Yet another offensively pointless First World problem
Oh the dilemma of choosing which colour of lighting shall illuminate my barely used kitchen today.
Ikea has just announced the entry of smart home technology into the mainstream with a new range of lights that can be activated by motion or smartphone app. The Trådfri lineup is quite extensive – four lightbulbs, three light panels, five cabinet lights, and four sensors/gateways – and is so far only available in the company's …
But interesting from the IoT aspect. Lots of people are converting to the method of running WiFi to different floors via the mains ring. I wonder how hard would it be to hack through that iOS app into someone's home networks (always assuming their WiFi password isn't as simple as 'password')?
Why are yanky switches and sockets so ugly and flimsy looking?
For only £1.50 you can get something like MK K4870WHI which looks and feels like a light switch should. Understated, with a smooth face, no grooves to collect dirt. Apple wishes they could design that.
There's nothing worse than waking up to a 2-pin socket and wide vulgar switch, to remind you that you're staying in a cheap French hotel.
Maybe if your existing switches were more aesthetic and ergonomic, people would be less inclined to replace them with a gimmick.
A presence switch that works with modern lights? I don't think you'll get it that cheap. The reason being presence switches work like dimmers, and many modern lights don't work well with dimmers (thus the label "non-dimmable"). You either need dimmable bulbs or presence switches designed for use with non-dimmable lights (those tend to be industrial-grade for use with fluorescent office lights--more expensive).
PS. As for being able to get up and flick a switch. there are handicapped people out there who CAN'T.
The reason being presence switches work like dimmers, and many modern lights don't work well with dimmers (thus the label "non-dimmable").
Not because they "work like dimmers", but the way those presence switches and dimmers are built the cheaper ones need a minimum, resistive, load. And LED bulbs (CFL too) are not resistive, and don't satisfy the minimum load.
PS. As for being able to get up and flick a switch. there are handicapped people out there who CAN'T.
Those who are disabled like that already have been using remote controls, fitted to their wheelchair or about their body on a lanyard, since they became available, decades before IoT.
I have had my kitchen, bathrooms and hallways wired for presence for 12 years now. It works. Saves money (both leccy and bulb runtime). Does not need an I Do IOT 85£ device from Ikea.
Quite a few years back, a place I used to work at had presence detecting lights in the men's toilets . The problem was the timeout was too short. If you were lucky enough to be left alone for a reasonable-sized shit, the lights would all go out. There were windows to the outside, but if it was 5pm on a January evening, you were stuck in the dark. The only options were to wait for someone to come in, or hike up your trousers, fumble about and unlock the door and make a quick dash out the cubicle to get the light on again, before scurrying back into hiding.
That's what I want. I want a building block that slots in nicely, is easy to switch out, doesn't phone home (not that I'm particularly singling out Ikea on this), and connects to just the stuff that we want it to. All the ancillary stuff to do with data collection and actuation (as well as the logic glue that holds sensor nets together) should be done in a secure manner using your own properly-firewalled home network subnet (and possibly a portal via a secure VPN for secure control when outside). All this stuff about connecting to some mothership can go stick its head in a pig.
Causing excruciating pain when you step on it barefoot is optional.
Exactly how does this benefit anyone... other than those rare beings called "hipsters" that want to control everything from their phone?
Well, there ARE some arguments for it. You could, for instance, ensure you really only have that one night bulb on and the rest is out - energy saving stuff (assuming the controlling computer doesn't use more energy than the bulbs), you can make the house look populated whilst away, you can push them all on in case of emergency and it's about the only signal you can send teenage kids wearing headphones that it's really time for bed (or text them :) ).
The issue is that it's generally a costly exercise. A standard LED bulb costs peanuts these days but one with remote control costs a LOT more because it's "new" and not sold in volume. IKEA putting its global purchasing power behind it may change that. Even if that just makes non-remote bulbs cheaper you win :).
"ensure you really only have that one night bulb on and the rest is out -"
Flicky switch on wall does that.
" you can make the house look populated whilst away,"
£2 mechanical switch does that for both lighting and the radio. In fact even better, most TV's these days have on / off timers. Looking at the house a night and seeing the flicker of a TV screen is going to be far more convincing than lights going on and off randomly in a silent house with no movement.
I have one better: iTeenager beta v3.
"While away iTeenager will make your home look populated. Would-be burglars with be thwarted by the amount of unwashed dishes strewn around the kitchen, all lights being left on late into the night and both the television and house sound system left on full volume. iTeenager completes the home security aspect with an occasional random teenager party*. Available now at a limited time (between 13 and 19)"
* Remember: the cost of all damages and lost valuable wine collections is YOUR responsibility.
Do you really believe crooks are so stupid they fear some light bulbs on? There are several creative and simple techniques they employ to know if someone is really at home or not. CCTV cameras and alarm systems are more effective - if they work correctly and don't become another issue themselves.
In case of emergency, you may *not want* to turn on all the lamps. In some situations, could be better to cut off the main power and activate specific emergency lights, which won't create more issues.
Still, with many light points I can understand the ease you can switch configurations, say from a "dinner" one with lamps on over the table, to another with more indirect, subdued lights for TV watching or music listening, with a single command (it would also need better lamps with a true continuous spectrum, but that's another issue)
But the last thing I wish is the need of a mobile phone and a specific app to control that - both I guess will become obsolete and unsupported before the lamp fails. Also, in larger home, you'll have to bring your phone with you everywhere (and sometimes you have not a pocket where to put it) - it's instead the home system that should tell me if someone is calling.
There could be other uses - for example in countries where roller shutters are common could be very useful to control them, especially when they are several. But again, it has to be a reliable system useful for years - and that doesn't match well the quick obsolescence of smartphones and apps.
"For values of "a while" that equate to "not yet" even after nearly four decades for Billy bookcases, and at least three for Ivar racks."
Billy bookcases might have the same name, but they have changed. Current Billy bookcase shelf supports are not backwards compatible. I found that one out last year.
"Do you really believe crooks are so stupid they fear some light bulbs on? There are several creative and simple techniques they employ to know if someone is really at home or not. CCTV cameras and alarm systems are more effective - if they work correctly and don't become another issue themselves."
Many crooks lack the tools to make effective checks. They're just lightning-raid burglars out for a quick score. You can't rely on the phone because many people screen calls through the answering machine first (so won't answer in any event). Knocking and any other physical test runs the risk of drawing attention of the neighbors.
"In case of emergency, you may *not want* to turn on all the lamps. In some situations, could be better to cut off the main power and activate specific emergency lights, which won't create more issues."
Those are infrequent, and in any event, just about anything that could make the mains dangerous could make the emergency lights dangerous, too (because they're also electric). The main reason you want the lights on is because it may be night or otherwise hard to see, and the main goal in these situations is to just get the heck outta there, which may be difficult in low-light conditions.
Those are infrequent, and in any event, just about anything that could make the mains dangerous could make the emergency lights dangerous, too (because they're also electric).
Proper emergency lights are battery powered, and do not pose additional fire hazards because of their mains connection (if they even have one). So if you have those you can cut the mains if you need to, which will make the mains-connected emergency lights come on. And emergency lighting is often a feature on upmarket smoke/heat detectors.
"Many crooks lack the tools to make effective checks".
Believe me, you don't need sophisticated tools. A piece of paper may be enough. Many burglars study and know well what they raid, especially when the target is valuable enough.
"could make the emergency lights dangerous, too "
No, because emergency lights are designed as such, using low power, low voltage lamps, for example. Also, if there is smoke, lots of lights on and positioned high will just make the situation more confused. And with fire or flood, it could be better to cut off the main power and rely on battery powered emergency lights.
"turn them all on in case of emergency"
I came home one night to find evidence of a break-in. I stalked around the house wielding a bottle of wine I'd just won in the pub quiz, switching lights on as I went. Once upstairs, I was down to checking the last couple of rooms when everything went dark. All I could think of was Private Hudson "What do you mean, "they" cut the power?!"
The fuse had blown.
Everyone who has ever tried to find one of those uniquely designed metal thingymajigs to fix their Ikea furniture knows that the company is its own self-contained universe. (Likewise just about every other Ikea fitting.)
You know, allen keys (aka hex wrenches) are not as rare as you seem to think :). I tend to use my own sets as they're made of better material and have a ball joint on one end. As for missing bits, go to their Customer Services - they have free spares.
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