SHCC WYSIWYG Article from January 2018

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the January 2018 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Home Security and Thermostats

by Don VanSyckel

I've been looking at home alarm systems and thermostats. I guess it's a sign of the times, many of these have connectivity via your home WiFi and some have built in cellular connectivity. Most offer remote control via a web site accessible from your PC or from a dedicated smart phone app. My neighbor tells me his garage door opener can be statused and controlled remotely. Then there are refrigerators that have cameras in them so you can, supposedly, check out your supply of stuff while you're at the grocery store. Hopefully you never park a tall or big item in front of the camera. I've also seen advertised door locks that can be remotely monitored and controlled.

There are other home automation systems such a X10 and Zwave products that offer most of the features on the individual products listed above but in one integrated system. The issue or possibly more accurately my reservations about these systems is that most are not controlled or accessed by you directly. Most only 'talk' to the manufacturer's web site and you 'talk' to the same web site. You get the illusion that you're communicating directly but you're not. So what, well companies come and companies go, so what happens if the manufacturer of one or more of your products goes out of business? What happens to the web site that you're dependent on? Possibly another company will take it over but I would bet that in this case a fee would be involved. Can anyone spell Edsel or Hudson?

Another 'feature' of most of the new systems is they're totally dependent on batteries. Granted some system / battery combinations can run several years before requiring a battery replacement. They still need replacing.

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