All Roads Lead to Me!

Jody Whitlock

In the post One Small Step I demonstrated how to build an embedded Linux solution using a Dell FX160, and since then I have gotten questions like “What the heck are you going to do with that?”

Well, one thing I’ve been working with is some home automation items and have a Philips Hue bulb to start. The issue is that if I want to stay with the Philips Hue environment there’s going to be some $$$’s sunk into that, and I have limited options. Additionally, I have some automation products that I am designing that I would like to utilize but I don’t want to have multiple interfaces to deal with when managing the environment.

In comes OpenHAB, which is a software for integrating different home automation systems and technologies into one single solution that allows over-arching automation rules and that offers uniform user interfaces and is open-source. So, this means using OpenHAB I can continue to develop my own home automation devices using either Z-Wave, ZigBee, or MQTT to interface the devices with. In my case, I will be using MQTT with the ESP8266 platform as the backbone. So, with OpenHAB I will have a single interface that the family can use and not have to worry about what system belongs to what interface, essentially a universal remote for home automation. Oh, and OpenHAB does also interface with Logitech Harmony Hub, so you could in theory have one interface to rule them all!

So, now that has been said, can you guess how this relates to the FX160? Yep, that will act as my OpenHAB server and MQTT broker since it’s small, and mostly solid-state. Now I have used both an Odroid U3 and BeagleBone Black both running Ubuntu 14.04 as the OpenHAB server, but I am going to move all this to the FX160.