>Many people who consider themselves "developers" appear to have a mindset that precludes them learning from other people's prior work.
That is a very common problem and its not at all new. But learning from others' work means developers should also take notice of the existing industrial ecosystems and standards. We've been connecting 'things' to networks for many years and a lot of the reinvention of these particular wheels comes merely from people who don't know what's available, what does and doesn't work and because they can't conceive of a programming environment that's not Web based. Industrial control and monitoring systems ("SCADA") are well known and there's any number of sensors and actuators around that communicate with the supervisory system and its associated firewalls. You don't need anything sexy for home use -- a PiZero would probably do but if the hub was built into an Echo that would provide the robustness and low power operation that's needed. The rest just comes from using published protocols. (If you're into IFTTT then PLC/open is the logical next stepl I don';t like it as a programmer but its a standard and its designed like IFTTT to be used by non-programmers.)