Building the CNET Smart Home begins with SmartThings
The good old days.
Two years ago.
A number of home automation hubs were entering the market and we tested them all.
Some where good, others.
Not so much.
But we had high hopes for this category of smart products.
But here we are, two years later, and not much has changed.
Home automation are still far from perfect.
That's because no single hub can do everything.
It's also a challenge to make an app that works with so many third party devices that's also easy to navigate.
So we've got some tough choices to make if we're gonna turn this house into a CNET Smart Home.
If you were to ask Ask me today, is a home automation hub really necessary for a smart home?
I'd have to answer honestly, no, probably not.
In fact, most of you would be fine taking a single thing you'd like to automate like lighting or door locks and buying a product specifically for that purpose.
But this isn't an ordinary house.
In fact, it's more of a lab for us than a home To bring you reviews of what works in a home environment and what doesn't.
For that reason a hub makes sense.
And while none of the options out there are flawless we're going to start with the second generation smart things hub because of its shear number of integratable devices, if channel, and alert options.
But as you're about it see, interacting with it, isn't as simple as we'd like it to be.
Basically everything in the app is either hard to find, or hard to set up, or both.
For instance, the apps home screen is kind of confusing.
What am I looking at exactly?
And setting up new configuration rules Forget it.
I have such a tough time even finding where I can make those adjustments that I spend more time searching through the app than I do actually substantive changes.
But after you've managed to set your automation rules and custom alerts, the hub really does work well.
I can turn light on and off remotely, receive alerts from the motion sensor, get a message when someone opens the front door.
And because it has such a wide range of compatible devices, we should be able to test out tons of sensors and automated switches without the need to install a new hub every time.
But the smarthome landscape is changing fast.
And we're keeping a close eye on competing models like Insteon's Hub Pro, which is compatible with Apple's Siri-based home kit platform.
And we're still hoping for that ideal automation hub, one that can turn this house into the smartest home possible.
Be sure to check back over the coming weeks and months to see all of the plans we have for the CNET Smart Home, we'll see you next time.
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