Software engineer and IoT home owner Martin H. Rasmussen (DK) gave us his personal account of his experience exploring the IoTCrawler GitHub and the use cases. We found Martins account inspiring and applicable into improving little things in our communication, and he also inspired us with new ideas in the Smart Home domain.
The project looks exciting and I can easily see the idea of making data accessible and searchable on a very large scale. I do not fully understand all the techniques applied, but I am completely on board with what you are saying about the necessity to invent a way of sharing and searching data in this way.
My own approach to IoT is at a somewhat simpler level of use, which primarily consists of machine control and data sharing between PCs, plc and other industry components. Industrial technologies such as OPC-UA, modbus or own protocols are more often used. In my private home, I rely on house automation via Home Assistant, so it is protocols such as MQTT, various sensors via Zigbee, z-wave or wi-fi. But here it is all well protected by the boundaries of the home network and firewall. It is something completely different with public data and services.
The closest I come to use cases for your project could be:
Weather/ pollen data:
Right now I download it myself from dmi.dk and parse the .json data I receive. Here I could probably use their free API instead.
Disposal of waste: Right now I scrape (https://mitaffald.affaldvarme.dk/) for emptying info on my address.
It would then be great to have a common API to expose data to all services so that not everyone would have to reinvent the wheel. In addition, if they [the data] were searchable, you could more easily see what is available, instead of having to examine each service one at a time. That would make a lot of sense.
In addition, piles of data are retrieved from my Home Assistant control via various integrations. All of these are written specifically for each service, whether it be information from Siemens about the status of my washing machine or from Skoda about the location and petrol condition of my car. So, when I think of that usage scenario. I am more interested in how to get data and not in how I can expose it and make it searchable. In this I have more the role of consumer and not data provider.
Marianne: It is possible to provide a value in searching, as you say, your own devices, in your own home for your own gain. If you look at AGT’s smart home dash-board you can see how. It is actually IoT optimized homes such as your own, that has been used to create and test this case with AGT International (except those homes are in Germany). We created a demo film about it.
The Smart Home demo video was helpful. That is exactly what I’m working and maybe taking it a little further. It is still difficult as we have many devices that are not “smart”. It is probably too much to have a smart plug on all devices in the house (even though I have 11 at the moment with current measurement + programmable lighting control in most of the house). As mentioned, I use home assistant, which in fact has a lot in common with GrowSmarter. Home assistant can also detect many devices on your network and automatically access them, but in this case I would assume that you have a whole lot of different search agents running. Home assistant just does not focus on energy saving, but on tying appliances together that have no immediate connection. A big part of the journey for me is also to make “stupid” appliances smart, so that there are fewer things I have to think about in everyday life. And also avoid asking the kids to turn off the lights or turn down the heat when they open the windows etc.
Here are some of my goals when I consider making stupid appliances smart:
– Make IR-operated ventilation smart with a wi-fi -> IR transmitter, so that it can be controlled by a home assistant
– Switching my dehumidifier on/off in the basement.
The purpose is not just to control humidity, but also to turn the machine off when I want to watch a movie in the other room. I could also make sure that it is running primarily when the electricity price is down or the sun shines.
My ideas for optimizing energy:
– Monitoring power consumption in the fridge or freezer so I can see if the door may be open.
– Monitoring power consumption in the electrical panel, as well as solar cells and make visible when to turn on the washing machine or dishwasher. (Unfortunately, it cannot turn itself on yet.)
– Automatic control of light via motion sensor.
– Lower heat at night or when on vacation.
I could probably think of a hundred more things.
Thanks for letting me review the Crawler. I hope I have been of some help.