There are a variety of different home automation platforms, such as SmartThings, HomeKit, Wink, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and more. Some of them play together nicely, but once you mix and match, you’ll end up with a bunch of apps and nodes to control all of your devices, and some features just won’t work with the software provided. Koushik Dutta (or Koush), the creator of favorite tools like ClockworkMod, has faced these limitations. To overcome its problems, it simply created a smart home node that allows users and developers to write their own actions to connect their devices, similar to Tasker. Enter Scrypted.
The service is live as an application in the Play Store. It turns any Android-powered machine into a smart home node, whether it’s an old Android phone that you can leave constantly plugged in, an Android TV box, or even a Raspberry Pi running Android Things. Once you’ve installed the app, you have the option to sign in to your Google Account so you can connect the platform to Google Home. Below is an IP address from which you can manage your smart home devices. This is all you can see and do on your Android device. I personally chose my old Moto X 2013 as a test site.
The magic happens when you go to that IP address or home.scrypted.app, which both take you to a website created by your Android device. In this node, you can set all kinds of programs, events and controls in one central place.
Koush himself created the platform to connect his Chromecasts to the UniFi security camera. He wanted to be able to see the flow when the cameras detect a person. Since this was not possible with regular software, Koush decided to take matters into his own hands and so “accidentally set up a home automation platform” to use his own words. It uses an Nvidia Shield as a Scrypted server, as the device has enough computing power for local face detection processing. Along with this, Koush introduces some other uses, such as the ability to receive an alarm when your front door is open or the option to turn on the exterior lights automatically at sunset.
Even if the platform is aimed at advanced users, it is programmed to be as volatile as possible. New plugins can be tested on a Scrypted server running without having to restart. You can then install them without shutting down the server so that your system is always up and running. Due to the included cloud access, the platform does not even require dynamic DNS – so plugins can easily create webhooks that you can access from external services.
Another thing that makes Scrypted incredibly powerful is its integration with Google Home, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa. This allows you to control all your add-ons and devices through your preferred assistant. For example, you can connect your encrypted server to Google Home, just as you would any other device: go to the Google Home app, press the plus button, and search for “Scrypted.”
Currently, Scrypted only supports a few smart home appliances, and most of them are available to the developer himself. These include a set of Z-Wave lights, sensors and locks, according to these UniFi cameras, Chromecasts, Google Homes, Neato Robots, MyQ garage doors, Lifx and Hue lamps and more. However, due to the open nature of the project, the platform should support all major smart home devices as soon as it attracts other enthusiasts. If you are the same developer and have free time in your hands, you should not be prevented from creating your own perfect home experience by helping other users along the way.
Still, it is quite an advanced project and requires a lot of enthusiasm and non-stop, but if the platform takes off, it should become more comfortable to use for someone without development experience, with more and more add-ons or devices available on it. Also, keep in mind that the software is still in its infancy, with Koush confirming that it works for it and that it has received Google certification for the product, but it is not a given that the platform works seamlessly for anyone.
If you want to try the automation software yourself, go ahead and download it from the Play Store or on APK Mirror. Simply diving and checking the app will not hurt, but if you want to read the documentation and get more information before, you can visit Scrypted’s Website and Koush’s Reddit post for his work.
Of course, the Koush solution is not the only one available – there are also platforms like Housekeeper the openingHAB providing similar embodiments. The big difference is that most other solutions run on desktops or Raspberry Pis but not on Android.
Alternative title: Guy wants to see UniFi camera power on Chromecast with face detection, he accidentally builds a home automation platform while on it.