Bring­ing it all to­gether

T3 - - Smart Home Essentials -

Much like Pringles, once you start pick­ing up smart home gear, it’s hard to stop. When you’ve had the ben­e­fit of smart light­ning, you’ll be head­ing back for mo­tion sen­sors, se­cu­rity cam­eras, air sen­sors and the rest. And that’s great, be­cause what re­ally makes a smart home smart is when you get all this stuff work­ing to­gether seam­lessly.


Most smart home prod­ucts are com­pat­i­ble with a va­ri­ety of sys­tems that let them talk to each other, usu­ally via some kind of cen­tral con­trol­ling hub. Here, we’ll cover all the most im­por­tant ones, and how you can con­trol them us­ing apps, voice and more. When you buy, look out for the icons on the right, to know what they work with.

These aren’t the only ways you can get dif­fer­ent prod­ucts to talk to each other – tech like Log­itech’s POP but­tons (see is­sue 268) en­able you to con­trol mul­ti­ple prod­ucts at once, but they some­times pig­gy­back on these other sys­tems to do it, or work on a more ad hoc ba­sis, with­out the of­fi­cial la­belling these have.

Hive From heat­ing to light – a fam­ily of prod­ucts

Hive is big in the UK, with lots of peo­ple get­ting into the sys­tem via Bri­tish Gas of­fer­ing the smart ther­mo­stat. But that’s just part of a larger fam­ily of prod­ucts, all of which con­nect to, and are con­trolled by, the Hive Hub. If you have a Hub, you can buy any prod­uct from Hive and know it will work eas­ily enough. Hive sells its own smart plugs, light bulbs, and mo­tion sen­sors, which are con­trolled through a sin­gle app.

The app doesn’t help with any smart home prod­ucts from other man­u­fac­tur­ers, though. If you want a sin­gle con­troller for Hive stuff as well as other smart home prod­ucts, your best bet is Ama­zon Echo (see right). All Hive prod­ucts can be voice con­trolled from it – just say “Alexa, tell Hive to…” and they make your re­quest.

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