The lies and promises of House Automation

If you are tech-savvy it is very probable that you have already a few “smart” devices at home:

  • digital assistant (e.g. Amazon Alexa, Google Nest, Mini etc.)
  • music players (e.g. Sonos, )
  • lights (e.g. Philips Hue)
  • TV (pretty much all on the market)
  • appliances (e.g. coffee machine, fridge, etc.) (e.g. Jura, Samsung)
  • fire/smoke detectors (e.g. Nest)
  • power sockets with or without power measurement (e.g. Nous)
  • vacuum cleaners (e.g. iRobot)
  • actuators (e.g. Shelly)
  • doors, windows (e.g. garage doors)
  • security systems (many)
  • web surveillance systems (many)

“Smart” here means only that they are connected:

  • to a network via WiFi or
  • can be contacted directly via Bluetooth, a RF protocol  or some proprietary protocol.

This list is definitely not meant to be complete and there are many more producers on the market than what I wrote above. Maybe I shouldn’t give any example … I am *not* affiliated in any way with them.


Those who are really tech-savvy, probably have some degree of automation installed or want to install.

The promise

What is the incentive of doing Home Automation ?

Well, they promise to make your life easier, funnier, to give you what you need when you need.

Also to protect you, to warn you of dangers, of hardware that might damage if not made “smart” and many more.

Sounds like good promises, right ?


And this is where all the problems begin

There are some steps you must follow before starting:

  1. Decide on what you want to automate. Just have a look above …
  2. Based on 1) , choose one system or another:

                a) with a central hub (e.g. Philips, Homematic, Bosch, etc.)

Should you choose this one, it has as consequence that you should stick to it. It is going to be possible but expensive to migrate or to integrate other brands.

And here things are also complicated, because there are several protocols on the market, which these systems implement. I won’t go into this, because it is out of the scope of this article.


              b) without a central hub

This means that each system is connected to the network individually, and you must use some app or a browser to configure and control it.

Examples in this category are many: Shelly actuators, all smart power sockets, most of the smart lightbulbs, smart TVs, etc.

This gives you a lot of freedom, but comes with the consequence that you are expected to control each one of the device in particular. This means that you must install the app for each system or to add them under one hood.

There are ways to control most of them with one system, like Google Home, Home Assistant, openHAB, Domoticz and others.


The problems

The amount and complexity of the problems are dependent on the choices above.

I will address 2.b. because we are all geeks, right ? 🙂

The bad

The problem is that nothing works “out of the box”. There are multiple systems, multiple protocols, all made by different people or companies.

Everything works only if you dig into each one of them and see what you need to do in order to make them work.

But, do not think that if you buy a system with a central hub (2.a) there is no problem!

Also there are interoperability issues with the devices that you have already in your home, like smart TVs, smart phones, etc. So, not necessarily automation devices.

Last but not least, you never use “finished” software, you use a “banana software”, that is usually buggy, missing many features, has a rather bad usability.

If you use open source, then be prepared to even more bugs and missing features.


The good

There are a lot of websites, forums, Facebook groups, Youtube channels that address pretty much all these things.

Also the people are ready to help each other without judging too much. But be prepared to be made fun at and be criticized by some of more experienced (or not) people.



I don’t want to discourage you, but if you want to get into the home automation, you will need:

  • money
  • a lot of time !!! Really, a lot of time !
  • patience
  • technical knowledge in software (especially in Linux)
  • If you install hardware like actuators, sensors, motors, etc. then you better have a experience or a degree in electrical engineering

And the most important thing here is: know when to stop.

Some things are simply not there yet and you need to be patient and wait for the implementation to be made.



I will write soon about my own project of Home Automation: a lot of Shelly actuators, Home Assistant, smart plugs, Tasmota and many more …

© Copyright 2022 Sorin Mustaca, All rights Reserved. Written For: Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity

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About the Author

Sorin Mustaca
Sorin Mustaca, (ISC)2 CSSLP, CompTIA Security+ and Project+, is working since over 20 years in the IT Security industry and worked between 2003-2014 for Avira as Product Manager for the known products used by over 100 million users world-wide. Today he is CEO and owner of Endpoint Cybersecurity GmbH focusing on Cybersecurity, secure software development and security for IoT and Automotive. He is also running his personal blog Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity and is the author of the free eBook Improve your security .
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