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Home Automation (Smart Home) - My Experience
You are no doubt reading this because you are investigating the ability to automate your home (Smart Home) and are wondering on how to go about it.
Well, that is where I started – I am sharing my experience here with you.

I started off motorizing all the blinds in my house because I was tired of doing the morning and evening ritual of walking around to each room opening and closing multiple blinds.
This ritual became very boring and was akin to waking up in the morning and getting ready to go to school.

So, with all Blinds motorized and the ability to open/close them with a single press of a button I decided to take this a step further?
Why not Voice Control the process and add the ability to turn On/Off lights and other appliances?

I liked the idea that I could be able to turn On/Off the lights and Lock/Unlock the door when my Cellphone's GPS got within 200 meters of the house rather than having to fumble for keys and look for light switches when I got home.

So, off I go on a mission.
I purchased a bunch of Amazon Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot devices to scatter around the house.
The first week was fun and I loved the fact that I could ask "Alexa" to play my favorite Radio Station (iHeart Radio 104.1 The Spot) which I listen to all the time.
I was really amazed over the sound quality of such small devices and the nice bass they carried.

I was a little dubious about having to install an "App" on my phone for Amazon's Alexa but, because it is a requirement, I learnt to deal with it and hope that all my personal information it wanted from my phone wasn't going to be given to the World.

For the Blinds I had to purchase a BroadLink RM Pro to link to Alexa and learn the Blind's Remotes.
The BroadLink RM Pro can learn and replace Remotes that use RF (Radio Frequency) like Garage Door openers and IR (Infrared Red) like TV Remotes. You can then use your Phone as the "Master Remote".
For this, I needed to add another "App" to my Phone and give BroadLink all my personal information on my phone.
Linking the BroadLink RM Pro to Alexa proved to be a big challenge - I had to use IFTTT (pronounced "ift") Website, add another "App" and give it permission to my Amazon Account (this is called "Linking").

I am still battling with the Alexa integration with the Blinds but what I want seems to be possible - this is an ongoing affair.

Next, I bought a bunch of Jinvoo WiFi Light Switches.
I had to re-wire all the Light Switches in the House as the necessary (Neutral) wires didn't exist - a costly exercise of over $500 just for the cable excluding the electrician.
With that out of the way, I had to install yet ANOTHER "App" to link the Switches to Alexa and tell it that it could have access to all my personal information on my phone (a requirement). However, I love the fact I can turn On/Off lights by asking Alexa.

At this point I was already feeling extremely uncomfortable that I had given my personal life away to multiple "Apps".
Sure, I can control these things (Blinds, Lights and my Front Door etc.) from when I am on the beach in the Antarctic (providing I have Internet connection) but I have got to a point where I feel extremely vulnerable and open to malicious attacks from those Internet hackers - all it takes is just one single breach on of one single "App" (or Cloud service) and my life is ruined.

I am currently sitting on the fence wondering if I should pursue further automation in my personal space (called "My Home").

So, at present, I am in a stalled situation wondering if I should install MORE "Apps" or wait another 10-years for technology to catch up and give me the ability to control my Home without the need for an "App" or even an Internet connection.

I HATE "Apps"... I NEVER had "Apps" before... now my life is FULL of "Apps" and I am scared Sad

I will update my experience here on "Home Automation" as it progresses (or regresses).

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