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Smart Home 101: A How-To For Your Home Automation

Most of us don’t consider walking into our homes, flicking on the light, locking the door behind us or even playing music on a Bluetooth speaker a troublesome task. We do these things every day. It’s life. It’s muscle memory sometimes. But it’s the times when we just get settled under a warm blanket, forget to lock up before bed, or really want to sing along to the perfect shower jam that smart home and connected devices really make life great. 

For some of us, smart home locks, security cameras, light bulbs, speakers and …  well … a lot else, can be an incredible aid to our daily independence. People with mobility issues can make sure their home is secure without expending energy checking up on multiple areas, doors or windows. They can feel comfortable and safe knowing with a few taps on their mobile device their home is protected. 

Everyone can find a use for smart home devices. Whether you want to build a smart home out of convenience, fun, or a need to gain your independence back, it’s important to pick the right devices and understand how they connect with one another. 

In this blog series, Friendly PC will cover the myriad of smart devices available today and how you can begin building the foundation of your smart home. Our first post of the series discusses smart home hubs. 

Smart Home Hubs

If you are about to purchase your first smart home device or have already picked up one or two, you’ve likely seen another product bundled with the actual speaker or light — a smart home hub. What does it really do? Do you need one to create the best smart home setup? Let’s start here.

What is a smart home hub? 

Smart home hubs are essentially bridges. It’s a piece of hardware that connects smart devices on a home network and lets them communicate. Think of it like this: You’ve installed a smart lock, speaker and two light bulbs in your home. Each device is from a different brand and while each has its own app to control the device on your phone, you cannot adjust each device without opening 3 different apps. A smart home hub acts as a bridge and unifying device so that you can control your locks, speakers and lights all in the same place. 

Do you need a smart home hub?

As smart devices, especially speakers, are improved with more functions they’ve begun to take the place of smart hubs. 

The Google Home Hub (aptly named) and Amazon’s Alexa devices already provide a hub functionality allowing devices from other brands and product lines to link directly via their controlling apps. If you want to interact with multiple brands or products with voice commands, you’re better off using a smart speaker to act as your home hub because dedicated home hubs don’t have native voice functionality.

However, using a smart speaker as a home hub could also decrease the functionality of some devices. For example, Hue light devices are limited to on/off and dimmer functions without the Hue hub

At the end of the day, how you intend to use your devices will influence your decision to purchase a dedicated home hub or use the functions provided by smart speakers and other like devices. 

Friendly PC is here to help you build your smart home foundation and answer your most important questions. We can even install your devices to ensure they use the best protocols and are secure. To request a Friendly PC tech’s assistance, contact us!