Part 1: How to Make my Apartment “Smarter” & Home Automation


This is a multi-parts article to cover my smart home project. I made my apartment smarter with the use of Amazon Echo and Samsung SmartThings in Canada. YES! this can be done in Canada. I can now control my lights, self alarm monitoring, and door locks remotely.

In Canada, we are very limited in the selections of smart home hardware compare to our neighbor in the US of A. I admit almost everything I picked up for the project is from the US. For Canadians, you can setup freight forwarding services like ShipiTo and you can ship your shoppings to them, they will group them together and forward them in one box to Canada for a fee.

What is “Smart”?

When we call a device smart, we believe the device has some kind of intelligence to perform certain actions for us automatically based on some preset programs. In another words, your programmable thermostat at home is technically “smart” as it can adjust the temperatures based on the time of the day. But as my title says, we want our devices to be “smarter”, and we want to be able to inter-connect these devices and get real time information on them. The most well known smart device would probably the Google Nest thermostat and Philips Hue because it can be controlled via our smart phones.

Components that I got for this project (which will expand as it goes):

Amazon Echo – for voice control
Samsung SmartThings Hub – the brain and inter-connect for all devices
Yale RealLiving Keypad Deadbolt – smart deadbolt
Sylvania Lightify Bulbs – good alternative to Philips Hue lighting system
SmartThings Motion Sensor – battery operated motion detector and temperature monitoring
Visonic Window/Door Sensor
Bosch Zigbee PIR motion detector
EcoPlugs wifi power socket – also known as Woods WiOn.

What about the different standards? Read on part 2