Hi, I am Daniel and I run this blog together with my lovely wife. This DIY blog is where we document our family’s journey of building our own DIY smart home.
I am a mechanical engineer by profession and have always loved tinkering with gadgets. So when we bought our first home, I quickly got interested in home security cameras and home automation.
There are some common sense requirements we have from our smart home:
- It should work even if the Internet connection goes down or the manufacturer’s servers are unavailable, in other words it should not be Internet-reliant (also called local-processing capability)
- It should not store our data on the cloud, unless we choose to for backup purposes (also called local data storage).
- It should not cost us a monthly fee or force us to buy a subscription for core functionality.
Finding reliable and trustworthy resources to help decide which brands to go for, which features to look for and what to avoid is far more difficult than it should be.
The Internet is full of commercial blogs and websites that have hidden agendas and don’t really care about your needs and your wallet. If we had followed the so-called ‘smart home experts’ recommendations, we would have ended up with a mountain of stuff that doesn’t really work with each other and a hefty monthly subscriptions bill.
This is why we started writing this blog. We hope you find it useful and do get in touch with us if you have any questions. We are happy to help.
New to all this?
If you are new to the whole smart home and smart security camera world, first go through my beginner’s guides to Security Cameras and Home Automation:
Why insist on local processing and local data storage?
- A very popular cloud-reliant smart home platform, Samsung’s SmartThings, went down for a whole day recently and left users unable to turn on lights, lock or unlock doors and …. you know just generally very frustrated since their smart home had turned into a decidedly dumb home. Source
- One of the largest cloud-reliant smart lock platforms, Yale Smart Living, recently saw their platform fail for a full day. People were unable to arm or disarm their alarms, and it even left people locked out of or inside their houses! Source
- Surely Google and Alexa won’t be this unreliable, right? Nope, they too have suffered service blackouts. Don’t forget about the fact that they are always listening to you for the wake word.Source and source.
I can find many more instances of major cloud-reliant smart home systems failing or getting hacked. It’s simply a very bad idea – to turn on a light in your house, why should you have to send that command to a data center halfway across the world and then wait until the server processes the command and then send a ‘turn on’ command to your bulb. It is just silliness.
There is a place for cloud services, say for providing easy remote access to your smart home. But of course I wouldn’t rely on the cloud for even that. I run my own secure OpenVPN server on my QNAP NAS.
What are the core principles of this blog?
- We only recommend products and services we already use or can see ourselves using. If it can’t pass the ‘friends & family’ test, you won’t see us recommending it.
- Every smart home product that we recommend must fit in with the VueVille Smart Home DIY Framework. This simply means that it must have some ability to talk to the rest of the house. This really is the biggest issue with smart home stuff today. In most cases, there’s no point in using something I cannot monitor or control through my smart home hub (running HomeSeer HS3 software).
What do our readers think?
We have also been selected as one of the best home security blogs on the Internet! Woohoo!
We trust you will enjoy reading our humble little blog and we would love to hear from you!
Thanks for stopping by,
Daniel & the family