Solved! Help a novice set up a basic smart home

Dec 17, 2021
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I have a patchwork system that doesn't work well, and I'm trying to streamline and get some simple functions.

What we have:
  • Our computing is mostly Apple/Mac. We have iPhones, an iPad, and an array of Mac computers.
  • Our ISP is T-Mobile, and we're locked into their gateway modem/router. It cannot be set up in bridge mode. It has a bunch of stuff connected by ethernet, including desktop computers, VoiP phones, etc. It also broadcasts wifi
  • We have an Eero 6 connected to the router, and it's set up with a double NAT. It has zigbee hub functionality.
  • We have an Amazon Fire Stick in our crappy old Samsung "smart" TV.
  • Most of our smart switches are Tuya Wi-Fi (Gosund, Martin-Jerry, , but I have at least one that's something else.
  • Wyze Cams
What I Want:
  • A single app on my iPhone and/or iPad that controls ALL of the lights, and ideally the cameras
  • Automation based on my location and local weather
  • Scenes activated by a single button-push on my iPhone Home Screen--i.e. an app with a good widget for iOS, or that integrates well with the iOS shortcuts app.
  • Locally controlled (i.e. automation is done by a device in my house or on my phone, not by servers in Timbuktu).
  • Reasonable pricing for new devices (IMO, a light switch should cost $20-$30, not $65).
What I don't want/need:
  • A voice assistant
  • Multiple apps to control separate devices
  • A bunch of servers somewhere recording every time I turn the light on or off, and keeping track of when I leave my house
  • To spend a lot of money
I've been using the SmartLife (Tuya) app, which has most of the functionality I want. It plays nice with iOS, and does all the automations and such that I want. BUT, there were a couple of devices which aren't compatible. And while I considered replacing those, I looked into the Tuya company and wasn't thrilled with sending all my life data to them.

I'm willing to phase out the old Tuya switches for compatibility with a different app, and to get them off WiFi and onto zigbee (or something else). But before I start that, I want to make a deliberate decision about which way to go. Possible solutions I'm considering:
  1. I was intrigued by the Hubitat hub for its privacy, but the selection of compatible devices was narrow and costly. And I wasn't able to get a sense of whether it plays nice with iOS, allowing widgets and/or shortcuts.
  2. Some combination of the Alexa App, the Fire Stick, and the Eero. But I can't seem to link the Tuya switches to Alexa without going back to the SmartLife app. Plus, as far as I can tell, the only Alexa-iOS interface requires opening the app and/or using a voice-control widget. No tap-to-run, no integration with shortcuts.
  3. Similarly, the SmartThings app seems to require synching up with the Tuya app. Plus, when I tried that, the sync was wonky and a bunch of scenes were imported as devices, and so on.
  4. Getting a used Apple TV to use as a hub with HomeKit. Obviously, this would require phasing out the non-HomeKit devices. I tried setting up HomeKit with the iPad as the hub, but couldn't get it to link up with the Eero, which seemed odd. Plus, HomeKit devices are limited and pricey.
So, what's the least-costly and least-disruptive way for me to:
(a) Get it all on one app
(b) Control it on iOS with widgets and shortcuts
(c) Keep the data at home, or share it with as few companies and servers as possible
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator
Locally controlled (i.e. automation is done by a device in my house or on my phone, not by servers in Timbuktu).
Given what you want, this will be nearly (or completely) impossible.

The general concept is:
Device talks to your router via WiFi.
This then goes to the mothership.
Then down to your phone.
And the reverse.

Talking directly to the phone would be a single device at a time.
Some "hub" thing, or each individual light at a time.
But said hub would be talking to its mothership, by design.

Also, be cognizant of the recent AWS outages.
People were unable to control their light/doorbell/stereo/dog bowl.
AWS connectivity was out, and the device/hub could not connect to that subsystem.
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator
Locally controlled (i.e. automation is done by a device in my house or on my phone, not by servers in Timbuktu).
Given what you want, this will be nearly (or completely) impossible.

The general concept is:
Device talks to your router via WiFi.
This then goes to the mothership.
Then down to your phone.
And the reverse.

Talking directly to the phone would be a single device at a time.
Some "hub" thing, or each individual light at a time.
But said hub would be talking to its mothership, by design.

Also, be cognizant of the recent AWS outages.
People were unable to control their light/doorbell/stereo/dog bowl.
AWS connectivity was out, and the device/hub could not connect to that subsystem.
 
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