How to control your Smart Home
Smart Home technology is constantly growing, there’s no one solution for everything, however, you can control your Smart Home from one location with various methods; Smart Hubs, Third-Party Apps & Sticking to one ecosystem.
In this post, we’ll be looking at Smart Hubs and Third-Party Apps as sticking to one ecosystem isn’t necessarily the best solution.
A few years ago, I had multiple apps on my Smart Phone for my smart lights, entertainment systems, speakers, locks, blinds etc. For example, my third-party lights didn’t work with Alexa but did Google Home. So, what was the solution?
I ended up investing in a Smart Hub which utilised Zigbee technology, the original go-to for Smart Hubs was the Samsung SmartThings, however, now there are tonnes of hubs out there, from the AvaCube to the 4th Generation Echo from Amazon.
Do you need a Smart Home Hub?
Not necessarily, if you’re happy using multiple apps to control your Home that’s perfectly fine.
A Smart Home Hub is just a great way to tie everything together without requiring third-party tools, if you’re using a lot of devices it will become important to have a hub due to the way a mesh network works.
In some cases, your devices will utilise Zigbee internally and run their own mesh network, but you’re still going to need third-party tools to control these.
This allows your devices (For example, light bulbs) to jump from one to another to send information back and forth, it’s not perfect but it does the job.
Is there one ThirdParty App I can use to control my Smart Home?
With Amazons new Echo devices on the way, this will allow you to use the Amazon Smart Home App to control everything, however, if you can’t wait or don’t want to use Amazon’s ecosystem you can look into a tool called Yonomi.
Yonomi is a free smart home app that controls all of your IoT devices from one location without a hub, the app is entirely free but doesn’t manage every single device out there.
As of the moment, it has some big names like Amazon, Google, Sonos, Philips Hue, LIFX, Logitech, Wink, tp-link, MiHome, Ecobee and more.
I’m mentioning IFTTT despite their controversy with IFTTT Pro . If you’re looking to keep your ‘hub’ in the cloud, IFTTT can really help with this, it essentially communicates between all devices on your behalf.
IFTTT allows you to connect devices that wouldn’t normally communicate, for example, Ring and Hue. So that if Ring detects movement, your porch lights come on.
If you’re happy with a paid plan with IFTTT, definitely do check it out. Otherwise, get yourself a hub.
An App System isn’t great…
No matter how hard you try, a single app-online solution likely isn’t going to work in the long run. For example, updating firmware for your devices likely isn’t possible without using the original app, so you would still need that installed on your devices.
Using an external app to control your smart home also limits your ability to access certain features, with every update on the official app, you’ll be able to access fewer features in the all-in-one solution (Until it’s also updated).
If you’re using a hub like Samsung SmartThings, you’ll find a lot of features are kept and updating regularly due to the sheet size of Samsung and how they operate.