Now that I’m a proud homeowner I have the opportunity to choose home automation solutions. I’ve said in the past that it’s too soon to do extensive home automation because the technology is so young… but it’s hard to take my own advice.

I’ve purchased two WeMo switches and a collection of Wireless Sensor Tags. These products have pleasantly surprised me. I’ve heard mixed reviews of SmartThings, and I was preparing myself to build all my sensors on a RaspberryPi or something similar, but then I saw how simple those Tags seemed to be. I have not been disappointed.

The water sensors seem to be reasonable priced, especially since they have both capacitive and resistive sensors, as well as Temperature sensors. The batteries should last 3-4 years. I bought the 5 pack, because I’m super paranoid about water leaks after some of my experiences and the shared horror stories of my friends.

The “open door” detector that lets me know (quietly) if the boys leave their room in the middle of the night was really easy to set up as well. I have that sensor doing double duty, it kicks on a space-heater through a WeMo insight switch when their room gets colder than a preset range. This way I can keep their room warmer at night than the rest of the house.

They have a very usable mobile app, but what I’m really surprised by is the power of their web based “Kumo App“.

App Interface My web browser speaks to me when events happen!

They actually offer a web-based IDE for their JavaScript-like automation scripting language. The documentation could use some more help, but I was able to create a simple custom script in a few minutes. Anyway, I’ve done DIY security systems before, and these tags are way better than I expected. The addition of a nice hosted scripting environment is icing on the cake. Not to mention they allow you to configure webhooks for integrating with other custom systems. They even allow you to configure calls to web-services on your local network. They also offer some nice out of the box integrations with a few other popular products, like WeMo, Nest, Dropcam, and Honeywell Lyric. Then there’s IFTTT support, which – while slow – is still useful for integrating with a much wider array of home automation products and services.

So, I have a lot of thoughts and plans for the future, but for my simple use cases right now I’m very happy. Eventually my home will have be full of all kinds of sensors like a space-ship!