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February 9, 2018

You can build your own smart home hub with Mozilla’s Project Things

by John_A

If you have a connected home featuring tons of smart devices, you probably also have a platform like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Samsung SmartThings to help you control all the units from one location. Mozilla, the creator of Firefox, has come up with a platform called Project Things that claims to let you control all those smart home devices from the web, by utilizing a Raspberry Pi to set up the network. Mozilla believes this self-created platform will give users more control and customization, so people don’t have to be tied to any one preset platform, such as the Amazon Echo.

With Project Things, users can build a gateway connecting their smart home products directly to the internet, with each unit then receiving its own URL. Users can then control these products using the web interface or via voice controls, although the latter is still in the experimental stage. Project Things lets you set up If This Then That commands to determine how your devices should interact, and you can even upload floor plans that show where the devices are located in your home.

As of now, Project Things only supports a small selection of smart home devices. A recent release just added the ability to support light dimmers and smart plugs, and Mozilla anticipates more add-ons to come in future releases.

Project Things is still considered a work in progress. “Please note that this is experimental pre-release software and at this prototype stage is not ready for production use. It is intended as an early preview for hackers, makers, and web developers to get their hands on with the Web of Things,” writes the company on its website.

If you’re interested in getting started with Project Things, Mozilla has guidelines on how to set up a network with the help of Raspberry Pi 3, which has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support capabilities. Not familiar with Raspberry Pi? Another developer board such as an Arduino can suffice, and according to Mozilla, users also have the option to use a laptop or desktop computer. However, the company notes that Raspberry Pi 3 will “currently provide the best experience.

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