Guides and Reviews

New FIBARO Homekit Bridge

Posted by Mike Lim

This article serve as an update on our Smart Home Bridge (FIBARO based).

This bridge had previously supported Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomeKit. As FIBARO rolled out support for Amazon Echo natively via the Alexa skills, we no longer require the bridge anymore for use with Amazon echo. In addition, Google Home has updated their firmware such it no longer support 3rd party hacks such as the Smart Home Bridge. You can still use control FIBARO via its Google's Voice Assistant (though it is really not implemented well).

With the above in mind, we have updated the Smart Home Bridge to only support Apple HomeKit. In this previous article, we also mentioned that there was an iOS and Android app for configuration. We have also replaced it with a simpler web based configuration page where you just need to access a URL to setup the Smart Home Bridge as shown below.

 

Other than that, the Smart Home Bridge is still based on an open source solution which you can download and setup on a Linux box (with some technical skills). We've only prepackage it and made it easier for non technical folks by providing a web based UI to quickly configure and make your FIBARO Home Center HomeKit compatible.

Please note that we will not be able to guarantee that future firmware upgrade to your FIBARO Home Center or iOS versions will work on the Smart Home Bridge as we do not have control over bug fixes over the open source solution. The current Smart Home Bridge works with FIBARO firmware 4.XXX and iOS 11.

So for folks who already have FIBARO Home Center and like to control it over HomeKit, you can check out the device here. For folks who like to have a smart home hub that supports HomeKit without any additional bridge, you can check out Homey.

Automate Asia Team

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This article serve as an update on our Smart Home Bridge (FIBARO based).

This bridge had previously supported Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomeKit. As FIBARO rolled out support for Amazon Echo natively via the Alexa skills, we no longer require the bridge anymore for use with Amazon echo. In addition, Google Home has updated their firmware such it no longer support 3rd party hacks such as the Smart Home Bridge. You can still use control FIBARO via its Google's Voice Assistant (though it is really not implemented well).

With the above in mind, we have updated the Smart Home Bridge to only support Apple HomeKit. In this previous article, we also mentioned that there was an iOS and Android app for configuration. We have also replaced it with a simpler web based configuration page where you just need to access a URL to setup the Smart Home Bridge as shown below.

 

Other than that, the Smart Home Bridge is still based on an open source solution which you can download and setup on a Linux box (with some technical skills). We've only prepackage it and made it easier for non technical folks by providing a web based UI to quickly configure and make your FIBARO Home Center HomeKit compatible.

Please note that we will not be able to guarantee that future firmware upgrade to your FIBARO Home Center or iOS versions will work on the Smart Home Bridge as we do not have control over bug fixes over the open source solution. The current Smart Home Bridge works with FIBARO firmware 4.XXX and iOS 11.

So for folks who already have FIBARO Home Center and like to control it over HomeKit, you can check out the device here. For folks who like to have a smart home hub that supports HomeKit without any additional bridge, you can check out Homey.

Automate Asia Team

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The wait is finally over! You can now buy Pixel 2 phone, Google Home (and Mini), Google Wifi, Chromecast and the Pixel Bud locally with local warranty at comparable price US Google Store!

While the news were plastered all over Straits Time and Channel News Asia, describing what the standard stuff that Google Home can do, you know, asking about weather and traffic, speaking Singlish and playing of music. Here's how we are already using with it: 

1. Control your home with custom commands

Yes, this is not new but how about custom commands that controls a few things at once instead of just turn this and and that on or off. Just say " Ok Google, romantic mode" or "Ok Google, you know what you should do"

 

 

2. Request status of your home

Well, we can also check if the door is locked and how much energy you are using now.

 

 

3. Play music everywhere

Playing music on 1 Google Home is boring. Playing on multiple speakers is more shiok (according to Google Home). Just say "Ok Google, play spotify on all speakers". Trust me, it sounds better than you'll expect.

4. Broadcast your S.O.S for toilet paper

When you are in the toilet and you realised you have ran out of paper? Just say "Ok Google, broadcast can someone bring me the toilet paper?" and the world will come to your rescue :)

So if you like your Google Home to do more for your home, just drop us a note!

Automate Asia Team

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The wait is finally over! You can now buy Pixel 2 phone, Google Home (and Mini), Google Wifi, Chromecast and the Pixel Bud locally with local warranty at comparable price US Google Store!

While the news were plastered all over Straits Time and Channel News Asia, describing what the standard stuff that Google Home can do, you know, asking about weather and traffic, speaking Singlish and playing of music. Here's how we are already using with it: 

1. Control your home with custom commands

Yes, this is not new but how about custom commands that controls a few things at once instead of just turn this and and that on or off. Just say " Ok Google, romantic mode" or "Ok Google, you know what you should do"

 

 

2. Request status of your home

Well, we can also check if the door is locked and how much energy you are using now.

 

 

3. Play music everywhere

Playing music on 1 Google Home is boring. Playing on multiple speakers is more shiok (according to Google Home). Just say "Ok Google, play spotify on all speakers". Trust me, it sounds better than you'll expect.

4. Broadcast your S.O.S for toilet paper

When you are in the toilet and you realised you have ran out of paper? Just say "Ok Google, broadcast can someone bring me the toilet paper?" and the world will come to your rescue :)

So if you like your Google Home to do more for your home, just drop us a note!

Automate Asia Team

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Innr, an affordable Philip Hue alternative

Posted by Mike Lim

Philip Hue has always been a synonym to smart lightings, just like Coke is to cola. The Philip Hue bulbs are based on Zigbee Light Link and requires the Philip Hue Bridge in order for you to control with your mobile phone or voice assistants. There are also a bunch of other prominent connected bulbs that are either running on wifi or Zigbee such as LIFX, IKEA Trådfri, OSRAM Lightify etc.

So why are we writing about yet another connected bulb, Innr? Innr is a Dutch lighting company which created a complete connected lighting proposition based on Zigbee Light Link, the same protocol used by Philips Hue. This means, if you already are a Philip Hue user and looking at expanding your lighting control, Innr bulbs works well with your existing Philip Hue Bridge! Secondly, a single Philip Hue White and Ambience bulb cost S$90 while the same range from Innr with better colour representation cost S$60! The other white or tunable white bulbs (E27 or GU10) are also relatively cheaper than Philip Hue. We can actually end our review just by these 2 points but let's take a closer look at the products.

Innr Products

 

We managed to lay our hands on some of the products in the Innr range for testing, mainly the Innr RGBW Dimmable, Innr Tunable White E27 and Innr GU10 Tunable White

The Innr bulbs specifications are on par (in some areas better than) with the Philip Hue and yet retails for a lower price.

  Philip White and Colour Ambience Innr RGBW Dimmable E27
Price S$90 S$60
Length 110 mm 120 mm
Diameter 62 mm 60 mm
Wattage 9.5 w 9.5 w
Beam Angle 180 degrees 240 degrees
Lumen 806 lm 806 lm
Lifespan 25000 hrs 25000 hrs
Warranty 2 years 2 years

 

  Philip White Ambience Innr Tunable White E27
Price S$49 S$39
Length 110 mm 120 mm
Diameter 62 mm 60 mm
Wattage 9.5 w 9 w
Beam Angle 180 degrees 240 degrees
Lumen 806 lm 806 lm
Lifespan 25000 hrs 25000 hrs
Warranty 2 years 2 years

 

  Philip White Ambience GU10 Innr GU10 Tunable White
Price S$49 S$45
Length 57 mm 55 mm
Diameter 50 mm 50 mm
Wattage 5.5 w 5.4 w
Beam Angle 38 degrees 36 degrees
Lumen 300 lm 350 lm
Lifespan 25000 hrs 25000 hrs
Warranty 2 years 2 years

Innr also has many interesting products such as Innr Spot Kit, Innr Puck Light that are quite unique. In this review, we will test the Innr RGBW Dimmable E27 and the Innr Spot Tunable White Dimmable GU10.

 

Pairing with Philip Hue Bridge

 

For Philip Hue bulbs, the Philip Hue Bridge automatically scans for bulbs that are powered up during the pairing process. However for Innr bulbs, you actually need to power cycle each Inner bulb while the Hue Bridge is searching for the bulbs. This means that if you have 3 Inner bulbs that is powered by a light switch, you actually have to turn off and on for a total of 3 times to add 3 Innr bulbs to the Hue Bridge.

  

Color Representation Comparison

 

We grouped a Philip Hue White and Colour Ambience with Innr E27 RGBW together in the Hue Bridge to perform the colour comparison. We didn't realise that Philip Hue, green and blue are so far off until we compare it beside Innr!

In case you think we are biased, you can search for more comparison videos on YouTube.

Pairing with Athom Homey

 

We cannot help but like to take the chance to show how well it works with Homey. This is especially relevant if you plan to setup a complete smart home with minimum wiring.

We setup 4 GU10 bulbs to Homey and fired away voice commands such as Alexa, set track light to warm white, cool white or dim to 20% and it worked quite well.

Conclusion

 

The conclusion remains unchanged, Innr is very affordable and perform as well, if not better than the Philip Hue. The only thing you probably won't get from Innr is the Innr Bridge which cost the same as the Philip Hue Bridge but does not work with Amazon Echo or Google Home yet. In fact, we think new users should just get Philip Hue Bridge and Innr bulbs for their smart lighting.

Automate Asia Team

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Philip Hue has always been a synonym to smart lightings, just like Coke is to cola. The Philip Hue bulbs are based on Zigbee Light Link and requires the Philip Hue Bridge in order for you to control with your mobile phone or voice assistants. There are also a bunch of other prominent connected bulbs that are either running on wifi or Zigbee such as LIFX, IKEA Trådfri, OSRAM Lightify etc.

So why are we writing about yet another connected bulb, Innr? Innr is a Dutch lighting company which created a complete connected lighting proposition based on Zigbee Light Link, the same protocol used by Philips Hue. This means, if you already are a Philip Hue user and looking at expanding your lighting control, Innr bulbs works well with your existing Philip Hue Bridge! Secondly, a single Philip Hue White and Ambience bulb cost S$90 while the same range from Innr with better colour representation cost S$60! The other white or tunable white bulbs (E27 or GU10) are also relatively cheaper than Philip Hue. We can actually end our review just by these 2 points but let's take a closer look at the products.

Innr Products

 

We managed to lay our hands on some of the products in the Innr range for testing, mainly the Innr RGBW Dimmable, Innr Tunable White E27 and Innr GU10 Tunable White

The Innr bulbs specifications are on par (in some areas better than) with the Philip Hue and yet retails for a lower price.

  Philip White and Colour Ambience Innr RGBW Dimmable E27
Price S$90 S$60
Length 110 mm 120 mm
Diameter 62 mm 60 mm
Wattage 9.5 w 9.5 w
Beam Angle 180 degrees 240 degrees
Lumen 806 lm 806 lm
Lifespan 25000 hrs 25000 hrs
Warranty 2 years 2 years

 

  Philip White Ambience Innr Tunable White E27
Price S$49 S$39
Length 110 mm 120 mm
Diameter 62 mm 60 mm
Wattage 9.5 w 9 w
Beam Angle 180 degrees 240 degrees
Lumen 806 lm 806 lm
Lifespan 25000 hrs 25000 hrs
Warranty 2 years 2 years

 

  Philip White Ambience GU10 Innr GU10 Tunable White
Price S$49 S$45
Length 57 mm 55 mm
Diameter 50 mm 50 mm
Wattage 5.5 w 5.4 w
Beam Angle 38 degrees 36 degrees
Lumen 300 lm 350 lm
Lifespan 25000 hrs 25000 hrs
Warranty 2 years 2 years

Innr also has many interesting products such as Innr Spot Kit, Innr Puck Light that are quite unique. In this review, we will test the Innr RGBW Dimmable E27 and the Innr Spot Tunable White Dimmable GU10.

 

Pairing with Philip Hue Bridge

 

For Philip Hue bulbs, the Philip Hue Bridge automatically scans for bulbs that are powered up during the pairing process. However for Innr bulbs, you actually need to power cycle each Inner bulb while the Hue Bridge is searching for the bulbs. This means that if you have 3 Inner bulbs that is powered by a light switch, you actually have to turn off and on for a total of 3 times to add 3 Innr bulbs to the Hue Bridge.

  

Color Representation Comparison

 

We grouped a Philip Hue White and Colour Ambience with Innr E27 RGBW together in the Hue Bridge to perform the colour comparison. We didn't realise that Philip Hue, green and blue are so far off until we compare it beside Innr!

In case you think we are biased, you can search for more comparison videos on YouTube.

Pairing with Athom Homey

 

We cannot help but like to take the chance to show how well it works with Homey. This is especially relevant if you plan to setup a complete smart home with minimum wiring.

We setup 4 GU10 bulbs to Homey and fired away voice commands such as Alexa, set track light to warm white, cool white or dim to 20% and it worked quite well.

Conclusion

 

The conclusion remains unchanged, Innr is very affordable and perform as well, if not better than the Philip Hue. The only thing you probably won't get from Innr is the Innr Bridge which cost the same as the Philip Hue Bridge but does not work with Amazon Echo or Google Home yet. In fact, we think new users should just get Philip Hue Bridge and Innr bulbs for their smart lighting.

Automate Asia Team

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Homey and Ring Integration

Posted by Mike Lim

A video doorbell allows you to screen your visitors at your door even though you are not at home. There is an array of video doorbells in the market with Ring 2, Ring Pro and the DoorBird taking the lead in terms of popularity.

Ring has partnered with Kevo, Wink, Lockstate and Kisi to allow opening of these lock via the app during visitor screening while DoorBird allow opening of the gates or electromagnetic locks via a dry contact.

The video doorbells seems to be quite standalone devices and require custom integration until Homey came out with Homey app that supports both Ring and DoorBird. With this integration, we can now make them work with our smart home hub without dealing with APIs. Here's how the Ring integration look like.

To add an existing Ring doorbell to Homey, simply install the Ring Homey App into your Homey.

Once it is installed, we have to setup the authentication for Ring in the settings

We now go to the device page to click add and select the model of the Ring doorbell.

Once the Ring doorbell is added to Homey, you will be able to receive notification on the motion alarm as well as the alarm when someone press the bell. Unfortunately, Ring does not allow any 3rd party to pull images or videos from their cloud.

We now can create a flow based with the Ring as a trigger. In this example, music is being played in the house when someone presses the doorbell.

You can even trigger flows when the battery level changes or when there is a firmware update. The list of triggers for Ring alone is quite impressive.

With this integration, you can get notified via Homey app, create special prompt to unlock any z-wave lock after screening your visitors. Video of the demo will be posted soon.

Automate Asia Team

 

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A video doorbell allows you to screen your visitors at your door even though you are not at home. There is an array of video doorbells in the market with Ring 2, Ring Pro and the DoorBird taking the lead in terms of popularity.

Ring has partnered with Kevo, Wink, Lockstate and Kisi to allow opening of these lock via the app during visitor screening while DoorBird allow opening of the gates or electromagnetic locks via a dry contact.

The video doorbells seems to be quite standalone devices and require custom integration until Homey came out with Homey app that supports both Ring and DoorBird. With this integration, we can now make them work with our smart home hub without dealing with APIs. Here's how the Ring integration look like.

To add an existing Ring doorbell to Homey, simply install the Ring Homey App into your Homey.

Once it is installed, we have to setup the authentication for Ring in the settings

We now go to the device page to click add and select the model of the Ring doorbell.

Once the Ring doorbell is added to Homey, you will be able to receive notification on the motion alarm as well as the alarm when someone press the bell. Unfortunately, Ring does not allow any 3rd party to pull images or videos from their cloud.

We now can create a flow based with the Ring as a trigger. In this example, music is being played in the house when someone presses the doorbell.

You can even trigger flows when the battery level changes or when there is a firmware update. The list of triggers for Ring alone is quite impressive.

With this integration, you can get notified via Homey app, create special prompt to unlock any z-wave lock after screening your visitors. Video of the demo will be posted soon.

Automate Asia Team

 

Read more

Homey and Home Connect for Bosch Appliances

Posted by Mike Lim

There's always been a talk about connected coffee machines, washing machines, dryers, ovens and fridges. To remove human hands entirely from the equation and delegate these tasks to a machine is quite impossible as you always require someone to put in the coffee beans, manage the clothes, put in the chicken into the oven before the connect appliances do their job, not to mention the human required to clean up afterwards.

However, connected appliances make life slightly better by taking away the presence of human at the time it should operate, in specific mode or settings. That being said, a connected appliance is only as smart as the presets that are configured in owner's mobile app.

A picture of home owners waking up to the aroma of coffee is always being portrayed. Yes, you may a schedule on the app to wake you up with the coffee aroma everyday but what about the days you are not in town? You may whip out your phone to start the oven on your way home or get notified of your washing machine's cycle. But what if you can have the oven started the moment you head home, or have the lights change colour and your speakers announcing when the washing machine is done?

A real smart home is one that do not require constant changing of settings and fiddling with your phone. You need a hub and voice recognition to achieve that, so here's the real deal.

Homey partners with Home Connect

Homey, the smart home platform developed by the Dutch company Athom, integrates Home Connect from now on. Back in Netherlands, this is announced by Athom and BSH Home Appliances, the companies behind the products. The partnership adds the home appliances of brands such as Bosch and Siemens to the popular Smart Home Platform Homey.

New possibilities

“The integration between our devices offers a lot of interesting new possibilities to users”, states Stefan Witkamp, Commercial Director of Athom. “Through Homey Flows, your dishwasher can automatically turn on as soon as you get to bed, while the rest of your smart appliances are turned off to save energy. Home Connect devices can also be used in harmony with the thousands of other products Homey supports, including TVs, stereo systems, lighting, switches, solar panels and more.” “You can use these combinations for notifications, but also to combine comfort and energy management in the best way possible”, adds Emile Nijssen, Creative Director. “Imagine your washing machine which starts when your solar panels start collecting energy, but ensures to be ready before a set time”. “With Home Connect, we are actively searching for local and international partners in order to add value to the consumer within their household. As Homey already takes a central position within the connected household, they are a very interesting partner for Home Connect”, according to Luuk Brinkman from BSH Netherlands.

Open platform & API

Integrating Home Connect was relatively easy by merits of Homey’s open software platform, which works similar to a smartphone OS. The good and stable API of Home Connect further supported this process. The API allows external parties to work on BSH appliances with Home Connect. These past months, the two companies collaborated to integrate their open systems, and are more than content with the results: “This is a joined step towards a shared vision”.

Bosch Experience Centre Singapore

Automate Asia, Singapore sole distributor for Homey is proud to have deployed Homey in Bosch Experience Centre in Singapore.

The integration of Homey and Connect Home Appliance truly enhances the experience of a smart home in this showroom. Users will be able to fully control the showroom solely by voice via the Amazon Echo.

All appliances in the showroom, including dimmable lights, air-conditioning, blinds, projector and TV are seamlessly integrated via Homey flows.

 The Homey app for Home Connect can be found here and it currently supports the Home Connect oven, dryer, dishwasher and coffee machine that is being featured in this showroom.

 

PS : This showroom is not open to public. Please do not contact Bosch to request for a demonstration. 

About Home Connect

Home Connect is the first solution in the world to allow home appliances from different brands to be controlled with a single app, and is a subsidiary of BSH Hausgeräte. With Home Connect, users can easily control appliances through their Smartphone or Tablet. Next to that, external partners like Homey can integrate the Home Connect API, creating even more ease of use and value for users. More information on Home Connect is available at www.home-connect.com.

About Athom

Athom is founded in 2014 by Emile Nijssen and Stefan Witkamp. The Athom team consists of 15 highly skilled engineers and professionals who work on the development and distribution of Homey. Together, we want to make technology simple, usable and fun – for everyone. Homey has been a success on Kickstarter and is now available at multiple retail locations including Amazon and the Dutch Media Market, and via www.athom.com. A curated overview of devices that work with Homey can be found at TalksWithHomey.com/.

 

Automate Asia Team

Source: Athom Homey

 

 

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There's always been a talk about connected coffee machines, washing machines, dryers, ovens and fridges. To remove human hands entirely from the equation and delegate these tasks to a machine is quite impossible as you always require someone to put in the coffee beans, manage the clothes, put in the chicken into the oven before the connect appliances do their job, not to mention the human required to clean up afterwards.

However, connected appliances make life slightly better by taking away the presence of human at the time it should operate, in specific mode or settings. That being said, a connected appliance is only as smart as the presets that are configured in owner's mobile app.

A picture of home owners waking up to the aroma of coffee is always being portrayed. Yes, you may a schedule on the app to wake you up with the coffee aroma everyday but what about the days you are not in town? You may whip out your phone to start the oven on your way home or get notified of your washing machine's cycle. But what if you can have the oven started the moment you head home, or have the lights change colour and your speakers announcing when the washing machine is done?

A real smart home is one that do not require constant changing of settings and fiddling with your phone. You need a hub and voice recognition to achieve that, so here's the real deal.

Homey partners with Home Connect

Homey, the smart home platform developed by the Dutch company Athom, integrates Home Connect from now on. Back in Netherlands, this is announced by Athom and BSH Home Appliances, the companies behind the products. The partnership adds the home appliances of brands such as Bosch and Siemens to the popular Smart Home Platform Homey.

New possibilities

“The integration between our devices offers a lot of interesting new possibilities to users”, states Stefan Witkamp, Commercial Director of Athom. “Through Homey Flows, your dishwasher can automatically turn on as soon as you get to bed, while the rest of your smart appliances are turned off to save energy. Home Connect devices can also be used in harmony with the thousands of other products Homey supports, including TVs, stereo systems, lighting, switches, solar panels and more.” “You can use these combinations for notifications, but also to combine comfort and energy management in the best way possible”, adds Emile Nijssen, Creative Director. “Imagine your washing machine which starts when your solar panels start collecting energy, but ensures to be ready before a set time”. “With Home Connect, we are actively searching for local and international partners in order to add value to the consumer within their household. As Homey already takes a central position within the connected household, they are a very interesting partner for Home Connect”, according to Luuk Brinkman from BSH Netherlands.

Open platform & API

Integrating Home Connect was relatively easy by merits of Homey’s open software platform, which works similar to a smartphone OS. The good and stable API of Home Connect further supported this process. The API allows external parties to work on BSH appliances with Home Connect. These past months, the two companies collaborated to integrate their open systems, and are more than content with the results: “This is a joined step towards a shared vision”.

Bosch Experience Centre Singapore

Automate Asia, Singapore sole distributor for Homey is proud to have deployed Homey in Bosch Experience Centre in Singapore.

The integration of Homey and Connect Home Appliance truly enhances the experience of a smart home in this showroom. Users will be able to fully control the showroom solely by voice via the Amazon Echo.

All appliances in the showroom, including dimmable lights, air-conditioning, blinds, projector and TV are seamlessly integrated via Homey flows.

 The Homey app for Home Connect can be found here and it currently supports the Home Connect oven, dryer, dishwasher and coffee machine that is being featured in this showroom.

 

PS : This showroom is not open to public. Please do not contact Bosch to request for a demonstration. 

About Home Connect

Home Connect is the first solution in the world to allow home appliances from different brands to be controlled with a single app, and is a subsidiary of BSH Hausgeräte. With Home Connect, users can easily control appliances through their Smartphone or Tablet. Next to that, external partners like Homey can integrate the Home Connect API, creating even more ease of use and value for users. More information on Home Connect is available at www.home-connect.com.

About Athom

Athom is founded in 2014 by Emile Nijssen and Stefan Witkamp. The Athom team consists of 15 highly skilled engineers and professionals who work on the development and distribution of Homey. Together, we want to make technology simple, usable and fun – for everyone. Homey has been a success on Kickstarter and is now available at multiple retail locations including Amazon and the Dutch Media Market, and via www.athom.com. A curated overview of devices that work with Homey can be found at TalksWithHomey.com/.

 

Automate Asia Team

Source: Athom Homey

 

 

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