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IoT Home Automation | (1) Initial Overview

After playing a while with different IoT devices, I decided that it is a perfect moment to start to do some automation inside the house. Nothing special or fancy, just small things that improve the quality of life and force me to work on some hardware devices also.

What I want to achieve?
There are three different system that I want to connect and to be able to remote control and automate.
Garage doors and gates – I want to be able from my mobile phone to open or close the gates. In this moment, I have a remote control that control them. However, in the future I do not want to use them anymore, I want to replace them with only one device – my phone.
Alarm control – Usually when you close or open the gates you also need to arm or disarm the house alarm. Why not integrate this inside one system that would be able to open the gates and disarm the alarm automatically.
Automatically water system – Even if we love plants and flowers, it is a nightmare in the morning to water 20 minutes all the flowers that are outside the house. We have an automatically system for the grass, that could be connected to flower dipper, but I would be limited to only one zone. Additional to this I want to have multiple zones, based on the flower location and how much sun receive.
From functionality perspective, this are the based ideas that I want to develop and implement. In this moment I have an package ordered from Aliexpress with ESP8266 modules and some relays for them. Until then I have an ESP8266 and a relay borrowed from one of my co-worker.

High-level system overview
All the hardware components will be connected using relays and ESP8266 controllers to the internal network. Because ESP8266 was a WiFi integrated and has support for HTTP(S) stack, all controllers will check the internal gateway for new commands. Each ESP8266 will have a smart lock system. In the case of losing the connection with the Gateway we will go to the initial state (lock doors, stop water).
The Gateway role will be played by a Raspberry PI 3. This will be the main brain of the system, that can automatically lock doors or stop the water in the case of a failure. The Gateway will be able to talk with a Azure to pull new commands or send notifications. I didn't decide yet if I will go with Azure IoT Hub for this of with Service Bus. In this moment I might go with a simple approach using Azure Service Bus Topic.
On top of this a Web App will be hosted that will expose an interface and an API that will be used to control the system.

Inside the private network the most common security measurement will be used. The public web app will use Azure AD multi-factor authentication. This topic will not covered in details, because I want to protect my system, but we can have one to one discussion if you want.

Next step
Review the current gate doors hardware system and see what are the extension/integration points.


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