IoT

A 14-post collection

Controlling Smart Lights Using Dumb Switches with Shelly and Home Assistant

As I progressively make my house smarter and smarter, I find I keep butting against the intersection of where smart stuff meets dumb stuff. Take light globes, for example, the simplest circuit you can imagine. Pass a current through it, light goes on. Kill the current, light goes off. We worked that out back in the 19th century and everything was fine... until now. Here's what I kept seeing with my "smart" light bulbs: So, why is this happening? Why do my smart lights keep going offline? This tweet from Adam Fowler that I embedded in the IoT blog series linked above perfectly explains the problem: I was looking at doing exactly this with my downlights, but the idea of...

Weekly Update 219: IoT Unravelled with Scott Helme

What. A. Week. Blog post every day, massive uptick in comments, DMs, newsletter subscribers, followers and especially, blog traffic. More than 200,000 unique visitors dropped by this week, mostly to read about IoT things. This has been a fascinating experience for me and I've enjoyed sharing the journey, complete with all my mistakes 🙂 I topped the week off by spending a couple of hours talking to Scott Helme about our respective IoT experiences so that's the entirety of this week's update - Scott and I talking IoT. I hope you enjoy this temporary change in programming so here it is, the IoT unravelled livestream with Scott: ReferencesIoT Unravelled Part 1: It's a Mess... But Then There's Home AssistantIoT Unravelled...

IoT Unravelled Part 5: Practical Use Case Videos

This is the fifth and final part of the IoT unravelled blog series. Part 1 was all about what a mess the IoT landscape is, but then there's Home Assistant to unify it all. In part 2 I delved into networking bits and pieces, namely IP addresses, my Ubiquiti UniFi gear and Zigbee. Part 3 was all about security and how that's all a bit of a mess too, particularly as it relates to firmware patching and device isolation on networks. Then in part 4 I focussed on the user experience because whilst it's great having all that digitised stuff in the home, it can't degrade the experience of the less technical users of the house. Now in part 5,...

IoT Unravelled Part 4: Making it All Work for Humans

The first few parts of this series have all been somewhat technical in nature; part 1 was how much of a mess the IoT ecosystem is and how Home Assistant aims to unify it all, part 2 got into the networking layer with both Wi-Fi and Zigbee and in part 3, I delved into security. Now let's tackle something really tricky - humans. I love the idea of automating stuff in the home, but I love the idea of a usable home even more. What do I mean by a "usable" home? Let me explain it in mum and dad terms or in other words, let's talk about the UX my parents have when they visit my house. To begin...

IoT Unravelled Part 3: Security

In part 1 of this series, I posited that the IoT landscape is an absolute mess but Home Assistant (HA) does an admirable job of tying it all together. In part 2, I covered IP addresses and the importance of a decent network to run all this stuff on, followed by Zigbee and the role of low power, low bandwidth devices. I also looked at custom firmware and soldering and why, to my mind, that was a path I didn't need to go down at this time. Now for the big challenge - security. As with the rest of the IoT landscape, there's a lot of scope for improvement here and also just like the other IoT posts, it gets...

IoT Unravelled Part 2: IP Addresses, Network, Zigbee, Custom Firmware and Soldering

In part 1, I deliberately kept everything really high level because frankly, I didn't want to scare people off. I'm not ashamed to say that the process of getting even the basics working absolutely did my head in as I waded through a sea of unfamiliar technologies, protocols and acronyms. I wish I'd had just the fundamentals down pat before going deeper and that was my intention with the first part of the series. So, peeling back that next layer, the whole IoT space isn't just about devices that get their own IP address on your network and talk over TCP (or UDP). Many of them do (such as the Shelly switch in part 1), but then there's the whole...

IoT Unravelled Part 1: It's a Mess... But Then There's Home Assistant

With the benefit of hindsight, this was a naïve question: Alright clever IoT folks, I've got two of these garage door openers, what do you reckon the best way of connecting them with Apple HomeKit is? https://t.co/i0RmjSMkkD — Troy Hunt (@troyhunt) April 25, 2020 In my mind, the answer would be simple: "Just buy X, plug it in and you're good to go". Instead, I found myself heading down the rabbit hole into a world of soldering, custom firmware and community-driven home automation kits. Finally, a full 123 days later, I managed to open my garage door with an app: Smashing it today! So impressed with the Shelly 1, it made this so simple 😊 pic....

How to Track Your Kids (and Other People's Kids) With the TicTocTrack Watch

Do you ever hear those stories from your parents along the lines of "when I was young..." and then there's a tale of how risky life was back then compared to today. You know, stuff like having to walk themselves to school without adult supervision, crazy stuff like that which we somehow seem to worry much more about today than what we did then. Never mind that far less kids go missing today than 20 years ago and there's much less chance of them being hit by a car, circumstances are such today that parents are more paranoid than ever. The solution? Track your kids' movements, which brings us to TicTocTrack and the best way to understand their value proposition...

New Pluralsight Course: Emerging Threats in IoT

It's another Pluralsight course! I actually recorded Emerging Threats in IoT with Lars Klint back in June whilst we were at the NDC conference in Oslo. It's another "Play by Play" course which means it's Lars and I sitting there having a conversation like this: We choose to talk about IoT because frankly, it's fascinating. There's just so many angles to security in otherwise everyday devices, for example: The collection of never-before digitised data (adult toys are a perfect example) Vulnerabilities in the cloud services behind IoT (they're just websites, after all) Risks in the devices themselves that expose data (such as Bluetooth PINs) Risks which expose the network (LIFX leaked the wifi password) Risks which result in...

What Would It Look Like If We Put Warnings on IoT Devices Like We Do Cigarette Packets?

A couple of years ago, I was heavily involved in analysing and reporting on the massive VTech hack, the one where millions of records were exposed including kids' names, genders, ages, photos and the relationship to parents' records which included their home address. Part of this data was collected via an IoT device called the InnoTab which is a wifi connected tablet designed for young kids; think Fisher Price designing an iPad... then totally screwing up the security. Anyway, I read a piece today about VTech asking the court to drop an ongoing lawsuit that came about after the hack. In that story, the writer recalled how VTech has updated their terms and conditions after the attack in an attempt...