Wigwag, Ubi, Nest Protect pieces of the home automation puzzle

Some of you may remember that I have plans to automate the new house. When I discovered Wigwag on Kickstarter and became a backer, I pretty much abandoned the Micasaverde Vera-based system I was originally going to go with for home automation duties. That was seven months ago which is ages in the home automation industry now. Things are changing so rapidly and new products are coming on the market all the time. Many offer unique features to set themselves apart like voice control from the Ubi but they also have a lot of overlap in terms of functionality. How do you face the challenge of assembling a home automation system that truly simplifies your life instead of driving you nuts with complexity and cost?

First, a quick comparison:

Wigwag Sensor BlockWigwag GlowlineUbiNest Protect
PurposeGeneral home automation, sensing the environment and execution actions.Controlling RGB or single-color LED strip lights.The “ubiquitous computer”. Voice recognition. Performs voice commands.The smoke detector re-invented for the 21st century.
SensorsMotion, Sound, Ambient light, Humidity, Contact closure, Vibration, Temperature, ButtonMotion, Ambient lightSound, Ambient light, Temperature, Humidity, Air pressureSmoke,
Carbon monoxide,
Heat,
Activity(3),
Ambient light,
Humidity
OutputsAnalog & digital I/O, RelaysRGB LED strip lightsVoice, Control various other devicesVoice, RGB LED light
Connectivity6LoWPAN6LoWPAN802.11 WiFi802.11 WiFi
These are four main devices that I plan on using in my home automation system. You can see that there is some overlap between all of them – they can all sense motion and light, but each has a specific purpose. The state of the industry right now is that there are so many new devices, many of them doing the same or similar things. How do I avoid wasting money on redundant devices? The answer is to carefully choose each device for its intended purpose and strengths.

For instance, if voice control is one of your primary objectives, purchase an Ubi. You can get voice control working using your phone and the Wigwag, but you’re likely going to run into some limitations like having to pull out your phone, unlock it, and press a button to speak a voice command. With the Ubi, you simply say “Ok Ubi” and speak your command.

Sure, you may have to invest in multiple devices that do some of the same things and you might end up just not using some features but it’s a small price to pay to get the type of automation features that were once not even available in super expensive high-end systems. Just don’t buy two devices that have the same primary purpose. Once I realized that the Wigwag system could totally replace the Micasaverde Vera, I decided to drop the Vera.

The home automation industry is moving so fast that my plans could change before we’re ready to purchase all of this stuff. I’ll keep you updated.

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