As discussed in Part 1, convenience and energy efficiency are the chief benefits you will get from using smart devices in your home. Part 2 will cover communication protocols and hubs/gateways that will help make home management effortless. Consult with an experienced licensed electrician to get the best results.
The first thing to point out is that devices will utilize a certain communication protocol for connectivity. You must take note of this for each device you purchase to ensure that it can be supported by your central hub/gateway. Below is a list of the most used protocols for home smart devices.
Typically, modern systems are comprised of sensors and switches connected to a central hub/gateway from which the system is controlled via a user interface interacting with a wall-mounted terminal, mobile phone software, tablet computer or a web interface. According to the Tom’s Guide article, Best Smart Home Hubs of 2018, the following are currently the five best hubs.
SmartThings is building an open platform for smart homes and the consumer Internet of Things. Primary products include a free SmartThings app, a SmartThings Hub, and various sensors and smart devices.
Amazon Echo Dot
Capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information. It can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation hub.
Includes home automation as a feature, enabling owners to use it to control devices as a central hub. Google has partnered with Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, and IFTTT for smart home device control with the Google Home device.
Amazon Echo Plus
Alexa-enabled, the Echo Plus is different from the original Echo because it features a Zigbee radio, allowing smart home devices to directly connect to home networks without a bridge.
Wink Hub 2 is the first smart home hub designed for the mainstream consumer, sporting industry-leading protocol support, a sleek design, enhanced connectivity, and security features that create a best-in-class experience.
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