Episode 171: Your smart home questions, answered!

This week Kevin and I decided to do something a bit unusual, turning our segment where we answer listener’s questions into the entire show. You guys have been sending a lot of interesting questions to the Schlage IoT Podcast Listener Hotline, and we hated to leave so many unanswered, so we combined a slow holiday news week with some Q&A. Remember, if you have a question, give us a call at 512.623.7424.

Kevin and I at CES in 2018 when we hunt for cool new stuff and ask manufacturers about your questions.

We tackle issues such as insurance discounts for smart home gear, local hubs and the best skills for Alexa in a classroom setting. We failed to find a perfect USB cable for someone, but did locate a smoke detector that will work with SmartThings for a Canadian listener. We also dug into details on several home hubs for listeners debating Home Assistant, Home Bridge, Open HAB, SmartThings and Wink. We hope you enjoy the show and keep those questions coming. Next week, we’ll be back to the usual format.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Sponsors: Control4 and Schlage

  • When will my insurer give┬áme a discount on my smart home?
  • A question about smart locks
  • Which home hub is best for first timers?
  • These five Alexa skills are good for education

Published by

Stacey Higginbotham

I am a journalist who has covered technology for over a decade at publications such as Fortune, PCMag, Gigaom, The Deal and BusinessWeek.

6 thoughts on “Episode 171: Your smart home questions, answered!”

  1. Regarding Door Locks

    Why doesn’t Schlage add a feature where a magnet is placed into the deadbolt hole and then sense the magnet when the dead bolt is extended into the hole. They could provide a status message that the door is truly locked not just the deadbolt is extended


  2. Very cool episode. It’s a nice break for the regular programming and nice of you guys to answer folks questions.

    With the door’s a jar (or is it just a door) issue, inline with what Richard mentioned previously, adding something like a reed switch to detect when the door is fully closed and then sending a notice after a period of time as Chris mentioned might be something to look into. However, it would be interesting to see how difficult it would be to add something like a motor to the door which could be engaged to close the door if it were left open. A good spring hinge might do the trick as well. Then again, that personal house bot with the handy arms would be a nice solution where it could be instructed to close the door in case it were left open, or just know to do so automagically.

    Regarding OpenHab, the newer OpenHAB2 is supported on Windows, Linux, MacOS and even a Docker container. They also have an openHABian image for the Raspberry Pi or Pine64 that has a Raspbian image with the OpenHAB software installed and a basic set-up. There is an OpenHAB Alexa Smart Home Skill that could be used to bridge between a local OpenHAB environment and the cloud through Alexa.

    I am looking forward to ya’lls review of Hubitat. I noticed their web site is listing it at $115.00 for US residents for a limited time so I may have to pull the plug and get one me self.

    Stay cool.



  3. I love y’all podcast, y’all are awesome. in regard to question two, I’ve got the nest Yale lock and when my door isn’t shut all the way and I try to lock the door remotely, it’ll tell me there’s a problem and that the deadbolt can’t lock. At the end of the day, iv learned to just really pull the door hard when I leave.

  4. Hey guys i love this show some great questions and answers.

    I wanted to reply to two questions on the show.

    For the usb extension you can just do a USB A to micro usb then only a tiny hole is needed then a micro to usb a adaptor on the end fixes that issue.

    Also i use a door sensor and wired up some contacts in the door jamb so when the deadbolt closes it closes the circut on my zwave door sensor so i alwaya know the door is truly locked.

    Great job guys

  5. In case anyone else is curious about the 5 Alexa skills that were mentioned at the end of the podcast, here they are:

    * National Geographic Geo Quiz (by National Geographic Society)
    * NASA Mars (by Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
    * Smart Math (by Will Yeo)
    * Periodic Table Quiz (by Christopher Roemer)
    * Audubon Bird Songs (by National Audubon Society)

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