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Gixene

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 18, 2016
148
78
Indiana
MacRumors Community,

Note: I wrote quite a novel (I apologize). Part A is the story and Part B is relative information. Though reading Part A may allow you to better assist.

Part A.

Approximately two months ago, I introduced home automation. I purchased a Philips - Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 LED Starter Kit - Multicolor, 3 of those bulbs in the bed room and 1 of those bulbs in the common room. I also purchased 2 Philips - Hue Lightstrip Plus Dimmable LED Smart Light - Multicolor placed behind the common room television. I absolutely love it! If you’re reading this far, you know how convenient Philips Hue is.

Regardless, I plan to implement more Philips Hue throughout the home. Eventually all light fixtures, as well as including motion sensors, switches, plugs, etc. I know this is the more expensive brand (there’s many brands similar to Philips Hue), however I feel more comfortable paying a premium for an electronics company that has a reputation (after all, we are Apple consumers and appreciate reputation).

I plan to move in a home within the next year that I’ll be in for the next 20 years, approximately. Therefore, I also plan to invest into home automation in the form of home security, thermostat, garage door, light switches, blinds (If I truly go wild) etc.

For a 5 year anniversary gift from an employer, I was given the choice of approximately 25 items. I was leaning more towards an electric mop (sounds scary) or a gold plated lapel with the employer name and a few small diamonds on it (significant other said I’m lame if I had chosen that). Though I’m satisfied with our home wifi, the significant other feels differently (it’s AT&T’s middle of the road internet though I’d admit I need to investigate as it boils down to the internet wiring that is running to your home that limits the quality from what I understand). Therefore, the significant other usually disconnects from wifi once home. This creates an issue with controlling Philips Hue. Therefore, the significant other convinced me into choosing an Amazon Echo Show 5, which was one of the choices.

I will use a home assistant for all requests except for call, text and other personal services. I’m an honest individual, however I don’t want the significant other meddling in any personal communications (even in the reverse, I respect privacy) nor do I even feel comfortable relinquishing that ability, information, etc. to a home assistant but maybe I will become more trusting and comfortable in time. Nevertheless, Apple HomeKit only allows one user. Amazon Alexa requires each user to request Alexa to change profiles while Google can indefinitely the person by voice (if I understand correctly). I attempted to allow the significant other to create yet another account (significant other is already a household user of a relatives account) but does not wish to make changes as long as Alexa responds to basic requests and commands. Though significant other also is in charge of grocery shopping, so when an item is added to a shopping list via Amazon Echo Show 8 (it’s super easy when you are in the kitchen and run out of an item), only I can provide that list. I’m sure more issues will come of this. Plus, it seems the Echo Show 8 can control Roku which the significant owns and controls for both televisions and I haven’t convinced making the changes needed to control Roku via Alexa.

It was either an Amazon Echo Show 5 or Google Home as a gift from the employer (not to be confused with Google’s product with a screen). This was all fulfilled through BestBuy. I knew for sure I wanted to upgrade from the Echo Show 5, as the screen of the Echo Show 5 would be difficult to view from a far distance. Though I didn’t want to press any ‘luck’ asking for another brand such as an Apple or Google product. Since I technically didn’t have a receipt, only an email that proved I had ordered this item through a third party.

Therefore I went to BestBuy and asked to pay extra for the Echo Show 8, I even produced an state issued ID freely, immediately when I approached the counter. After a few employees went back and forth expressing issues with this request, one employee was able to fulfill this request. In fact, I was able to exchange it for any item in the store if I paid for more than the MSRP. That wasn’t said, but the fact that I received a legitimate receipt from BestBuy proves that. Plus, it was confirmed to be purchased from BestBuy.

Part B.

However, I’ve ran into a couple of hurdles in the few days of owning the Amazon Echo Show 8. First, I have a slight habit of calling Alexa by Siri (hope both ladies aren’t offended). I also was in the office today watering the plants I have there and wanted to remind myself to water the plants I have at home. However, I didn’t care for the fact that I had to access the Alexa application to request this and that, Siri would not remind me of this (I have primary an Apple household) and I have different Apple devices that could aid this request when I wish to be reminded.
Though I admit that I have had more positive experiences with Alexa than negative. The experience with the Echo Show 5 is more personal to say the least. With the visual screen it offers news, suggestions, digital time; it’s hard to explain. I feel in very in synch with Alexa.
Therefore, with the short time I have had with the Amazon Echo Show 8. I’m starting to wonder if I should return it (if BestBuy allows, as I have everything expect the plastic that surrounds the device) for a different product. Should I return it for an Apple HomePod or Google Assistant? I’m beginning to realize that whichever home assistant I choose, it will be the foundation of the future home automation I will build. Meaning, whichever home assistant I choose. I will likely purchase 1 - 2 more throughout the home soon and upgrade as significant design changes come to the consumer market. Are there shortcuts, workarounds, etc. that will allow Alexa to integrate with Siri and Apple (meaning I ask Siri to remind me to water the plants at 8 PM and Siri shares that with Alexa)? Or should I continue with Alexa until Apple releases a home assistant product similar to the Echo Show or Google Hub (with screens)? Or do I sacrifice the experience I would receive with an Echo Show or Google Hub with an Apple HomePod for better functionality in the ecosystem?

These are the questions I have and I know only the wonderful members of MacRumors have the best answers. Any other Apple users in this situation?
 

malcky77

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2019
47
13
You will get mixed answers from everyone here, purely because everyone has different needs.

I only got into the smart home stuff in April 2019 with the Philips Hue lights....within 2 months my entire house lights were changed to hue bulbs, added a stack of light strips in all bedrooms & in the kitchen, motion sensors in the kitchen, the hall both upstairs and down stairs and also in 2 bathrooms & the dimmer switches in all rooms too......spent a small fortune on it all and have spent a lot of time tweeting setting and times to get things just right.

My house is an entire Apple household....did not intend to happen, it just happens over several years...started off with the original iPad, then I get an iPhone, partner gets an iPhone, kids get iPads each, kids get an iPhones each, Apple TV's dotted about the house, Mac mini, MacBook Pro & 2 HomePods, so from 2012 with my first iPad to now...there is currently about 20 apple devices about the house.

So for me....the choice was already made as to what smart home platform/assistant was going to be used.....anything from this point forward HAS to be Apple HOMEKIT friendly. We don't actually use Siri for much other than for controlling the music on the HomePods and for lighting requests on occassion.

I then moved onto the smart heating side of things as I wanted to be able to heat any room individually as and when that room dropped to a certain temp. (The way my new build house is set up, it has 2 zones...the living room is 1 zone in itself and the rest of the house is another zone.....very stupid design in my opinion, meaning that if I turned on the heating because of being cold in 1 room, every radiator in the house would come on) So I put a TADO° smart radiator thermostat valve on every radiator in the house (except the bypass radiator) and have them all set to either 19°c or 20°c depending on the room between the hours of 6am and 10pm. I have to say, this set up is fantastic and works exactly how I wanted it to....its almost a fit and forget system too (there is batteries that need changed every 2 or so years apparently).

So it really boils down to what you already have in your house and what your likely to get in the near future.....but the main thing to make things as simple and as smooth running as possible is to make sure that anyone's significant parter is on board with the changes in the house.....or it simply will not work and be more hassle than its worth.

Your comment about Apple HomeKit only allowing 1 user puzzled me though.....because in the home app, you should invite all household family member to use it....and there also an option to allow these users to have remote access and also an option to allow these users to edit/add functions to the home too if you want them to.....I only allow myself to do the edit/add functions though.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2017
883
336
New York
Like Malcky77 said, HomeKit allows multi user support and since iOS 13, the HomePod does as well with voice recognition. After trying different platforms, I found the Apple stuff to have the best integration, especially in a household containing iPhones and iPads. Thusly, the HomePods were the logical choice. I also have a few wall mounted iPad Mini’s around the house using a generic iCloud account which are invited to my HomeKit home for Control. My ultimate goal is to have one wall mounted iPad Mini in each room with the room specific iPad constantly displaying the HomeKit Room it’s in as a master room controller for lights, shades, TV, HomePod, etc....
 

malcky77

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2019
47
13
@Itinj24 Can I ask how you have mounted the iPad mini's? Are they plugged in 24/7? is the power cable hidden inside the walls to a near by wall socket or is the power cable visible?

Would love to see a picture of one of your wall mounted iPads if possible too.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2017
883
336
New York
@Itinj24 Can I ask how you have mounted the iPad mini's? Are they plugged in 24/7? is the power cable hidden inside the walls to a near by wall socket or is the power cable visible?

Would love to see a picture of one of your wall mounted iPads if possible too.
This one is mounted in the hallway between my kitchen and foyer and right across from the staircase leading to the basement/garage. Yes it is plugged in 24/7. I am moving soon and knew that when I mounted it so I used a more temporary solution with cable raceway. Still looks pretty clean. I could’ve also use a horizontal approach then, run it down the wall moulding for that door you see but like I said, temporary. You can run the wire inside the wall which is what I’ll be doing in the next house. This one’s an iPad Air2 actually and that wall mount locks in the iPad with a manufacturer specific Allen key (the screw has a little recessed rod in the center and the Allen key has a hole drilled in the center so you can’t use any old Allen key). Figured that out when I needed to remove the iPad and searched my house for hours for that Allen key lol. The other plug module you see in the pic is for my August Connected Yale Assure Lock.


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Looks crooked in the pic for some reason but it is parallel with the door frame. On the iPad I have only the apps concerning my Smart Home stuff. You can have it open to any app you like and I usually have it open to HomeKit but with this home screen, you get weather and time.
 

malcky77

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2019
47
13
@Itinj24 Thanks for the picture.......and after some thought about doing this, I have decided I don't need to wall mount anything because every one in my house has an iPhone and an iPad, so there is always a controlling i-device nearby.
For me I would prefer to buy a couple more HomePods to dot about the house as myself and partner enjoy playing music when we are tidying the house up....which when you have 4 kids, 2 dogs and 3 cats.....is all the time. lol.

@Gixene Sorry for changing the subject of your thread.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2017
883
336
New York
@Itinj24 Thanks for the picture.......and after some thought about doing this, I have decided I don't need to wall mount anything because every one in my house has an iPhone and an iPad, so there is always a controlling i-device nearby.
For me I would prefer to buy a couple more HomePods to dot about the house as myself and partner enjoy playing music when we are tidying the house up....which when you have 4 kids, 2 dogs and 3 cats.....is all the time. lol.

@Gixene Sorry for changing the subject of your thread.
Yeah, this HomeKit stuff is my hobby so I’m always looking to integrate more accessories. Definitely wasn’t necessary to install the iPads but they were actually old ones that are being reassigned a new role. Still want to eliminate switches and use wall mounted iPads in every room. That’s last on the priority list though.