Interested in Smart Home Integration?

Have you been looking to get into a smart home?  I’ve been researching smart home integration for a while now.  Today I saw that the Smartthings hub was half off at Amazon ($50) and jumped all in.  Check it out!

At $50, this is a pretty awesome deal!  This is the newest version of the hub, so you are getting the latest hardware and software for the hub.  Compare this with the latest Wink Hub 2 at $89 and you are really getting a great hub for a an awesome price.

Based on my research, I like the Smartthings hub over Wink in general because it is open source and has many more personalized smart integrations.  I’m not afraid to experiment to try and find the best solution.  With a large community, I can find a solution for virtually any use case with Smartthings.  In comparison, the Wink hub is more tightly integrated, so it is a simpler plug and play solution.  The other difference is that the concensus is that the Wink app is prettier and more user friendly than the Smartthings app.  It’s a matter of personal preference, but if you are a tinkerer, the Smartthings hub is an awesome option for you!

Uses for the Smartthings Hub

I already have some plans in mind for the Smartthings hub.  One of the main features of the hub is smart security.  However, I have a wired alarm system.  Doing some brief research, I did see that there was a solution for integrating a wired alarm system to the Smartthings Hub, turning it from a dumb system into a smart system.

One of the Smartthings users created a DIY home solution for himself which he made into simple kits for the rest of the community.  His conversion kit is called Konnected Security.

Konnected Security was exactly one of the solutions that I was looking for.  I didn’t want to purchase an entire new alarm system when I had one that worked perfectly.  But I also wanted more control over my own monitoring.  I couldn’t find a similar solution for the Wink hub, but this fit my needs perfectly for Smartthings.

The Konnected Security conversion kit starts at $49, which I think is a very fair price to convert my existing alarm system.  One of the other benefits of this conversion is that it will go over to wifi.  This means that if you rely on your alarm system calling your monitoring service over a telephone line, you will no longer need that telephone line.

Beyond the home alarm system, I can have smartthings integrated with my wemo lights, alexa, my nest smoke alarm, and ecobee thermostat.  If I decide to add smart locks in the future, the hub will allow me to control my locks remotely.

A vision of the future would consist of my smart alarm automatically detecting when I come home, disarming the system, while my lights turn on and my temperature automatically adjusts to my comfort level.  I can relax and turn on a movie on my plex server.  The hub will detect my movie playing and dim the lights.  As I get ready for bed, I can quickly check my door and window sensors and make sure everything is closed and locked.

I’m really excited for the future!

Check out the Smartthings Hub Now!

Sim Only Vs. Contract Mobile Phone Deals

A long time ago, mobile phones were just bricks with a dial tone. However, phones have evolved so much with about 93% of people living in the UK now using smartphones. By the end of last year, there were more than 37 billion minutes of calls and about 25 billion texts sent. But when you are making all these calls and sending texts, do you think that it could be possible to save money on your current phone deal. Well, grab a seat and listen up, you might want to hear this.

First, there is a broad range of mobile phones that can meet your needs and are now within your budget. Luckily, it is not only the phone itself you can choose either. With world-class brands available including LG, Apple, Samsung galaxy, Windows and much more, you will most likely find something that meets your tastes. Secondly, there are two ways of managing your costs; pay as you go deal and a monthly contract.

The package that will work for you

The package that will suit you will depend on factors like how much you use your phone and what is your intended purpose. Pay as you plan will suit you if you do not make many calls or send many texts.

If you are among the people who check their phones immediately after waking up in the morning, then you probably need to decide what contract will suit you better. To decide on which contract to go for, you will need to look at the following advantages and disadvantages.

SIM only

For a SIM only deal, you buy the SIM but not the phone. You usually get a package with minutes for calls, data, and texts for a monthly fee. This is useful if you have a phone but want better deals on minutes, data, and texts.

Advantages

  • Freedom to choose – In this deal, you are not tied to any mobile provider since the contracts are short (30 days). So you can swap the agreement easily.
  • It could cost less – This deal is cheaper in the long run because you are not paying for the expense of a handset.
  • Less rigorous credit checks – Your credit history will be reviewed before you sign a contract, but it will not be as far-reaching as that of a contract deal.

Disadvantages

  • Phones are costly – Purchasing a phone on its own can be very expensive, especially if you want a phone loaded with high-quality features.
  • You can be locked in – You will have to unlock your phone if it is tied to a network that is different from your SIM.

Contract phone

If you opt for a contract phone deal, you sign an agreement for a period. This is usually 12 months, and a fixed fee is paid every month. In return, you get your preferred phone, texts, calls and data each month. This option is valuable if you want to get your favourite phone.

Advantages

  • Free phone – Technically it is not free since you will pay for it in your monthly payments. Either way, this is one method of getting your preferred smartphone such as the latest Samsung galaxy with no upfront cost.
  • No hassle – Here you are in a contract, and if you finish your allowance you are not cut off, and you do not need to remember topping up your credit.
  • Free gifts – Some providers give gifts and depending on your luck it can be a clincher. Gifts can be phone accessories such as hands-free headsets; you can even get premium deals with unlimited access to digital music.

 

Disadvantages

 

  • You are tied up – In this deal, you have to stick to a particular network provider, usually up to two years. This can be a long time if the services are poor or when you are craving for a new phone.
  • Thorough credit checks – You will undergo intensive checks on your credit history, and if it is not pleasing, you might not get the contract after all.
  • Exhausting your allowance – You will not have to worry about finishing your minutes, but in case you go over your monthly limits you will incur very high charges