It is essential to talk about a smart home hub when planning for your first smart home. But, what is a smart home hub? Do you need to own one? And when we are talking about hubs, it is important also to understand their protocols. Find the simple explanations now.
What is a smart home hub?
A smart home hub is a device that unifies several smart devices under one roof. The main goal of unifying them is to allow homeowners to control them under one app. As a result, homeowners do not need to use various apps for their smart home devices.
On the contrary, if you do not unify your smart devices, your smart home is actually against the point of home automation, which is to add extra convenience to your daily.
Ultimately, the hub will allow you to control multiple smart devices under a single app, even though your devices come from different brands. As a result, you can create a schedule, set a scene for your lighting, or monitor them without needing to open several different apps.
And, how is this possible that a hub can connect them all? It is because the hub becomes the bridge that connects your smart devices with each other. Thus, allowing them to communicate with each other.
Do you need a smart home hub?
A smart home will provide you with a hassle-free experience when you have multiple smart devices. As an illustration, you do not have to juggle between various apps just to create a schedule for your motorised curtains. All you have to do is going to the app provided by your smart home hub and interact with your smart home devices there.
However, owning a smart home hub does not mean all of your smart devices will automatically work together. You can only unify and make them work together if they use the same smart home protocol.
What is a smart home protocol, and why you have to understand it
In simpler terms, a smart home protocol is a “language” that is used by your smart devices. They use protocols to connect with your hub and also interact with other smart devices. Nowadays, many smart home devices support one or more of the following protocols:
Your smart home hub or devices can use Wi-Fi as their protocol. Wi-Fi is like the most accessible protocol to attract people to implement home automation at their place. However, running a hub and many devices that only utilise Wi-Fi will be bad news for your internet speed. Why? Because your hub and devices will slow it down.
Zigbee is also a wireless communication protocol that your hubs or devices may use. In fact, many smart home products support this protocol too. It is because Zigbee provides adequate security, low energy consumption and does not slow down your internet speed because Zigbee does not utilise the same frequency as Wi-Fi.
If you are looking for smart home hubs or devices that offer stable signal and reliable connection, you can opt for Z-wave powered devices. However, they operate on a less common frequency and may use various frequencies in different areas. That results in limited interoperability and make them costlier to develop, which lead to a more expensive price tag.
During the initial boom of smart home, many hubs and devices utilise Bluetooth as the protocol. However, the limitations make it no longer the main choice but more of an alternative protocol. If your hubs or devices only use Bluetooth, you have to be aware that they will consume more power and only support a short-range.
Those are four protocols that are widely used in the market. You have to understand and know about the protocols if you want to get a smart home hub. It is because if your hub only utilises Wi-Fi, you cannot connect the smart devices that only utilise Zigbee with your hub. For example, you cannot operate or monitor your smart sensor if it only supports Wi-Fi while your hub only uses Zigbee and Z-wave as its protocols.