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What is Our Smart Home Project?

We wanted to install simple sensors and Internet-controlled switches so we can:
  • Control lights, switches, and our thermostat using our iPhones from anywhere
  • Switch our furnace on or off from the comfort of a warm bed (even if it's a wall furnace!)
  • Secure our house with door sensors, motion sensors and alarms.

How did we do it?

We chose to use Vera (getvera.com). It took a week to research the right system and parts, a week to have them shipped to us, and a few hours (spread over a week) to get everything installed.

We are writing this blog to share what we learned and how we did it.

Why we chose Vera

Among the systems we considered, Vera (getvera.com) offered the most functionality with no monthly service charge. Vera allows us to:
  • Sound an alarm when doors or windows are opened
  • Sound an alarm when motion is detected
  • View, pan, or tilt our security camera
  • Switch lights on and off based on a schedule
  • Change temperature set points or switch our wall furnace on
  • ... all from an iPhone, iPad or computer

It took some effort to get things going but it was not as difficult as we initially thought it would take. Vera offers packages that have pre-matched components, so 90% of the time they work right out of the box. For the occasional hiccup, a quick consult on the Vera online forums, or a trouble ticket with Vera tech support, was enough to smooth the bumps.

Curious about other systems we considered, and why we didn't choose them? Read our research on SimpliSafe and Lowe's Iris system

If you want a simple, integrated, extensible and fee-free home automation solution, Vera could very well be the best option for you. Here's our current setup:

Vera Shopping List

Have fun with your own Smart Home project! If you have questions or tips to share, please leave a comment below.

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