An Overhaul of the Smart Home

It's over 15 years since I decided it would be fun to have a 'smart' home. This was long before easy to use products like the Amazon Echo and Samsung Smart Home had been thought of. In fact, if you wanted a smart home in 2008 there was a lot of DIY involved.

I've posted about this before and our smart home has evolved over the years as technology has improved. But generally it has been just evolution - adding this, upgrading that, but no major changes. And, most importantly, the central program that runs our smart home has been the same for most of the 20 years.

Until 2023. I had noticed that the program, HomeSeer, was looking dated and most of the upgrades seemed to make it look more dated. Added to which, as new products came onto the market, HomeSeer often didn't support them. I felt we were getting left behind.

After much soul searching, I decided it was time for a change. I had a lot invested in HomeSeer - not just money but also hours and hours of work - and I didn't want to end up in a worse position. So I took my time, checking out what was available, and putting together my lists of pros and cons.

I worked out which features mattered most to me and set about my desk research over the summer. I have hardware from a range of companies so I discounted all systems which tied you into a single company. I also want to minimise the use of cloud services, keeping control local. If access to the internet goes down, I don’t want our smart home to become dumb. And there needs to be a good logic engine at the heart of it: a way of telling the system ‘if this happens, do that’. This is the fundamental building block of any smart home.

In the end I chose Homey. As well as satisfying all the items on my wish list it has the added benefit of being European: the company is based in the Netherlands. The support for European hardware - including UK hardware - is stronger because of this, which is a good bonus.

Homey Pro

Homey's hardware is based on the Raspberry Pi CM4, a tiny single board computer developed in Cambridge and assembled in Wales, so that I'm supporting UK industry too.

The transfer across from HomeSeer to Homey was fairly straightforward. I completed it over a couple of weeks almost without a hitch. A small number of my existing devices don’t work with Homey and I had to buy suitable alternatives but other than that the transition was painless.

Four months on, did I make the right choice? Absolutely. The new system is head and shoulders above the old system. It supports all of our hardware, is fast and responsive, has an intuitive interface and has a very powerful logic engine under the bonnet.

Honey’s intuitive interface - also available in English

Having moved to Homey I’m sure it will serve us well for many years.