Your thermostat will raise and lower the temperature — even when you’re not home — with just the press of a button or a voice command. Your lights come on automatically as soon as you enter the house. You can turn your slow cooker on and off remotely. You can tell your voice assistant to play your favorite song — or even when to wake you up in the morning.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a powerful entity. Thanks to the internet and technology, many of the processes we found so tedious will be automated. What’s more, our devices and appliances can be interconnected, carrying out our most pressing tasks and informing others in the network what to do and when.
With the IoT, you can control all of your smart devices, including lights, doorbells, locks, thermostats, voice assistants, and more, from a single system — a smart hub. This enables your most vital tools to communicate with one another. You can set a schedule and inform the hub about your preferences. You’ll receive alerts when your dog barks or you have a delivery. If this sounds like it will improve your life significantly, read on to learn about the best hubs for your smart home.
The Echo Plus, now in its second version, not only acts as your voice assistant. When you say “Alexa, discover my devices,” the Amazon hub will connect to compatible devices, including lights, TVs, cameras, locks, smart plugs, garage doors, and more. Then you can control these appliances with just the sound of your voice.
For added safety, enable Alexa Guard. You’ll get Smart Alerts when the Echo detects danger signs, such as the sound of a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide alarm, or glass breaking. Of course, the device also allows you to make requests and ask for information, such as the weather.
If you use a lot of Apple devices, then the HomeKit is the option for you. HomeKit isn't strictly a hardware hub but a software framework by Apple that lets users configure, communicate with, and control smart-home appliances using Apple devices.
You can control all your accessories using the Home app, complemented by the HomeKit-enabled routers. Ask Siri to respond to different commands, including dimming your lights, playing a movie, and turning appliances on and off. You can even ask her to prepare your home for your arrival while you’re driving by simply saying “I’m home.”
HomeKit also comes equipped with Secure Video, powered with cameras and on-device intelligence to detect activity around your home.
With this in-wall system, you can connect many devices, including ones from different brands, together — Brilliant Control supports top brands like Nest, SONOS, Honeybee, Yale, Ecobee, and others. It also comes equipped with Amazon Alexa voice assistance. Using the color touchscreen, you can adjust the lighting and temperature, play music, lock and see who’s at the door, and more. The hub also has motion sensors and integrated whole-home lighting.
Disguised as a digital picture frame, the Nest Hub connects with more than 5,000 devices across many different brands. From the device, you can control entertainment, smart lighting, appliances connected to smart plugs, thermostats, security, and other systems, including additional smart home hubs. You can also ask the voice-activated Google Assistant questions, such as the news or directions to get to your destination.
SmartThings works with devices from many different brands, including Amazon, Google, Leviton, GE, Yale, and others. Operated via a mobile app, the hub brings together your devices and allows you to turn on and off your lights, start the coffee machine, lock the doors, open your garage door, power on the music, and much more — all automatically according to your preferences. You can even receive warnings about incidents like water leaks when you’re away.
Samsung offers additional smart devices that can function with SmartThings and allows for battery power, should your electricity fail.
Using your smartphone or tablet, you can power your smart home devices and entertainment systems. The Harmony Hub is compatible with more than 270,000 devices, including smart lights, thermostats, Amazon Alexa, TVs, gaming consoles, and more. One special feature is the ability to create “Activities,” grouping together tasks and devices to function with a single command.
For example, saying “Good morning” can raise the blinds, turn on the lights and TV, and raise the thermostat to your desired morning temperature. You can create your own Activities or choose from Harmony’s suggestions.
The future is here, all thanks to technology. Now that we’re all spending a little — or a lot — more time in our homes, why not make your experience comfortable and maximize the convenience and efficiency your systems can bring? Smart home hubs can bring together all your devices and allow you to streamline your most annoying tasks without even getting out of bed.