The Smart Hub
The next phase to a smarter home is to select a smart hub. There are quite a few on the market, which includes: Smart Things by Samsung, Wink 2, Hue Bridge etc. And there are a ton of reviews out there to help chose the right one.
After a lot of reviews and research, I decided that the Smart Things starter pack was the best fit for my use cases. My requirements were z-wave, zigbee, wifi, Google Home, and an open source SDK, and enough gadgets to get started.
The Smart Things starter kit comes with a motion sensor, 2 open/close + temperature sensor, and a smart plug which also acts as a z-wave and zigbee repeater. The gadgets are very small, and can be easily installed out of sight.
A lot of the rules, and configurations are very simple out of the box. With this package you will have access to program one device for now; not much to start, so we’ll have to upgrade a few more devices in the home to make full use of the hub.
Installing the Smart Things hubs and associated gadgets are very simple. It’s pretty much:
- Plug into router
- Download App
- Walk through setup on app.
Here are some use cases that can be achieved with the Smart Things hub.
- Automatically turn on lights when you come home
- Automatically turn on/turn off heating/cooling based on presence; time of day; or based on motion. For instance, fall asleep at cooler temperature, and wake up to a warmer room, that slowly brightens like the sun rising, while music of your preference also rise to an acceptable level in the back ground; all this as your coffee maker kicks on to start making your morning brew.
- Automatically turn on lights to a specific level when doors are opened, or motion is sensed at a specific time of day or night. So that when you wake up for a glass of water, the lights turn on at 10% brightness, so that it doesn’t wake you up, and you have enough light to make it to your kitchen.
- Automatically turn off all lights when you leave home, as your phone acts as a presence sensor.
- Control the humidity in rooms
- And more