If you are considering installing smart automation for your home, the key piece of equipment you will need is a smart home hub. In your research so far, you will undoubtedly have come across the term and how it is essential for automated home systems.
But, if you are going to make the right choice for a smart home in Australia, you will need to have a clear idea about what exactly this piece of equipment is and why it’s necessary.
Below we will talk you through exactly what a home automation hub is and help you decide if you need one in your home. We’ll also look into the different types of smart home hubs and what options you may need in your home.
What is a Smart Home Automation Hub?
Before we get started looking at your smart home assistant options, we need to look at exactly what an automation hub is and how it works within a smart home system.
Through a smart home hub, the IoT (Internet of Things) will connect and control your smart doorbells, home security systems, motion sensors, smart locks, smart thermostats, and a wide range of other smart devices.
For some devices, you can use a smart application on your phone or tablet to control various devices, for others, you will need a dedicated smart hub with voice control to turn your smart lights and security systems on and off.
One of the problems a lot of people face when setting up a smart home in Australia is the fact that there is no overarching home automation hub that will control all of the different smart devices in your home.
What Does a Smart Home Automation Hub Do?
A smart home hub automation system acts as a nerve centre and controls the automation for home devices on your property. There is a wide range of smart devices which are controllable via a dedicated app you can download onto your device.
However, if you have several different smart devices in your home, it can become complicated to control each with its own app.
That’s where a smart hub comes in. A multi-purpose hub will tie your smart home devices together to make automation for homes quicker and more convenient. So although you can technically get by without one, most people with smart homes in Australia find that a hub is a key part of their smart home systems.
Do You Need a Home Automation Hub for your Smart Home in Australia?
Whether you need to install a smart hub for your home automated systems will depend on how many devices you have in your home, what types of smart devices you have, and how you want to control them.
There are a variety of different smart hubs available, some of these are only compatible with smart home devices for a certain brand and some allow automation for home devices of different types and brands.
A smart home hub that allows you to control various brands and devices will give you the most flexibility when building and enhancing your smart automation for home system.
A hub allows integration and for devices to communicate together to provide a better service. For example, if you have a smart smoke detector in your home, unless it is integrated into a hub for automated home systems, it will only be able to raise the alarm.
However, if it is connected to a smart hub, you may be able to automate a system so that security locks are automatically unlocked to allow a quicker exit from your property.
How Does a Smart Automation for Home System Work?
A smart home automation hub will provide an integrated network for compatible devices in your home and will act as a point of convergence for data from each connected item. You will also be able to use the hub to control and forward data for the devices.
The hub will generally have a dedicated switch that controls which data is necessary and what information needs to be forwarded to devices. Hubs can also process data to compute orders and information sent to the connected devices.
Essentially, you can use a hub as a multi-purpose remote for all the integrated devices and appliances in your home automation system. Using voice commands or displays you can use it to turn devices on and off, set schedules and automate various tasks around your home.
Can a Smart Home Hub Control All of Your Smart Home Devices?
Although a hub allows streamlined automation for home devices, that doesn’t mean you can discard all of the dedicated hubs which came with your smart devices.
Your centralised hub will act as a meeting place for all of these hubs, not an overall replacement. If you don’t use the original hubs as part of the integrated system, this can lead to a limit on the functionality of the device.
Do You Need a Dedicated Smart Home Hub or Is a Smart Speaker Enough?
Whether a home automation hub is required will vary from home to home and the smart devices you have installed.
If all of the smart devices in your home run on wi-fi it is possible that you can control them without a hub, although it will be a much more consulted process.
For some homes, using a smart speaker system, such as the Amazon Echo speaker (which provides Amazon Alexa), Google Assistant, and the Apple Homekit/HomePod, is enough.
However, these smart speaker systems will often have limited compatibility with devices from other brands. For example, although Amazon Echo allows you to control some other brands with Alexa, you cannot control Z-Wave devices through the hub.
Smart homes in Australia which have a large and complicated automation for-home system will benefit from a multi-functional hub that allows easy control and integration.
You may find that a speaker system is enough, to begin with, but as you include more devices and appliances in your home, a smart home hub becomes the more practical choice.
What Hubs for Automated Home Systems Are Available?
There is a wide range of home automation hubs on the market, each with varying compatibility and functionality. Some of the most popular options include:
- Philips Hue Bridge Hub
- Google Nest Hub
- Amazon Echo Plus
- Apple Tv 4K Hub
- Insteon Smart Hub
- Samsung SmartThings Hub
- Logitech Harmony Hub
- Wink Hub
- Securifi Almond 3
Before investing in a smart home hub, it is important to check that they are compatible with the smart devices you already have.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Smart Home Hub?
When deciding which home automation hub is best for your home, you need to consider several factors.
Do you want voice control in your home automation system?
If you want to be able to control your smart devices by voice control, you need to make sure that your hub choice can integrate with smart speakers such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa.
Check the System Compatibility with Your Phone
It is always best to make sure that your home automation hub is compatible with your smartphone operating system before making any purchases. The majority of smart hubs will be compatible with both Android and iOS systems, but it is always best to double-check.
What Integration Compatibility Does the Hub Offer?
As we discussed above, some hubs allow you to control only certain brands, whereas others offer a wider range of compatibility. Check that the hub you are considering offers integration with all the smart devices and appliances you have in your home.
How Does the Hub Connect With Smart Devices?
Some hubs for home automation will connect with devices via Wi-fi. other options will need a direct connection to your internet router.
How Will You Control the Smart Hub?
The majority of smart home automation hubs can be accessed and controlled via a smartphone app. However, some hubs can also be controlled via a laptop or PC.
Summary- What is a Home Automation Hub (and Do You Need One)?
As you can see above, when deciding on the best smart home hub options for your home, there is a lot to consider. Compatibility and functionality can vary depending on which brand you purchase.
It’s important to make sure you pick a hub that will offer you control of all the devices you want to include in your automated home systems and will be compatible with new devices as they come on the market.
If you need help with planning your smart home system and choosing the best home automation hub for your smart home in Australia, our experts at Canny Electrics are available to talk through your options.
Purchasing your smart home automation hub is an important decision that will affect how quickly and easily your smart home in Australia will function.
We can help you make the best decisions in terms of what devices will make your life easier and which home automation hub will be the best fit for your home.