots), two Xiaomi RGB Yeelights and two Sonoff Basic switches (wired inline on lamps), all work great and nothing took more than 15 mins to setup (including the wiring for the Sonoff, most was under 5 mins). I'll get a Nest and some more of everything at some point.
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