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Athom Blog

The official blog by Athom, creators of Homey

Running your Family with a Smart Home

Posted on May 18, 2018 in Homey Stories

Our blogposts often revolve around all the awesome stuff you can do with Homey. From your own home cinema to cool use cases with any array of smart home devices. However, for this edition of Homey Stories we’re visiting Mirjam and Dave. They’re raising their kids in a smart home, with the help of Homey. And, even though there is some home automation in place dedicated to the cool and fun stuff, most of their smart home devices are tailored to help manage their family life.

Family members include: mother Mirjam, father Dave, sons Luuk and Noa and their dog, Ollie. When the youngest, Noa, started primary school six years ago, they moved into a bigger home. Complete with a garden and an attic. This was something completely different to their apartment in the city center. 

A hit

A few years ago, Dave’s brother gave the family a Philips Hue starter kit. The lamps proved to be a big hit with the family, especially in the bed- and living room. The boys absolutely loved the changing colours and it felt futuristic to turn on the lights through a mobile application. 

philips hue as a start to home automation

As the boys both went to primary school, Mirjam and Dave both started working again full-time. Luckily, they both work close to home, so they take turns in picking up the kids from school and taking Ollie for a walk. This was fine for the time being, but as the kids grew older and older, Mirjam and Dave felt overwhelmed by managing four schedules at once.

“By pure coincidence I found out about Homey.” Dave explains. “I wanted to get a couple new Philips Hue lamps, I think, and through some website recommendations I stumbled upon Homey.” And that’s when it started. Homey seemed to be the answer to a few hiccups he and his wife encountered in raising their boys. “I added the Homey to my webshop basket, and decided I could always return it if we didn’t like it.”

Night lights

It seemed like an obvious decision to turn your smart lights into night lights. Noa was up constantly in the middle of the night and would wake up his parents if he had to go to the bathroom. After a father-son talk, they found out he was scared in the dark.

Time to set up a smart lighting system. With Homey, the family is able to turn on the lights automatically at night. After a few weeks of testing, they noticed the lights helped out a lot. “However, now we had a new problem. Philips Hue lights aren’t the cheapest, and the idea that the lamps would be turned on throughout the whole night felt like a waste of energy.” Mirjam tells us. So they got a motion sensor in the hallway, and a set of KlikAanKlikUit bulbs. That way, a cheaper lamp is turned on only when it needs to be on.

smart home met kinderen

The Philips Hue lamp was retired to the dining area, where it sets the mood with its colour changing capabilities during dinner. A proud Luuk announces he made the dinner Flow together with his dad.

Child centric

Convinced by the potential Homey’s connectivity showed, Dave and Mirjam decided to look for smart home gadgets that are child-centric. Or in any case, smart home gadgets that they could make more child-centric with the help of Homey.

They bought a few smart plugs to control the devices their children use. “They’re at an age now that they can be home alone for a few hours. Based on their presence we can turn on certain devices for them, so that they don’t have to get close to the power outlets or have to fight us about how long they’re allowed to watch TV.” 

smart home met kinderen

And, trying not to be uncool parents, when Luuk brings one of his highschool friends over, the timer is – of course – turned off. On the topic of school, the couple recently found the Magister App for Homey. That way, Mirjam and Dave always know what’s going on at Luuk’s school.

Chores

The smart plugs they bought proved to come in quite handy in a lot of different situations. The couple created various Homey Flows that report different things. For example when the dishwasher is ready. “Everyone has their own set of chores. Luuk gets a message on his mobile phone once the dishwasher is done, so he can unload it.” Dave takes care of the washing machine and tumble dryer, and Mirjam takes on a few remaining tasks. “Such as watering the plants. I get a reminder every other day.”

They seem to repurpose a lot of their devices to fit their needs. Instead of just turning appliances on or off, their smart plugs report and notify family members. Lamps set the mood, but are also used as visual alarms, night lights and to notify somebody is ringing the doorbell. Dave works in advertising, and is especially fond of the creative potential Homey brought to their household. “A lot of things from different brands can work together, that opens up a lot of possibilities!” Their home has a very minimalistic aesthetic. “Homey fits right in. No cables, just wireless technologies. That way we can do whatever we like, without having to make a compromise interior-wise.”

Peace of mind

The couple claims to have had a lot of peace of mind because of Homey. Even though they still have to consider and think about most smart home purchases they make, they have an agreement: As long as the smart home gadgets add to home security, it would be a worthwhile purchase. “At the moment we don’t have expensive automated blinds, or garage doors, or a sound system, but we do have a lot of security measures taken care of.”

fibaro motion sensor for security

They’ve taken a few of our security use cases to heart. Dave talks us through their version of a presence simulation, which we were asked not to explain, because he prefers to keep it secret, and shows us all the motion sensors and triggers in place to prevent burglars from getting into their home.

Future

When asked what they were planning on doing to expand their smart home in the future, both of them got excited about the prospect of having a slow cooker. “We’ve already ordered one. We hope that if we fill it up with the ingredients, and leave from work, we can turn it on remotely through Homey and a smart socket. That would save us so much time in the evening.”

“Oh, and it would be cool if Homey would support some garden devices for the summer. Perhaps lawn mowers,” Dave adds. We’re on it! 

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