Smart home advice and questions
Things I want to setup:
few indoor light bulbs
few indoor motion sensors
outdoor motion sensor light
outdoor battery powered motion sensor light (if such a thing exists in "smart" form)
possibly an audio alarm
I believe I've read about cheaper brands of these devices, like Chinese brands, that are a lot cheaper than the mainstream ones or the ones sold by the hub makers. I'd like to learn more about that.
How far can the signal go for the different protocols? I figure outdoors with no obstructions is pretty likely, but how about a detached structure (like a garage) where you have to penetrate more walls?
I have extra Raspberry Pi's, and I just became aware of Home Assistant (and hass.io). I kinda like that idea, but I'm not sure about a USB Z-Wave module vs a Wink hub. On the issue of wireless signal reach, I'm guessing the Wink hub has the advantage, but I don't know about other differences.
Originally when I was looking for a less DiY method, people seemed to be suggesting SmartThings most. Anyone care to compare that with the RPi Home Assistant approach? Simplicity, reliability, seems like the ready-made hub is going to win those, but what else?
Can you use an old Android 4.x tablet as a sort of control panel?
Below are a couple examples of what I'd like to do. I've definitely read about people doing these kinds of things, but I don't know how my choice of hub and such will affect this functionality.
Use phones when leaving and coming home to enable/disable a "no one home" mode that will turn a few light bulbs on/off randomly and send me an alert if certain motion sensors are triggered.
Set the certain motion sensors to alert me if it's triggered during certain times of the day.
EDIT: Forgot to mention I do use Alexa currently, have an Echo and Echo Dot, and I have a Google Home Mini that I haven't tried yet.