I’ve really gotten into the whole Google world of home automation and am looking into that further over homebridge. That said I’ve asked questions on their forums before around AirPlay and possible integration with Chromecast, but apparently that’s not what homebridge does (I want to setup a virtual chromecast which re-broadcasts to a physical AirPlay device).
While it’s not quite the same, my experience so far seems to be that all the devices that “works with” Google/Alexa actually maintain their own back end but allow Google/Alexa to send commands to that back end meaning I’m still reliant on those providers (and their services) to be in place forever, not an ideal place to be.
Personally I hate ‘smart bulbs’ since they remove all physical controls. I want to be able to walk into a room and hit a switch and have the light turn on/off. I also want to be able to yell at the air and achieve the same (a smart app that is also state aware would be very nice too). That means smart bulbs are out (I do know they have some controls through the physical switch, but once it’s off you’re boned). WAF is lower on these units
I’ve just picked up some cheap WiFi light switches for about $25 each that should do what I need, although they will require re-wiring the switching in the walls since they need permanent power and neutral lines. I have a few to test which I want to do on a bench before I bring in an electrician to do the actual work. I want to make sure that the apps and voice control actually work how I want otherwise I’m left with a bill for what are essentially pretty touch sensitive light switches. Either way I will still be stuck with whatever apps and backend the makers have chosen.
I’ve got a couple of Broadlink smart devices, one RM Mini 3 and one RM Pro +. These are IR controllers (the latter also provides RF) so you can get them to control your IR Air conditioner (although the stock remote is not state aware which breaks one of my control requirements). The Pro+ brings in the potential of controlling some RF power sockets I have in use, this means I can control them from the app OR the physical remote, the issue at the moment is that I can’t seem to get the RF devices to work using voice over the google devices for some reason. Maybe this is a limitation of the iOS app vs the Android one all the walkthroughs I’ve seen are using… I need to grab a cheap android to play with.
I’ve got a couple of Brilliant branded smart sockets from Bunnings for about $20 each. These are 100% app (and now voice through google) controlled so again I’m breaking my own rules by not having physical controls. These are installed in my fish tank for the tank lights and an overhead light, they are set on a timer to go on/off on a schedule, but I can also just yell at the air to turn things on/off which is pretty handy (mostly nerdy). In theory I could turn on the overhead light which provides enough light for the kids to walk back to their beds at night (past the fish tank) then turn it off again without leaving my nice warm bed. I say in theory because one of us always ends up getting up and walking them there anyway Not having physical controls hasn’t been an issue just yet since it’s mostly timer based, although I don’t know if the timers require an internet connection to work or if they have an internal clock. Having a pretty stable internet connection means it’s not something I have really considered yet.
What I really should be looking at a single standard like Z-wave or Zigbee where devices themselves are less smart and are controlled locally by a hub with the smarts. This should mean that internally things always work without an internet connection, although from what I understand google/alexa/siri all need to bounce off a server somewhere and then come back to take an action. In short, a brand name solution with a known back end it probably the far far better option…. He says while testing a bunch of unrelated things.