Smart Home for Newbie

If you know nothing about smart home and you want to learn about it the easy way, I will tell you how:

Just book an appointment with Amazon Smart Home Consultation.

Go to: http://amazon.com/smart and click on “Smart Home Consultation”.  I was able to schedule an in home visit the next day.

When the guy showed up, he showed me some products.  Then I was able to bombard him with questions like cost, standard, use scenarios.

My opinions include:

  • Smart homes stuff are expensive.  If you think you can reduce your monthly bill (electricity, gas, etc), you need to be creative. 
  • Smart homes may fetch you a better home selling price if done right.
  • The current 3 major players are Google Home, Apple Home Kit, Amazon Alex.
  • The lack of a universal standard makes it hard to integrate every devices easily.
  • Smart homes offer you some minor convenience, turn things (light, garage door, door, etc) on/off
  • Smart home is cool.  You can control everything in your house using voice.  The light setting, sound system, TV are all fun to play with.
  • The foundation of smart home is a wireless network that covers your whole house.  So you will need a good home wifi router or a good mesh network like Google Wifi or Eero.
  • If you want voice commands, then you can buy Amazon Echo / Dot with Alexa or Google Home.
  • Then you can get smart lights, home security stuff, TV, sounds, plugs, thermostats.
  • Note that every device likes to come with their own hub. 

Chime isn’t that Charming

I have been using GotoMeeting, Webex, Hangout, and Skype for group conferencing.  So when Amazon comes out with a video conferencing tool, I am excited to try…. until I see the pricing and features.

The pros include skipping of PIN and use of different devices (mobile / desktop) for the meeting.

 

Chime is available in three editions:

  • Amazon Chime Basic allows you make 1:1 voice and video calls, and to use chat and chat rooms, on all your devices
  • Amazon Chime Plus adds the ability for you to share your screen during meetings, and enables integration with your company directory
  • Amazon Chime Pro offers the full set of features for online meetings, including scheduling and hosting meetings, recording meetings, and personalized meeting URLs, for up to 100 people.

The basic edition should be FREE.  But it offers 1:1? no screen sharing?

Sorry, that kind of video conferencing solution may attract big corporation, but it is not charming any new budget users.