Nav is often the backbone of the smarthome and you can choose from a comprehensive list of hub manufacturers. But not all smarthomes are made the same, and not everyone is worth your consideration. Here are some to skip.
Smart Hubs Tie Together Your Devices
The first thing you should learn with smarthomes is that there is no single standard for communication between smarthome devices. Some smart devices use Z-Wave, some Zigbee, and others use either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. When you want a Z-Wave smart light to work with a Wi-Fi jack, you need something to bridge the gap. So far, smart hubs are a way to fulfill that role.
Wink and SmartThings are well-known smart hubs, but there are many other options with different functions. While some of these options may be good, others should not be put into your home. They can't stay too long, or they can't be compatible with enough smarthome devices.
RELATED: Google and Amazon kill the Smarthome hub, and that's good
Iris of Lowe's is an abandoned hub
Also Products from large companies fail, and Iris by Lowes is no exception. Iris may have been one of the earliest smart hubs available, first launch in 2012, but despite being adequately competent and supported by Lowe, it never took off. Mistakes were made, including a $ 10 monthly subscription to functionality other hubs offered for free and lack of support for multiple users – eventually the hardware trade was out.
First, Lowe announced that he wanted to find a buyer to take over the Iris product line, but later made a face and decided on a complete shutdown. The Iris hub does not work after March 31, 2019. You will not find them in Lowe's stores anymore, but if you see them for aftermarket sales you should send.
Securifi is Radio Silent on Updates
Securifi has been around for many years and has always made high promises. Its Almond 3S device will include both network routing features and smart hub capability, along with promised integration with Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, Philips Hue and others. The problem is that this has been the ongoing promise of a possible project for several years.
Securifi's latest update on the product came via Twitter promising completion was near April 2018. It offers Almond 3 but describes it as a router that paints as a smart hub. Users on the Securify forum have complained of a lack of firmware updates to address existing issues. Your smarthome setup can break, and there's nothing you can do about it. So the best step you can take is to avoid a product that already has a questionable track record.
Insteon uses a protocol separated from Z-Wave and ZigBee
At $ 80, Insteon offers a competitive priced hub that has an impressive number of integrations. Insteon will work with your Nest thermostat, Google Home, Amazon Echo and your Logitech Harmony hub. If your house is large, Insteon will still work well as Insteon units create a network network to expand their range.
If you are wondering at this point why Insteon made this list is the clue in the wording "Insteon Devices" above. Rather than using ZigBee or Z-Wave (or both as most smart hubs do), Insteon builds on its own proprietary protocol. While it has benefits like dual-band support, the downside is that you can only use devices made for the Insteon hub.
That list is smaller than either Zigbee or Z-Wave, so you put all your eggs in a basket and limit the eggs you can have at the same time. The better option is to choose a smart hub that supports both Zigbee and Z-Wave to expand your possibilities as much as possible.
Wireless Gateway is for IKEA lighting only
IKEA surprised the world when they announced a hope in the smarthome world. It prompted light, followed by a light switch, a dimmer and a gateway for external control. Eventually, IKEA added a smart plug, Alexa and Siri support.
Compared to other smart bulbs (especially compared to Philips Hue), wireless pricing is similar or cheaper, but it is still their only advantage. In addition to offering only white light bulbs, the port only supports IKEA's small set of devices and does not play well with other systems. If you want to use a Z-Wave or Zigbee lock or sensor, you still need another hub. So, it is better to skip the Wireline completely.
Unfortunately, there are too many hubs and sometimes it seems that the list will not stop growing. So, if you are looking to start a smart home, look carefully at your choices, weigh the benefits and disadvantages of each device. If you are well-judged in your choices, there are cheap smarthome items. But be careful not to go down a road that will force you to backtrack and start over.