Kontor/Office

Løsninger for dette rommet/Solutions for this room


Detailed site navigation

Office

On this page, I present the actual solutions installed in the office of our smart home, with links to specific products used and how these have been set up

This room contains solutions for the following systems (notice that on phones, the table might only be displayed in landscape mode):

System Type Components
Lighting
  • Aqara smart light switch

  • Aqara wireless switch

  • Fibaro smart plug

  • IKEA Trådfri Driver + Lindshult lamp x 3

  • Mi Desk Lamp Pro

  • Philips Hue E27 smart bulb

  • Philips Hue motion sensor

  • Philips Hue dimmer switch

Climate Control
  • Aqara door sensor

  • Aqara window sensor

  • Mill AV600WiFi

  • IKEA Fyrtur blinds

Home Entertainment

None

Security and Alarm
  • Verisure Alarm motion sensor with camera

Personal care and health

Withings Body+ smart scale

Control and Automation
  • The Homebridge server, installed on a Synology DS720+

  • Eero 6 base station

  • IKEA Dirigera base station

  • Netgear Orbi base station


Description of the solutions in this room

The lighting solutions consists partly of a desk lamp from Mijia, see picture further down on the page, acquired March 2019 after this got HomeKit support. Contrary to the old desklamp, this one is “smart” and can both be controlled from phone/tablet/etc. and allows adjusting of light color and brightness (including some predefined profiles for reading, computer work, etc.). This lamp is now integrated into the Good Morning and Good Night scenes so that they turn on and off automatically.

In case we need more light, there is also a ceiling lamp, equipped with a Philips Hue E27 smart bulb. The need for more light really only happens when the desk lamp is turned off, therefore the motion sensor has been programmed, in the Eve app, so that the ceiling light only turns on when motion is detected and desk lamp is off, see screenshot below.

Ceiling lamp with Hue bulb

Stacks Image 664

Stacks Image 670
Programming of the ceiling light

And since we have for a long time struggled with the one Fibaro smart plug we have becoming unavailable and needing to be restarted, we found almost the last light source in the house without smart control and connected it to the plug. This is a globe with light inside, see picture below, and in so little use that it is of no consequence if it goes offline, while at the same time this means the plug in on in case Fibaro releases a firmware update.

Globe connected to power via a smart plug that turns on with Evening Lights/off with Good Night

Stacks Image 686

Working from home for most of 2020 meant a need for additional lighting in this room, especially better light for video meetings. The solution was to install three Lindshult cabinet lights from IKEA on the top of book shelves, conrolled by an IKEA Trådfri Driver (see pictures below). These lights are included in the scenes Afternoon Lights and Good Night, so they turn on/off automatically, but we also turn them on/change the brightness manually when we need to adjust the light, either through HomeKit or using an Aqara wireless switch.

Stacks Image 1057

IKEA Lindshult Shelf lamps controlled by a Trådfri Driver

Stacks Image 1046

In addition, after some time we put up an Aqara Opple Wireless Scene Switcher, strictly speaking, was mounted on the wall in the library by the door to the office, see picture in the description of that room. Two of the switches have been programmed to manually turn on/off the office ceiling lamp while the other two turn on/off different devices in the library.

This is another room where we have replaced the old wall switch by a smart version from Aqara, see picture below. The old switch had been installed in a wall box, but the Aqara switch won’t fit into our standard, round wall boxes so the switch has been placed inside a square, external wall box. This now works excellently, the wall switch is basically always on, so that the motion sensor control of the smart bulb works as it should. But now, if someone inadvertently turns off the ceiling light using the wall switch, we can easily turn it on again without having to use the physical switch.

A smart wall switch controls the ceiling lamp

Stacks Image 846

A problem in this home office is that the window faces East and the desk is up against the same wall, meaning there is often so much sunlight that it makes working on a computer difficult. For a long time we had manual blinds here, but this has now been replaced by IKEA Fyrtur blinds, see picture below. They can be controlled from the IKEA Smart Home app and through HomeKit, using buttons at the actual blinds, and using an enclosed remote control. This latter has been placed on a shelf in the desk, see picture below, so it is easily available for running the blinds down when working at the desk.

Stacks Image 911

IKEA Fyrtur blinds and the IKEA remote control plus an Aqara light switch for the shelf lights

Stacks Image 917

Like in guest room 1/guest room 2 there was also here an old-fashioned, electrical panel heater with an integrated thermostat. At one point, some "smartness" was added to this, by having it turn off if the window was opened (and on again when it was closed). This was achieved by connecting it to power via an IKEA Trådfri smart plug and installing an Aqara window sensor (the sensor is shown in a picture below). I then discovered the Norwegian company Mill, first via the product Mill WiFi Socket, a smart plug with built-in thermostat that allows remote control of "dumb" heaters, but which also makes different types of heaters with WiFi control. We have installed the Mill smart plug in both guest room 1 and guest room 2, and we could strictly speaking have used one here as well to make the old heater "smarter". This heater was quite old, though, that it made more sense to replace it with one that is both efficient in terms of heating performance and which is innately connected, so we ended up with a Mill AV600WiFi, see picture below.

Stacks Image 973

To the left, Mill panel heater with WiFi control, to the right, Aqara window sensor

Stacks Image 979

The heater can be operated manually through a control panel at the heater and using the Mill app, which works quite well (see screenshot below, with a different example under guest room 1). There is, at least so far, no official Mill support for integration with any of the smart home ecosystems, but there is a Mill WiFi app for Homey, which works well. The heater appears as a device in Homey and practically all functionality available in the Mill app can also be found here (except for editing the 24-hour temperature programs, but this is something one rarely adjusts). Furthermore, it can be exposed to HomeKit via Homebridge, see screenshot below. This is set up so that it turns off when the window is opened (thus avoiding using energy to heat when the window is open), and it is put back in auto mode when the window is closed again.

Stacks Image 984

To the left, screenshot from the Millheat app, to the right, how the heater appears in HomeKit

Stacks Image 990

Later, the control of the panel heater has been expanded further by installing an Aqara door sensor on the office door, see picture below. This is set up so that if a door or window is opened in one of the rooms connected to the living room, which will trigger the heat pump in the living room to turn off, a routine checks whether the office door is open. If it is, the panel heater turns off, to avoid having this “fight” the open door/window, while it remains on if the office door is closed. Correspondingly, when the office window is closed, it is checked whether the office door is closed (in which case the panel heater is turned on) or it is open (it then depends on the state of the heat pump in the living room; if that is on, the panel heater turns on, if not, the panel heater stays off). And finally, if the heat pump turns on (which means that all windows/doors in the connecting rooms are closed), a check is run whether the office door is open and the office window closed, in which case the panel heater turns on.

Stacks Image 1198
Aqara door sensor

Much of the “brain power” of the smart home is here in the office, see pictures below. Previously, the “IKEA Trådfri system” was based on two Trådfri Gateways (since these have a limit of fifty devices and we have more than that), but in 2023 these were replaced by the new IKEA hub, Dirigera.

This was acquired as soon as it came for sale in the fall of 2022, and I immediately started to move devices to it. This, however, caused major problems in HomeKit; all of a sudden scenes/automations stopped working, the IKEA devices lost connection or showed up twice, etc. Many other early adopters reported of similar problems, so I reversed the process and put the Dirigera hub on the shelf. After a firmware update and the transfer to the new Home architecture in iOS15.2, I heard that things had improved significantly (it is unclear if either or both these updates fixed things). I therefore made another go and this time it went better. Starting slowly and seeing that things seemed stable and not causing any ripple effects in HomeKit, I completed the transfer (I must mentioned the app ControllerforHomeKit, which was invaluable, as it allows making backups of the HomeKit system and then restoring devices as they are transferred from one hub to the other, which saved me a lot of work!).

My assessment is that Dirigera has both pros and cons compared with the old Gateway. In general, Dirigera seems faster and more responsive, connecting devices is easier, and the app looks better. Both base stations have devices show up as disconnected, for no specific reason, but while on the Gateway this was normally fixed by turning the device off/on or removing the battery, for Dirigera I have in several cases had to remove the device from the hub and then re-add it to get them connected. The biggest new problem with Dirigera has been for smart blinds. For several of our Fyrtur blinds, we have seen that the position is read incorrectly, e.g., for one of them, the IKEA Smart app says it is 16% closed, while in reality it is 100% closed. It could therefore not be opened any more than 16% and when closing it, it would run far below the set max length. Despite asking IKEA customer support for help, the only solution was to remove the blinds from the system and reconnect it.

In general, my conclusion is unfortunately that the IKEA components still cause more trouble than for instance the Hue system of devices.

IKEA Dirigera hub on top of a book shelf

Stacks Image 1082

Homebridge is covered more broadly under control & automation so I will not discuss it here. Suffice to say that while there is a threshold of some sort to get started, there are good step-by-step instructions to be found online for most types of setups and there are many benefits to be achieved.

Having had an alarm system from Verisure for a long time, we recently changed to a similar system from Sector Alarm. Here in the office, a Verisure motion sensor which can also take pictures, see picture below, has been installed, but pictures can also bee viewed in the Verisure app.

Stacks Image 1178

Left photo, the altibox home central

Right photo, the camera sensor from Verisure

Stacks Image 1172

It is worth mentioning a couple of points related to the Netgear Orbi system, though. When we decided to upgrade, from a one-router setup to a mesh system, to get better WiFi coverage throughout the house and garden, I investigated several alternatives, including Eero, Google Wifi, Linksys Velop, etc. There are many tests comparing these and with the products being under constant development, it is impossible to give a definitive answer as to which solution will be best in any given house. Somewhat arbitrarily, we landed on the Orbi system and have eventually come to appreciate its qualities. However, for quite some time, with had serious issues with many of the smart devices in the house either not being available (neither through the vendors’ native app nor the Home app) or it took a very long time to get an update on their status. Gradually, my suspicions turned to the WiFi routers, and this was confirmed when Netgear released a firmware upgrade that eliminated all these problems, at least for a while. Gradually, the speed has been seriously reduced, and I suspect it is due to the number of connected devices, so I was actively looking for a replacement. The solution is, at least per now, that I have acquired an Eero 6 system (see picture below), which was launched in November 2020. For now, we have two parallel wireless networks, which is not really recommended, but which works and this has ensured a fast and stable network from the Eero devices and this is used primarily for connecting phones/tablets/computers online. The Orbi network is still slow and now mainly handles the smart home devices, which works fairly well, except for devices that require higher speed and which have been transferred to the Eero network.

Stacks Image 1109
The desk with the Netgear Orbi base station, Hue motion sensor, and Mi desk lamp (and ZyXel ethernet hub)

On top of a bookshelf, some other key components have been located, see picture below; Eero 6 main router and an Apple Time Capsule, which both sets up a purely 2.4 GHz network (which some smart devices require and makes them more stable than connecting them to the Eero or Orbi mesh networks) as well as stores backups from Mac laptops.

Eero and Time Capsule

Stacks Image 1117

Stacks Image 1129
Synology NAS, on which the Homebridge server resides together with various other servers

After we'd for a long time had a "semi-smart" scale, which could measure more parameters than just weight, we acquired a Withings Body+ (which for a time was branded Nokia). This looks elegant, see picture below, and tracks a number of parameters; weight, percentage body fat/muscle mass/bone mass, and water content. In addition, it can present the weather forecast for the day, and it can share data with other health apps, in our case the Health app on iPhone/Apple Watch. It is probably an exaggeration to say that it has dramatically changed how we monitor our health, but that fact that the history of measurements is stored and can be accessed in the desired health app, with graphs and even compared with goals, contributes to paying more attention to it.

Withings smart scale, which is placed under a book shelf when not in use

Stacks Image 943

All these units appear in the room view for the office in the Home app as shown in the screenshot below.


Stacks Image 955
The devices in the office, including the base stations for Homebridge, Philips Hue and IKEA Trådfri
RapidWeaver Icon

Made in RapidWeaver