Bringing it all together
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.
GET YOURSELF CONNECTED
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.