Smart home hubs
There are numerous products that make your home smart. From network cameras, lights and switches to smart door locks or thermostats. But if you want to network multiple devices through a single interface, a Smart Home Hub - the control center of your smart home - becomes virtually indispensable. The central interface can be imagined as a smart base station that coordinates all smart devices in a house and enables the control and networking of the various devices in the "connected home".
It is hardware or software that connects devices in an automated network and controls the communication between them. A Smart Home Hub, sometimes referred to as a Smart Home Bridge, collects and translates the various protocol communications of the devices involved. For example, if a smartphone that doesn't communicate via ZigBee wants to communicate with a smart doorbell, but only uses ZigBee and not the smartphone's native Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the Smart Home Hub acts as a translator between the two.
In contrast to a multi-room system, a Smart Home Hub usually has no speakers or voice assistants; it merely serves as a gateway. Conversely, there are standard echo loudspeakers with an integrated Smart Home Hub. For example, smart Philips Hue lamps or other household appliances such as washing machines can be installed and scenes configured via ZigBee without an additional hub or third-party apps. It is important that the compatibility of the devices is guaranteed and that you know what the required radio standards of the individual devices are (e.g. IFTTT, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth).
What points should I look out for when buying a Smart Home Hub?
Compatibility radio standard: If you know which standards (IFTTT, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Nest, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) the various smart home devices use, you need to make sure that the hub supports them.
Compatibility with the operating system: Although most systems are compatible with iOS and Android, this should be checked again in advance (e.g. for Windows phones).
Integrations: Some Smart Home Hubs offer more integration than others. In addition, the number of available integrations may be limited by the hub, e.g. Harmony by Logitech only connects up to eight smart home devices.
Connection: Some Smart Home Hubs require a direct connection to your router, while others connect via Wi-Fi. Check the required ports and cables.
Voice control: Is the control of the smart devices via voice assistants desired? If so, you should first check whether the device can be integrated into the Smart Speaker (e.g. Amazon Alexa or Google Home).
Smart Home App: Most Smart Home Hubs are operated via a Smartphone App. However, there is often the possibility to control the hub from a PC or Mac.
Whether Amazon Echo Dot, Samsung Smarthings, Hubitat Elevation, Googel Home or Apple HomeKit Hub - there are different Smart Home Hubs depending on your needs and price range.