Help creating smart home devices

Posted on
Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:07 am
petematheson offline
Posts: 810
Joined: Sep 14, 2014
Location: Southampton, UK

Help creating smart home devices

Hi All,

Been pretty quiet on here for the last year or so!

I’m in a very fortunate position right now - I sold my IT Business on the 5th March 2020. Yep, around 7 days before we (UK) went in to lockdown.

My plans to have 6 months of rest, holidays, quiet time well, haven’t quite gone to plan - but I can hardly complain with everything going on in the world right now.

One thought that’s come to me in my many hours of time at home was to look at either investing in, or starting a smart home company to design some smart gadgets that we could all still do with.

For starters. Mains double power outlets with built in Z-Wave, USB chargers and no ugly, bulky modules sticking out.
Light switches with built in Z-Wave switches that require no more knowledge than wiring in a traditional light switch.
Stuff like that, at least to begin with.

With that said, I’ve never run an electronics company before and I have no idea where to start in terms of designing the product, getting the Z-Wave technology setup and integrated with the switch and then of course manufacturing.

So I thought the best place to start my quest was to ask likely the most knowledgeable people first, before I look elsewhere.

It’d also be nice to see if you think there are any other products you think are missing from the smart home / Z-wave space. Or perhaps products that exist but in an awful form (like light switch dimmer modules and mains power modules). It’ll give me a list to work through at very least!

Hope you’re all staying well and safe


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Posted on
Sat Apr 25, 2020 12:38 pm
DaveL17 offline
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Posts: 5566
Joined: Aug 20, 2013
Location: Chicago, IL, USA

Re: Help creating smart home devices

I'll continue to rattle my saber for a plug-in energy monitoring device that *isn't* a switch (and isn't inductive). I think it would be great for keeping an eye on things that you'd never want to turn off--like sump pumps, fridges, or septic systems. My thought has always been something with roughly the same form factor as the Aeon Smart Energy Switch 6.

I think the biggest challenges in getting into this business would likely be the varying codes and requirements across different markets--stuff suited to the UK wouldn't work in the US--and what would be required to cover insurance for liability. But I confess that I have no idea what I'm talking about. :D

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Posted on
Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:02 pm
petematheson offline
Posts: 810
Joined: Sep 14, 2014
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Help creating smart home devices

I’d obviously focus on the UK first. Sort myself out of course
Good point though!
I picked up some plugs which have a setting that stops you from being able to switch them off, was great for using on the plug to a backup UPS and servers etc some cheap green energy plugs or something.


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Posted on
Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:01 pm
pocster offline
User avatar
Posts: 276
Joined: Nov 15, 2014

Help creating smart home devices

petematheson wrote:
Hi All,

Been pretty quiet on here for the last year or so!

I’m in a very fortunate position right now - I sold my IT Business on the 5th March 2020. Yep, around 7 days before we (UK) went in to lockdown.

My plans to have 6 months of rest, holidays, quiet time well, haven’t quite gone to plan - but I can hardly complain with everything going on in the world right now.

One thought that’s come to me in my many hours of time at home was to look at either investing in, or starting a smart home company to design some smart gadgets that we could all still do with.

For starters. Mains double power outlets with built in Z-Wave, USB chargers and no ugly, bulky modules sticking out.
Light switches with built in Z-Wave switches that require no more knowledge than wiring in a traditional light switch.
Stuff like that, at least to begin with.

With that said, I’ve never run an electronics company before and I have no idea where to start in terms of designing the product, getting the Z-Wave technology setup and integrated with the switch and then of course manufacturing.

So I thought the best place to start my quest was to ask likely the most knowledgeable people first, before I look elsewhere.

It’d also be nice to see if you think there are any other products you think are missing from the smart home / Z-wave space. Or perhaps products that exist but in an awful form (like light switch dimmer modules and mains power modules). It’ll give me a list to work through at very least!

Hope you’re all staying well and safe


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
This has been attempted - but they pulled the plug ( no pun intended) in the current situation. Can’t remember their name myDOQ I think ...

Posted on
Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:25 am
howartp offline
Posts: 4158
Joined: Jan 09, 2014
Location: West Yorkshire, UK

Re: Help creating smart home devices

Loving your ideas Pete, and of course you should focus on UK first; all the best Indigo customers live there!

You’re spot on with your target devices. The Greenwave Powernode 5 is the only multi gang Zwave device in the UK to my knowledge and their firmware decisions are poor.

The new Fibaro Implant and the Sensitive Strips door sensors are the smallest Zwave modules I know of; I don’t know which bit is the Zwave chip but if that could be integrated into eg the MK brand of light switches and sockets, you’re onto a winner.

Similarly a Zwave light socket, rather than a wired module before the socket, or a Zwave bulb, just a retrofit Edison/Whatsit socket.


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Posted on
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:24 am
Vangelis offline
Posts: 165
Joined: Mar 18, 2014
Location: Southampton (UK)

Re: Help creating smart home devices

Don't you have to belong to the ZWave Alliance to be able to manufacture ZWave stuff?

As for idea's - A reliable person tracking system. Similar to the Xandem RF Tomography I was banging on about a few years ago. This negates the need for iBeacons, PIRs, the extra logic behind keeping a light on in a room if the person isn't moving etc

I did reach out to Xandem to buy one of their eval kits but was told it was not in their interest, as HA wasn't their focus of partnership??? Personally I think they are missing a wide market (unless they are working with governments ;) )

Vangelis

Posted on
Wed May 27, 2020 3:16 pm
Turribeach offline
Posts: 291
Joined: Feb 06, 2015
Location: London, UK

Re: Help creating smart home devices

Good idea mate, good luck!

These are the devices I am interested on:

1) Mains double power outlets with built in Z-Wave, USB chargers and no ugly, bulky modules sticking out.
2) Light switches with built in Z-Wave switches that require no more knowledge than wiring in a traditional light switch.
3) Triple or quad relay switches with built in Z-Wave to control 3/4 lights at the time.
4) Rotary dimmer with built in Z-Wave
5) Dual touch dimmer with built in Z-Wave (similar to Aeotec's WallMote but mains wired and not detachable)

Posted on
Thu May 28, 2020 6:36 am
petematheson offline
Posts: 810
Joined: Sep 14, 2014
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Help creating smart home devices

Thanks all - discussions on going, with most of the work going into the research / design stuff. Once that's taken care of then manufacturing is fairly easy (AFAIK).
:)

Posted on
Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:54 am
Turribeach offline
Posts: 291
Joined: Feb 06, 2015
Location: London, UK

Re: Help creating smart home devices

And how could I forget about my Z-Wave enabled ringbell! :mrgreen:

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