Can your smart home still be smart without the cloud?
What does local control mean and what makes it different from cloud control?
Imagine that you are at home and open up your Vera app and change the temperature in your child’s room or turn on her lights. Because they are on the same local network, your app is able to send a direct message to your device—this is local control. Unlike other platforms, the Ezlo hubs have the ability to work completely offline, allowing you to instantly control all your devices without going through the cloud, or without having an internet connection at all. There simply is no reason why a “turn the lights on” command should leave your home and be routed through a cloud on the internet then sent back to you.
Now, let’s consider that you are on your way to work and get a notification that there’s motion detected in your backyard. You take your phone and check the backyard cameras for activity—this is cloud control because you are not in the same location where your camera is. The cloud is needed when you want to check on things at home while you’re away.
Let’s say you want to grab a late-night snack from the fridge (don’t worry, everyone does it sometimes) and you open your app to turn the night light on. With local control, you feel the vibration feedback of your phone and see the lights turning on almost simultaneously!
Since you don’t have to wait for the command to be sent to the cloud and back before your night light turns on, there are fewer chances of you stepping on a mis-placed Lego. A round trip to the cloud and back takes time and the latency can be greatly increased depending on the speed of your internet connection. By eliminating this round trip, your Ezlo controller has almost instant communication with any devices within your home.
This is well exemplified by this little experiment we did a while back.
The other key benefit of local control is that when the internet goes down, your system will still be up and running. Having the ability to work without a permanent internet connection and the power to process your scenes and device control locally not only improves reliability compared to the cloud-dependent hubs but also makes sure that you are always in control of your devices and automations.
What are the trade-offs?
Keep in mind that while the controller is capable of working offline, you can’t control devices remotely or check up on things while you’re away. The reason is because in local mode,e your home cannot receive any information from the outside without an active internet connection. Other functionalities like voice control, weather integration, or geolocation-based scenes will not be accessible either or will have limited functionality without a connection to the cloud.
Ideally, mixing local and cloud control is the best from both worlds, and that’s what we’ve managed to achieve with the new Ezlo controllers. We’re combining the advantages of local control and automation processing, with the secure cloud connectivity to deliver the type of control you need in any situation.