on 10-09-2016 20:58 - last edited on 14-09-2016 14:41 by Toby
As a bit of a prologue to this review, I need to explain one morning in May this year, I was working at home when suddenly a bloke turns up with devices galore and refuses to let me undo the boxes, whilst being incredibly nice to me about my house and Lego collection. As he unwrapped boxes and plugged things in, he was cheerfully telling me all about how cool the equipment is. This was my idea of hell on a christmas morning. I've since tried to repress the whole sorry episode by playing with all the toys that arrived in my house six months ago.
Last week I received a letter - it said:
Dear Mr Doink of the Castle,
You always seem very comfortable in your home. Please can you tell me how you achieve this?
Lots of yours sincerely,
Mr Martin Hohohoho-Tú
So, to answer the question, I am using a pack from O2Home called O2 Home Comfort. It's £30 a month and available in areas around the UK. Controlled by the O2Home App and the Tado App, you can add more equipment as optional extras if you need them, such as contact sensors or additional plugs. I'd like to explore the contents of the pack a moment:
Very simple - plug them in and then plug into the Smart Plug your equipment. This can be as simple as a light or as complex as a TV. The smartplug can react to an event or simply monitor your energy usage. It can run on timers, delays and you can potentially even forget it is there. Not that I'd do that... oh no.
These are essentially motion sensors, identifying movement in the property. You connect these to events within your home, such as when you walk into a room or open a door.
(Truth be told, I might keep forgetting where mine are. I was amazed the other day when I remembered where one was and used it to make a programme up, not that this really did or did not happen...)
This is key to all of your O2Home experience. It comes with a mobile dongle as backup, should the internet be down when you need to be alerted to something. Underneath are USB sockets that are locked out, a LAN socket to connect to the internet, an on/off switch and power cable. I located mine next to my router, Tado Bridge and NAS - I like to keep things in the same places. I should probably buy a shelf for them soon...
It doesn't look attractive and most people will keep theirs all hidden away in a cupboard on the back of a desk, no doubt. But in my case, they're sat together. You can wall-mount the hub, I understand - I personally don't like putting holes in walls though.
Tado Thermostat and Bridge
The Tado System works in two ways - stand alone or through your Smart Hub. You can connect to the Tado directly through the App, which I have installed on my Windows, Android and iOS devices. If you use your phone, the app then uses your location to identify when you are approaching home and turn the heating on. You can see my bridge on the front of the NAS in the image above.
Using the Tado everyday
I have installed the App for the Tado on all the phones used by those who will independently enter or leave the house. Because we all use locationing on our phones, the Tado recognises when someone is in the house. Coupled with this, the Tado system will also run different programme types depending on the day of the week or days-type of the week (week or weekend). So, if you know that during the morning on a weekday you might be home but you want it to be cooler or warmer, you can set this in the App and then on weekends make it warmer or cooler depending on what your usual plans are.
The Tado can tell you precisely how warm it is by either pressing the button on the Tado Thermostat or by your app. It also links with your SmartHub to tell your O2Home app how warm it is and turn on the heating if required - however, to do some serious customisation, you'll need to use the Tado App. This isn't a bad thing though, as the App also tells you bits about your heating profile that you might not always want through the O2Home App. Apps should always stick with what they're good at and the O2Home app is good at controlling the home, the Tado App the heating. Simplicity, in this case, wins (and warms) my heart.
A huge advantage is that you're not heating the house when you're not there, saving you money. I'm going to be keeping an eye on this over the winter...
You can also turn on the heating manually, which means if you are going home and want it warm the moment you walk in the door, you can do this.
How I used a combination of devices.
I've got small children, so immediately I set to work putting a presence sensor in the hall way near their bedroom doors. I put a smart plug in a bedroom and attached a light to this, creating a nightlight. The next step was to build a programme. The key to making a good custom programme is to think what I want to do, then how I want it to be activated. So, I established a programme that turned on SmartPlug3 and turned off SmartPlug 3 after a 15 minute delay (Important if you don't want the light on all night). Next up, I activated this when the Hallway presence sensor detected motion and lastly, I set it to only work between 23:00 and 06:00, meaning that I can turn the hallway lights off when I go to bed.
SmartPlug in the front room
Sometimes you want a light on at Sunset and to turn off at midnight. So, placing a smart plug with a lamp in the front room, you can create a programme that turns the lamp on and off at times that suit you.
Turning on the tunes
In order to do this, you need a mobile phone with customised alerts and a presence sensor. Set the sensor up to detect when people are coming in the door and send an SMS alert to your mobile phone. Set your SMS notification sound to an appropriate tune. Some might use the Star Wars "Darth Vader" march, some might use "I want to break free" (Queen) but I use "Here come the girls" by Ernie K Doe. The girls come in and strut down the hall as the phone sings out loudly.
If you want to be comfortable and all within one system, this is a winner. Using Internet-connected devices, you can tailor your home to be as reactive as you want, keeping it warm for when you get home or simply keeping the kids feeling comfortable, reacting to their movement and turning on the light during the night whilst they head to the loo.
Comfort by name - it's certainly comfortable in my home now.
You can find the O2Home Comfort pack online at http://home.o2.co.uk
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on 12-09-2016 12:41
on 12-09-2016 13:12
thank you @Daddydoink
a good read, even though I will never be able to Smarten up my home in this way due to other committments on my limited, low income
thank you for information well presented
*possum si vollo* *per ardua ad astra*
I don't work for O2
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