What is Smart Home Hub?

A smart home hub is a kind of a gadget or we can say hardware or software that connects &Controls all IoT devices on a home automation network and controls communications among these devices.

Smart Home Hub
Smart Home Hub

Smart home hubs are designed for IoT devices, uses Zigbee, Z-Wave protocols or Bluetooth, in addition to Wi-Fi for various reasons.

  • Smart Devices are Low Power Devices, Some of them run on Battery.
  • Date Rate is Low: Smart Devices are in principle designed f to consume less data .
  • Less Computing Power: Supporting a full fledged WiFi Networking stack requires more CPU & RAM usage. Smart Devices (IoT) are designed to sleep and wake up intermittently… Keeping a wifi connectivity requires frequently scanning and sending wifi beacons, Not So good for battery life.
  • Mesh Capability: Zigbee, Z-wave, BLE have strong mesh capability and satisfies all the constrains of low CPU, ram, low power consumption .

Take Away

  • Operating Smart Devices via Mobile is not feasible. Mobile supports only WiFi and BLE.
  • Voice Assistants like Alexa, Google Home aren’t equipped with IoT Protocols.
  • As the Smart-Home adoption is increasing, the realization that WiFi and BLE are not sufficient. Hence there is a need for a dedicated Home-OS with capable Hardware that supports all IoT Protocols and Radios.

How to Automate Your Home Without Smart Home Hub

Integrate multiple Smart Home Products, make them work together, Design Useful actions when some Events occurs

Smart Home Hub, in a centralized platform, a smart home hub acts as the heart of a smart home network, linking diverse devices and systems together. This also simplifies users’ networks and gives them a single smart home application to control all the different systems and apps. 

  • Easing network congestion, Smart home hub can also divert traffic away from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth as the master home automation controller.
  • Home on Auto Pilot &Remote Access with all the smart home devices connected at home, Smart Hub Cloud Connectivity users can also access the various systems remotely and control them with their smart home app while away from home. This provides you with control over your smart home products operating on the same frequency as the hub. Other hubs operate through the Wi-Fi network of your household.
  • Easing network congestion, Smart home hub can also divert traffic away from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth as the master home automation controller.
Home Hub
Home Hub
  • Some hubs support various protocols, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave, such as the Wink Hub 2 and Samsung’s SmartThings Hub. Wink Hub 2 even supports Internet-based protocols that are coming up.
  • If you already have IoT devices from various manufacturers or plan to use them, you may want to consider one of these flexible hubs to control the devices of your home.

Do You Need a Smart Home Hub?

Smart Home
Smart Home

All Devices are Not Created Equal!!!

Devices controlled through Wi-Fi of your home may not need a hub because they use the same protocol. You can download an application such as IFTTT, Node-red a free platform that allows you to connect and control various apps for your favorite devices through Single Interface.

IFTTT is cloud based while Node-red can run locally on Raspberry Pi(Even Raspberry Pi Zero W will also work)

  • Various devices Manufacture’s(OEM) Sell their own proprietary hub to support that allows you to control the same manufacturer with multiple devices. These may be included with or available as an upsell with smart devices. You can use the Philips Hue Bridge Hub which is designed to connect up to 50 Hue devices, as well as some Zigbee-enabled devices from third parties, such as Nest products.
  • But a more robust hub makes it easier to control them all via one app if you have multiple devices from other manufacturers. With third-party devices, most manufacturer-specific hubs, including Phillips, may not work as well. Similarly, for your Apple HomeKit-enabled devices, AppleTV can work as a hub, but will not work for other devices.
  • SmartThings hub from Samsung and the Wink 2 Hub is an alternative that connects to a wide range of devices. These hubs can streamline the control of most of them if you have many devices from different producers in your home, allowing you to programme various scenarios to create a truly automated home.
  • You do not need a smart home hub if all of your smart home gadgets are Wi-Fi enabled or you don’t bother using multiple applications to monitor them.
  • However, finding a device that helps you to monitor all of your smart devices through a single screen, whether it’s a smartphone app or your own voice, would allow you to enjoy the comfort of a fully wired home.

You’ll need a decent internet connection to make all this work smoothly.

  • It would be nice to make all the smart home gadgets function on the same wavelength as life becomes stressful. Often it takes a centre to create endless devices in your home if such peace is to be attained. But not everyone wants an insightful hub to operate seamlessly.
  • The same function can be served by a clever speaker like the Amazon Echo or the Google Home, with the relevant software serving the central command for any device. Herstellers have even started to bundle jacks into other gadgets such as safety systems and mesh WiFi routers to ease home automation for beginners.

How To Integrate Smart Products With Smart Home Hub?

If you love being able to monitor your phone and all your smart home gadgets, then that’s fine. However, trying to contend with all these different applications on different platforms can be complicated, and having only one app to monitor it is definitely easier.

Don’t panic!!!, because that’s what smart home centers are here to do. Not only do they allow smart home devices to integrate with each other to perform all kinds of complicated functions, but in one interface, you can use the hub’s software to monitor several devices. You can get all that in the same app instead of opening the smart thermostat app to set the temperature and then turning on the application of the smart light to change the lights. You can also connect different remote devices (such as this remote Z-Wave) to the hub and allocate the keys to various activities you sometimes do use your smart devices. All these items can be managed much better.

So, now we’ll learn how to integrate smart products with Samsung’s SmartThings Hub.

If you have completed building and setting up the hub with the simple installation process, here is how to connect devices to the SmartThings hub.

To integrate a device, follow these steps in the Samsung SmartThings app:

Step 1: Go to the Marketplace. Click Things–>Stand New Computer Attach. The app would then state, “I’m searching for new gadgets” and then continue with a revolving circle. The device will be accompanied by the device list when the ‘Things Found’ message is found.

Step 2: Tap and name the system you want to set up. To allocate the equipment to a room or install a new room, press the Select room.

Step 3: Next click. To customise the computer, follow the in-app instructions. Click Done when it is full.

Alternatively, by two steps you should connect computers.

Step 4: Go to the menu. Select Add Stuff – > Continue Attaching New Unit.

Step 5: At last click on My Home click. Click the button for more. To install a new computer, click: Thing – > Attach a new device.

Things You Can Automate With Smart Home Hub

An intelligent home hub can automate almost everything running on electricity.

Here are some of the most useful and common features of home automation:

1. Automatic Lights

Automatic Lights
Automatic Lights

If somebody enters a room, you can use sensors to activate the light. In hallways and stairs where light switches cannot easily be found, this may be extremely helpful.

More advanced programming of lights is also possible. For example, after 10 pm and only slowly ramp up to 30 per cent brightness your lights can be turned very weak. This will make your sleep less noisy throughout the night.

2. Automatic door locks

When you enter the house, sensors will sense your smartphone and automatically unlock the front door or the garage.

A host of other systems, such as lighting, music and heating, can also be activated by opening your door or garage. These systems can also recognise individuals and each person can have individual settings.

3. The smart security cameras

Smart Security Cameras
Smart Security Cameras

These cameras will sense motion outside your home and alert you on your mobile by sending you live photos in order to determine the situation for yourself.

4. Automatic blinds

Automatic Blinds
Automatic Blinds

In order to optimize the temperature and reduce your need for heating and cooling, sensors can detect the temperature and brightness in a room and automatically close or open your blinds.

Your blinds can close automatically on a hot day in summer, or they can open automatically on a sunny day in winter to make the most of the sun and reduce the amount of heat you need.

5. Automatic heating and cooling

Automatic Heating and Cooling

If sensors detect no one is using the room, you can schedule your heating and cooling to switch automatically at certain times or temperatures and to have them switch off automatically.

Top 5 Smart Home Hub

A smart house wants a smart home hub. You need a home automation platform to keep them all running together and all accessible inside one app as you combine smart home products from a lot of different manufacturers.

Here are our choices for your home’s best smart home hub. If you’re just starting out or already dedicated to the ecosystem, we have the perfect hub for you.

1. Samsung‘s SmartThings Hub 

Samsung SmartThings Hub - Smart Home Hub
Samsung SmartThings Hub

The SmartThings hub by Samsung of the third generation is our top choice of the best smart home hub, since Zigbee and Z-Wave are within the hub, so you can communicate more than any others with hundreds of smartphones. In addition, the versatility of the SmartThings programme helps you to build a wide range of different situations with all the devices in your house.

The SmartThings Hub edition is embedded with Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to plug it into your router anymore. So you can put it in the right place to attach it to all your smart home gadgets. It doesn’t have a battery backup, though, so you can’t turn on your lights if your power goes out.

  1. Wireless or Ethernet Networking Supports
  2. Provides backup battery for extra efficiency
  3. Installation is an easy to follow step-by – step guide
  1. The usage of application is quite complex
  2. Can not balance every smart brand
  3. Certain accessories are not free

2. Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show - Smart Home Hub
Amazon Echo Show

One of the best smart home hubs and intelligent displays on a single device, the Amazon Echo Show of the second generation upgrades the original in every sense: The screen is larger, brighter, the interface is even more entertaining, the camera is better for video calls.

Much like the Echo Plus Amazon, Zigbee is embedded into the Echo Show so you can directly connect intelligent home devices to the show. However, this is a smart speaker at $229, which is one of the most expensive. Before considering it as a smart home platform, we would suggest buying it for its other features.

  1. Sound quality is richer than many smart speakers competing.
  2. Innovative Drop-In with the closest and most valued.
  3. Different mobile home systems friendly.
  1. Extreme lack of visual applications
  2. Plan for the divergence of opinion
  3. The camera is not performing well in backlit rooms.

3. Apple HomePod

Apple HomePod - Smart Home Hub
Apple HomePod

Thanks to its large range of speakers and microphones, the Apple HomePod’s smart speaker automatically sets the HomePod to every roaming room. Though bulky, it’s a pretty attractive unit, and when you trigger Siri, the top lights up in a rainbow of colours.

As opposed to Alexa and Google Assistant, there are relatively few people who work with HomeKit. Apple has nevertheless established a fairly comprehensive range of features to help you monitor these devices depending on venue, daytime and more. You can potentially do better than you can with HomeKit with Google Assistant.

However, this is an expensive speaker, and Siri is more than Alexa or Google Assistant as a virtual assistant in general. And some wood furnishings will stain the silicone base of HomePod.

  1. Quite comfortable to use
  2. There are excellent interiors
  3. It’s cool design
  1. Not budget efficient
  2. Sound can be improved
  3. Only works for IOS.

4. Google Nest Hub Max

Google Nest Hub Max - Smart Home Hub
Google Nest Hub Max

A great smart display is the Google Nest Hub Max: it has a spacious 10-inch screen that can be used to watch YouTube and Netflix, look up recipes, news, and more; its dual speakers are powerful, and its 6.5MP camera is great for video calls from Google Pair, and will even follow you as you walk around the room.

Connectivity-wise, it’s got Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Thread, a new smart home networking protocol that Google has been trying to popularise for a few years. The Nest Hub Max display can be used to view live videos from Google Assistant-compatible home surveillance cameras, video doorbells and baby monitors, and on-screen settings to change smart light levels. However, as a smart home platform, Google Home doesn’t have the same sophistication as Alexa or HomeKit.

  1. Integrates into and acts as a security camera for Nest. 
  2. Also supports Google Cast.
  3. Awesome sound quality
  1. Just Google Duo works with video calls
  2. Gestures can be very witty
  3. Not pocket friendly 

5. Hubitat Elevation

Hubitat Elevation - Smart Home Hub
Hubitat Elevation

This is the best smart home hub for power users because of its steep learning curve but incredibly granular control. Homeowners who want to create unbelievably specific rules and situations for activating their smart home devices will appreciate everything you can do from within the web interface of Hubitat.

This smart home hub itself is very small but packs in both Zigbee and Z-Wave antennas, the size of a dense coaster. It lacks Wi-Fi, though, so to use it, you’ll have to plug it into your router. It lacked a smartphone app when we first reviewed the Hubitat Elevation, so you had to control everything via a web interface. Since then, for both Android and iPhones, the company has added a mobile app, making it easier to monitor your smart home on the go.

  1. Have a very strong development community
  2. Supports Alexa/Echo well
  3. Built-in support for Lutron Pro Hub including Pico Remotes
  1. Not a beginner’s friendly device
  2. Quite a number of bugs present
  3. Not that much good UI

Comparison Table

S.No.DevicesDimensions
(inchs)
Weight 
(lbs)
PriceAmazon LinksSpecification Link
1.Samsung SmartThings Hub4.9 x 4.2 x
1.3
0.50$241.5
Amazon Link
Spec Link
2.Amazon Echo Show7.4 x 3.5 x 7.42.58$ 94Amazon LinkSpec Link
3.Apple HomePod6.8 x 5.65.51$ 267Apple LinkSpec Link
4.Google Nest Hub Max9.8 x 4 x 7.22.91$160.8Google StoreSpec Link
5.Hubitat Elevation8.4 x 5.3 x 1.40.50$147.9Amazon LinkSpec Link

OpenSource Smart Home Hubs

Right now, smart home is a trending term. It brings together our home with technologies to facilitate surveillance, control and automation. In short, it enables us to manage and control our home more intelligently, easily.

A smart home is equipped with a central brain system that controls devices, equipment, sensors, and peripherals such as lights, climate control and certain tasks such as lighting while watching a movie.

The advantages of open-source platforms are tremendous, and so many home automation platforms offer free service, usable applications for Internet enthusiasts all over the world are a fantastic opportunity. The people behind these home automation platforms have worked so very hard to build such a strong codebase.

Just like most other software platforms, a good solution requires a community that is equally strong and willing to provide support and improve its first state.

Here is a list of some OpenSource Smart Home Hubs.

1. OpenHAB

With OpenHAB, if the user needs a limited system to protect his privacy, the user does not need cloud operations, but its developers make their cloud-friendly system a reality. In brief, OpenHAB can support Amazon Alexa, Amazon, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. OpenHAB offers a Cloud version that can be hosted on its service or hosted on its server to make OpenHAB ready for the cloud.

An OpenHAB is a long-term home automation open-source system that also has a strong supporting community. It has an architecture ready for plug-ins that helps developers to add and integrate new devices or services. It also has a REST API developer, custom design with triggers based on time and events, notification service and VoiceUI.

The OpenHAB runs on Linux, Windows and macOS, but also on Pine64 and Docker Raspberry PI. It provides mobile apps for iPhone and iPad based apps and iOS.

2. Home Assistant

The Home Assistant is an open-source home automation system operated by the community. It is possible to work on a Raspberry PI or any local server. It has a wide range of connected devices, services, sensors, camera and smart automobile services.

With Amazon Alexa, google assistant and open Source voice assistant Mycroft.io, the home assistants provide a comprehensive and seamless integration.

There are over 1400 services and devices supported by the Home Assistant. They are classified under dozens of different categories: VoiceUI, Alarm, Automation, Car, Energy, Sensors, Health, Image processing, Multimedia, and Media players.

3. HomeGenie

HomeGenie is an open-source server platform and a developer-friendly API that has been designed to manage, monitor and automate internet-connected devices (smart devices), and. It ensures seamless integration with numerous devices, services and supports numerous protocols and technologies such as IR / RF Control or UPnP / DLNA.

On Windows, Linux and macOS, HomeGenie can be installed. Even for novice users, it is quite easy to instal, configure and manage.

Home Assistant

Home Assistant, a Python-based platform that seems able to integrate with nearly every smart device or platform you can consider. A Home Assistant acts as a smart home control hub which has all common functions from a home automation platform to control simple smart home technologies, advanced building automation, security alarm management and home security systems and energy measuring device monitoring.

  • Initial Release – 17 September 2013
  • Latest Released Version – Version 3.0.0
  • How 3rd Party Devices Can Be Integrated?
  1. Navigate to ‘Configuration’ and then ‘Integrations’ from Home Assistant. Pick ‘SmartThings’ by clicking on the plus button. 
  2. Confirm the URL is appropriate for a callback. If it continues with https:/Hooks.nabuca.casa using the Home Assistant Cloud. If the URL is not right, upgrade, restart and retry your home assistant settings. 
  3. Enter your Token for Personal Entry. 
  4. To add the device to the Home Assistant, pick the SmartThings location. 
  5. On the opening window:-
  • Login (if not signed in) to your SmartThings account. 
  • Change the name of the show optionally and press on ‘Done’ below the display. 
  • Click ‘Allow’ at the bottom right of the computer to authorise incorporation. 
  • To shut it by manual, press ‘Close Window.’ 
  1. Select ‘Finish’ to return to Home Assistant.

Features

  1. Easy and quick to install
  2. User-friendly mobile interface
  3. No cloud data needed to be stored
  4. OpenSource Home Hub, FREE of cost.
  5. Easy integration with various appliances and services

OpenHAB

OpenHAB which is also known as Open Home Automation Bus is an open source home automation software written in Java. It is installed on premise and links to devices and utilities from various vendors. As of 2019, close to 300 bindings are available as OSGi modules. Activities, such as flipping on lights, are activated by rules, voice commands, or controls on the OpenHAB user interface. The OpenHAB project launched in 2010.

  • Initial Release – 2010
  • Latest Released Version – Version 2.5
  • How 3rd Party Devices Can Be Integrated?
  1. Install the OpenHAB application  
  2. If you already own a smart device, scan the add-ons for the brand or technology used (or simply review the list of add-ons that you can know for any technologies or services)
  3. Set up an openHAB binding
  4. Set a ‘thing’
  5. If not created by the binding, add a channel to the ‘thing’
  6. Set a ‘item’
  7. Connection to your ‘item’ the ‘channel’
  8. Build a sitemap

Features

  1. Seller and agnostic technology
  2. Designed in java
  3. Executes on every JVM-capable system
  4. Integration of various household automation technologies
  5. Comes with numerous web-based interfaces
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