Paul's smart home diary, the internet sensation of late February to early July 2016, is making a comeback. Yes, I know in the headline I specifically state, "Don't call it a comeback," but let's face it – it's been away for a while and now it's returning… it can't really be described as anything else.
Originally posted on a weekly basis over on The Ambient's big sister site, Wareable, the smart home diary – in case you need reminding – took us through the trials and tribulations of one man's quest to build up his humble abode into a more smart one.
Actually, it wasn't so much humble as an absolute shit-heap. Look up "fixer-upper" in the dictionary and there's a picture of what my house looked like in early 2016. That's not actually true – 99% of dictionaries don't even have pictures; I'm just trying to explain that my house, for the first few months that we owned it, was essentially a building site.
However, that presented a unique opportunity – to carefully plan out exactly what I wanted from my smart home tech and the most effective way of getting that. I could bury ugly cables, sensors and hubs behind un-plastered walls and below exposed floorboards, and I could consider building materials and their effects on Wi-Fi coverage, right from the off.
I talked a lot about Ethernet cables. A lot. If you like Ethernet cables, you're in for a treat if you plan on reading the series now to catch up. (If that's the case the obvious question is what were you doing from late February to early July 2016?)
But, nearly two years on from that series, a whole lot has changed in the smart home world – and not just the launch of the web's new authority on the subject (by which I mean The Ambient, this site, the one you're reading right now).
The smart home isn't an early-adopter's hobby any longer – it's a bonafide mainstream consumer tech market. When was the last time you went round a friend's house and they didn't have either a smart speaker, a Wi-Fi security camera, some connected lightbulbs or, more likely, all three?
As such, the level of innovation in the market has dramatically improved and two years in the smart home world is a long time. There is a lot more on offer now than there was back in 2016 – everything is much, much easier.
However, some things have stayed the same, most notably the need for a decent home network and a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. In the next few weeks I'll be referring back to my initial smart home blueprints; having a look at what I got right and what still needs improving on the networking front. And I'll also be taking a look at some of the devices and ecosystems I opted for back then, and considering the alternatives on offer to me now.
It promises to be one heck of a ride. I can't guarantee the dizzy heights of the original (the second album is always difficult) but I'll do my best. Stay tuned…
The original smart home diary
- Week 1
- Week 2
- Week 3
- Week 4
- Week 5
- Week 6
- Week 7
- Week 8
- Week 9
- Week 10
- Week 11
- Week 12
- Week 13
- Week 14
- Week 15
- Week 16
- Week 17
- Week 18
- Week 19