While my draft Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) is out for consultation I wanted to talk another related project I have been working on; trying to make my home a little smarter.
Before we moved into our house I daydreamed about the kind of ‘smart’ things my house would do. So when we moved in there was obviously a purchase I needed to make straight away; I got myself a Nest thermostat. The house had no thermostat at all, meaning that I would have to control the heating by punching the boiler’s clock guessing when I’d need the house heated. Now I am able to program my heating either directly through the thermostat or through its mobile app; meaning on a chilly day I could switch the heating on while I head home, or make sure it isn’t heating while I’m away.
The real value however is its ability to be part of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). IoT is a data exchange network of connected devices, software, and sensors allowing data from one influence another. For example I have been using IFTTT to allow my house to speak to me.
IFTTT (If this then that) is a simple automation service allowing products, sensors, and services to trigger actions. For instance, since setting it up last week I have set up a number of recipes:
I currently have the following recipes set up using smart devices in my home.
- If (Nest Thermostat Temperature > 24°c), then (let me know)
- If (Nest Thermostat Temperature < 15°c), then (let me know)
- If (Nest Protect Battery Level = low), then (let me know)
- If (I’m near by house), then (turn on mobile wifi)
I also have the following recipes set up using data from outside of my house.
- If (Time = 07:00), then (report the weather forecast)
- If (Time&Date = Monday, 21:00), then (remind to put the bins out)
- If (Weather = Rain), then (let me know)
In a moment of
genius madness, I decided that the best method of having this information exchanged was over twitter, meet Ty Crempog (@TyCrempog):
After joining twitter last week, my house has already gained 16 followers, and has automatically sent me over twenty tweets including daily weather reports, a reminder to put the bins out, and this message to let me know my living room was getting quite warm.
I hope to expand its ability by integrating other smart products and services when I deem their automation useful. For instance, I’m going to be getting myself a Phillips Hue starter set this week and using IFTTT to set up a few automations such as having my hall lights switch on at sunset.
The most important thing for me to consider is the value and risk of automation. I could for example have my living room temperature tweeted every degree change, but that doesn’t provide any value and would allow someone to see when I am not home. So for now I will stick to trying to improve my home, one smart choice at a time.
So now that I have had my respite, let’s find out how my Employer’s Information Requirements fared following it’s review…