A home automation hub can be a critical component in any house equipped with smart technology. It’s what connects multiple smart technologies in a residence so they can be controlled by a single interface. With the right setup, a hub can also allow communication between applicable devices, which is important for home or business owners who want to move beyond single-task automation.
Do you need a home automation hub?
You don’t need a home automation hub to automate a single function in your home. If you want to automate access to the residence, for example, you might install a smart lock system that lets you control access via your mobile device. The same might be true of automated lighting, smart thermostats and even your entertainment system.
However, if you have multiple smart automation devices in your home and you’re controlling all of them via manufacturer apps from your smartphone, things can get confusing and inconvenient quickly. That’s even more true if you manage properties and are controlling all these devices for multiple locations.
A home automation hub makes it so all your smart devices have a degree of connectivity to each other, which makes it easier to program, control and use everything.
What is multitask automation?
Multitask automation lets you program smart technology to perform sequential tasks — and a hub lets you program those tasks across multiple devices. For example, if you turn your audio/video system on to watch a movie, your home automation hub might be cued to set your room lighting to a predetermined level to make it more comfortable to view a film. You could even tie the HVAC system to that sequence, causing the thermostat to be set at a lower level when you watch movies to create a theater experience.
For property management purposes, you could program the hub to ensure all lights and appliances are off and the HVAC is set to a default level once a vacationer enters a checkout code into the door lock.
Multitask automation works on if-this-then-that principles, and with the right hardware, you can create complex chains of events for your home or property. This can also come in handy when you’re showing a property and want to automate preparation without going through an extensive checklist every time.
What can you connect to a home automation hub?
Home automation is currently limited by your own imagination and the number of products on the market. You can’t just connect any appliance or device to a hub; it has to be a smart device and meet the minimal requirements of the hub you install.
Some products that allow home automation include:
- Audio/video setups
- Home security systems
- Smart locks
- Television and project systems
- Remote control fireplaces (gas or electric)
- Lighting (indoor or outdoor)
- HVAC systems
- Garage doors
- Water heaters
- Ranges and ovens
- Swimming pools and hot tubs
Are home automation hubs wireless?
Whether or not something connects to the hub via wires depends on the installation specifics and what type of device you’re using. Some security systems, for example, are wired. Others are not. With the right technology, you won’t need wires running all through your home, though, and today’s automation devices can often be installed quickly and inexpensively.
A home automation hub is like the brain that runs a building full of devices. While you don’t need one to access some smart device benefits, a hub can make full automation of a property simpler and more seamless.
Chris Stasik has more than 20 years’ experience in selling, installing and designing home audio/video and technology systems.