There are hundreds of smart home devices and systems on the market today, each with different specs and features. With so many options, you’ll need to ensure that the gadgets you add are compatible with each other or buy a smart hub that will bridge any gaps.
Generally, devices from the same manufacturer, like Nest or Insteon, will work with each other; it’s when you start mixing brands that compatibility gets trickier.
Proper Planning Gives You Easier Control
If you build out an interconnected smart home system, you don’t want to have to log in to multiple apps or devices to set temperature, lighting conditions, and security settings. Instead, if you build your system right, you can just log in to one system’s app and control all devices from it.
In the event that you want to mix and match devices, a home automation hub could work as a bridge between the gadgets.
Some popular smart home automation hubs are Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Google Home, and Amazon Echo. Here’s a closer look at those options.
- Amazon Echo: Amazon Echo speaks with a growing number of devices every day. It currently integrates with Belkin WeMo, Nest, Philips Hue, ecobee, Honeywell, and Insteon, for starters. You can read more about Amazon’s product support at the Alexa Smart Home Store.
- Samsung SmartThings: Samsung SmartThings comes in at a lower price point than Amazon Echo. It also supports a larger number of protocols. SmartThings works with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave standards. It also supports a number of products, including offerings from Bose, GE, iHome, Kwikset, and Skybell. For a full list, review the Samsung SmartThings documentation.
- Google Home: Google Home is a newer hub, so it offers fewer product integrations than Samsung SmartThings and Amazon Echo. Even so, the current integrations are ones people commonly use. Google Home supports audio services like Spotify and Pandora, plus home automation services such as the Nest Home system, Philips Hue, August, Vivint, and Wink. For a full list of compatible services and products, visit Google Home.
- Wink Hub 2: The Wink Hub 2 supports Zigbee, Z-Wave, and BLE. It integrates with Amazon Alexa, Lutron, Philips Hue, iHome, and Canary. The Wink’s downside rests in customizability; it lacks the advanced feature sets that Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo, and Google Home provide. You can learn more about Wink here.
HomeKit and Nest sometimes are mistaken for home automation systems, but neither fits the true definition. HomeKit acts more like a protocol, with some hubs supporting it. Nest facilitates a number of integrations, so it performs similar to a hub in many ways. Nest, however, likely will remain more product oriented than system oriented with the advent of Google Home.
There are a few other home automation systems, but they tend to be lesser known. The Insteon primarily serves the Insteon protocol, for example, and Lowe’s sells the Iris. The Lenovo Smart Assistant could become a contender in the home automation market, but the verdict remains out.
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