Over the past few weekends I've been overhauling my home automation systems. At the core, as I decide what to buy and how to configure it, there are three primary principles:
• Manual override: Everything automated has to still have the ability to be controlled manually
• Keep it at home: No "cloud" services unless absolutely necessary (e.g. push notifications to a phone)
• Open: Avoid vendor lock-in, use open source and open protocols where possible
So far, I've removed my Dropcam (acquired by Google/Nest), removed SmartThings (acquired by Samsung), and replaced everything with the best alternatives I can find, and making a few sensors myself as well.
It's been a fun experience for sure! Not something I would recommend as an "out of the box" solution, but I've learned a lot, and have a lot more ideas still! I'm planning on doing a full writeup once I get a few more things hooked up.