Turning your home into a smart home is the best thing you can do for your family. Over the years, home automation has advanced exponentially. The year 2020 brings you the best home automation innovations yet.
Every smart home has a hub; a centralized device that controls all your connected gadgets. The hub uses protocols such as:
- A home network
The best home automation system controls everything including security, lighting, heating, and entertainment. Using voice commands, an app on your mobile device, or a visual interface, you can turn your lights on and off. Also, you can adjust the temperature or play your favorite music.
Smart Home Products
The range of smart home products includes the following:
- Home security systems
- Smart lights
- Smoke detectors
- Flood detectors
- Music systems
- Video doorbells
- Smart TVs
- Smart plugs
- Smart locks
- Domestic robots
The Best Smart Home Systems
You will find a plethora of smart home products from different companies. All come with different features as well as benefits. Here is an analysis of some of the best smart home systems you will find in the market.
1. Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo uses Amazon’s Alexa voice-powered technology. You may have come across videos of people asking Alexa to do things. They ask Alexa trivia questions, request it to play songs, or ask for instructions.
Alexa also gives weather and traffic updates. You can use Echo to set up alerts as well as make calls. The Echo comes with several speakers that make it easy to be heard from anywhere in a large room.
Some of the reasons why Amazon Echo is a popular hub include the following:
- The setting up process is straightforward
- It supports voice commands
- It comes with a wide range of features
- Excellent compatibility
2. Samsung SmartThings Hub v3
Samsung offers an incredible hub with built-in ZigBee and Z-Wave. Hence, it is possible to connect to more devices than many other hubs. It also has functionality allowing you to create multiple scenarios for every gadget in your smart home.
A SmartThings hub with an in-built Wi-Fi is an excellent option. You do not need to connect it to your router. Also, you can place it in the best position to connect to all your devices. However, this one requires a constant power source as it does not have a backup battery.
The SmartThings hub is compatible with Google Home Assistant as well as Amazon Alexa. This hub makes the list because of factors such as:
- It is easy to set up
- You can create scenes and routines
- It is compatible with both Android and iOS gadgets
- It comes with a variety of communication protocols
- It does not require to be plugged into a router
As astounding as it sounds, you may notice some connectivity problems. Also, SmartThings is not compatible with Nest.
3. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
Amazon offers another stellar hub that supports ZigBee as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. It is hailed as the best hub for voice control. It also comes with a variety of finishes that can blend in well with your home décor.
You can use the Echo Plus:
- To make hands-free calls
- To ask Alexa to do things such as play music or give answers to questions
- As a home intercom system
Echo Plus 2nd Generation comes with 360-degree Dolby speakers and a mini woofer. It features the following benefits:
- Excellent voice control
- Compatibility will Alexa and IFTTT
- A range of different finishes
The second-generation Echo plus is not compatible with all devices. Also, some users have expressed reservations about the voice quality.
4. Google Home Hub
The Home Hub is a popular home automation system that uses Google Assistant to execute functions. It also supports voice commands. It performs tasks such as:
- Creating daily schedules
- Playing videos and music from streaming services
- Displaying information such as traffic, local weather, and local events
It displays a clock face on its interface when not in use. Alternatively, you can display photos from your Google Photo account on the interface.
Google Home Hub is a central hub for your smart home devices. You can use it to control your home temperature, security, lighting as well as entertainment. It integrates beautifully with Google Services which gives it an edge over other hubs.
However, expect quite a few ads and Google promotions. Also, its close-up interactions are excellent. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for interactions from the far side of the room.
Google Home works well with other devices and its visuals are user-friendly.
5. Wink Hub 2
You can set this hub up wirelessly or via a router with an Ethernet cable. Once it is set up, download the Wink app on your mobile device. Wink supports both Android and iOS. You can then control your smart home via the app after choosing the devices you want to connect with.
Like Google Home, Wink commands are issued through a visual interface. Unlike the Home Hub, the interface runs through your device. Hence, you do not have to squint across the room to access information.
The Wink Hub does not use voice commands but you can use the voice assistant installed in your device.
These devices offer a variety of pros and a few cons. Choose the one that best suits your home automation needs. It is also important to consider factors such as power sources and budgets.