Getting into the world of the “smart home” (nothing else means the term smart home) is not as easy as it seems. The promises are great: They are at the front door, which opens automatically because the camera detects your face or the Bluetooth sensor detects the cell phone in your pocket.
In theory, a lot is conceivable
Quite inconspicuous, with a connector for a power supply and an Ethernet LAN cable. A USB “cell phone” modem stick can also be inserted.
Photo: Henning Gajek / teltarif.de
The courier rings, but you are not at home. You receive a video call via the doorbells, see and speak to the messenger, open the door for him, he puts down his package, closes the door again and continues. If the door is not closed properly, you will receive an alarm on your cell phone.
The sun is shining, it is getting warm in the room, the smart home notices and winds down the blinds. You come home from vacation earlier than planned: it would be bitterly cold in the apartment, so turn on the heating from a distance.
A room or a closet is closed, so nobody should go in or in. If only I could see if everyone was sticking to it. The heating makes it snuggly warm until someone opens the window: the heating could turn down until the window is closed again. It is dark in the hallway; when i go in, i miss the light switch every time or i have no hands free. If I come home with the car, the garage door could open.
All of these scenarios are possible, at least in theory. In practice you encounter hurdles. Which systems are there, which systems are compatible with each other, what do I need, what do I not need and what does the fun cost?
A lot of time, money and patience
Anyone who gets involved with smart home has to make a decision in the beginning for a system. You will only notice whether this decision was correct much later. In addition to a few euros “play money”, there should also be interest and fun in technology and the courage to explore, the desire to inform yourself and to have time and patience when failures occur. Otherwise the frustration factor is too high and then it is no longer fun. If you don’t live alone, you should definitely include your roommates, such as your life partner or family.
Get started with Telekom
For the “absolute beginner”, the “Magenta Smart Home” offer from Telekom could be such an entry, assuming that the domestic landline connection already comes from Telekom and the cell phone will then probably also be “connected” there. None of this is a condition. You can also operate Telekom’s Smart Home on a “third-party connection” from another landline provider or purely via mobile radio, only stable contact to the Internet must be guaranteed.
Deutsche Telekom gives a good overview of the devices and their possibilities on a special info page.
First of all we need a smart home router. Telekom offers two alternatives here: The Speedport Smart 3 (theoretically 1 or 2 would also work), which already contains the smart home functions in addition to the Internet and telephone connection, or the “Homebase 2” to be purchased in addition to an existing router, which provides the necessary functions for the smart home.
Here you should choose the version “Homebase 2”, as it is newer and more future-proof. The “Homebase 2” is either box new, refurbished or used – often quite cheap. There is no reason not to buy it from a user who has no time or time to install it himself. It should still be complete (router, power supply unit and maybe also the LAN cables supplied).
You log on to Qivicon via the Smart Home app and define the rules, actions and control commands.
Screenshot: Henning Gajek / teltarif.de
As a new device, the Smart Homebase 2 costs 99.99 euros directly from Telekom (shipping via Brodos if you don’t take it with you in the Telekom shop). As “refurbished” you can get the same eBay home base from a retailer for just 30 euros or less. There are or were also packages in circulation, where two door contacts were added to the home base so that they could have a sense of achievement immediately after unpacking.
The Homebase 2 is the base station for the networked devices in the house and “speaks” and “understands” the various radio standards that smart home devices use today. This can be DECT-ULE (a dialect of the cordless telephone standard), or ZigBee or HomeMatic (IP). After the first connection, this base will update itself, which is signaled by a long white flashing. Please be patient.
A smartphone with Android or iOS, please
Finally, we still need a smartphone for the Magenta Smart Home app, optionally under iOS (Apple) or Android (Google).
Read on the next page how to “hijack” a used base and how to proceed.