Zigbee at Home
I want to use and run many small battery sensors across the home. Wifi would have worked, but battery-powered sensors make them portable and usable. Also, I would like to keep small sensors out of my wifi network for security reasons.
Zigbee is made for small devices in a local network and is an open standard wireless connection. There are a ton of affordable products that are available and work quite well. I use Sonoff products. Sonoff is a Chinese brand that makes affordable home IoT products. Most of their products are hackable or reflashable, making them very DIY-friendly. The quality, in my experience, has been good, and the community around their products is huge. I usually use Tasmota (firmware) and Home Assistant ( manage and automate). Sonoff products play pretty well with these two software tools.
So I got a SONOFF Zigbee Bridge Pro, which looks like a small travel router. Then flashed it with Tasmota by following the tutorial by digiblurDIY. I had to open the package and solder some wires, but it wasn't a big deal as all the points were labeled very well on the PCB, and there was enough place to solder. Since I didn't have enough wire, I soldered some old resistor leads; post flashing left a part of the lead on the board just in case I had to use it again. But then it didn't happen as the Tasmota can be upgraded over the air. Then I connected it to wifi and attached it to Home Assistant using ZHA, which comes with Home Assistant. Just make sure your Tasmota Sonoff Zigbee Bridge uses a static IP, so your connection to HA is stable even if you restart the bridge.
Once your bridge is up and connected, you can add sensors one by one using the Home Assistant dashboard., It doesn't take more than a minute to count. After that, you can set up your alerts or automation. My HA is connected to local InfluxDB to store the data for long-term archival and reporting. I used InfluxDB's built-in reporting system to see those charts.
It's been almost six months, and the setup has been relatively stable. I am happy about the setup and will continue to add more sensors.