A smart home hub allows you to control all your compatible smart home devices such as a smart TV, speakers, lights and more, from one central location. In 2019, Australian households installed around 15.9 million smart home devices, with that figure expected to have grown to more than 47 million by 2022. Why? Because life can be so much easier with smart devices, especially when you use a single hub to control your home entertainment, calendar and compatible home devices, such as lights, heating and security.
Getting Started With a Smart Home Hub
“Switching to a smart home hub is relatively easy as long as you select a hub that is compatible with your existing devices,” says Anthony Hill, head of technology at Geeks2U. “All will have pros and cons, so the choice is really about the devices you want to control and also your current ecosystem, i.e. do you have predominantly Apple or Android devices and which voice assistant do you prefer?”
Once you’ve chosen your system, it’s important to make sure you have a good internet connection and WiFi coverage, and, Anthony says, you should also set up your devices with short, unique names, such as ‘Living Room TV’ or ‘Master Bedroom Lights’. “This makes them easy to identify and control via your chosen hub,” he says. Whether you opt for one with a screen or one with speakers only, there’s an option to suit most needs. So, here is a selection of smart home hubs to consider and the features they offer that can make your life that much better.
Improve Your Home Security
As well as all the usual smart home hub features, the Google Nest Hub Max lets you monitor your home using the built-in Nest Cam, view your compatible smart security devices from the screen and set alerts for when motion or sound is detected. The Face Match recognition feature can be set up to show each family member their own personal notifications. You can also plan your week using the Google Assistant and watch all your favourite Netflix and YouTube shows on the high-definition screen with its stereo speakers.
Display All Your Media
The Amazon Echo Show 10 is a video enthusiast’s dream. You can make video calls and watch TV with the 10.1” high-definition display and 13MP camera. You can also create slideshows with apps like Amazon Photos. The speakers are high quality, voice control is available through Amazon Alexa and, for the ultimate home theatre experience, its Zigbee (a network alternative to WiFi) compatibility allows you to control your smart lighting.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
For anyone looking for a smart home hub that’s more environmentally friendly, the Google Nest Mini’s durable fabric top is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The hub also offers instant access to your playlists, schedules and timers with voice commands that you can also use to control the compatible smart objects in your home. With its compact size and sleek minimalist design, the speaker is easily mounted on the wall or placed on a shelf or benchtop.
SEE ALSO: Real Review: Google Nest Audio
Go Hands Free
A hub combined with a smart speaker, the Amazon Echo Smart Home Hub allows you to control all your media and home devices as well as call your contacts just by using voice commands (via Amazon Alexa). If you don’t feel like leaving the room, you can even make announcements throughout the house to any of the other compatible speakers – great for calling the whole family to the dinner table. The sound quality is high and you can set it up to control lights, locks and sensors.
Have a Concert in Your Home
The Apple HomePod Mini is perfect for music lovers. Not only is it a powerful speaker with deep bass and seven tweeters (meaning you’ll get great audio from any angle), but Apple Music and Siri can ‘learn’ your taste in music and offer suggestions for your playlist. The HomePod Mini can also adjust its output to its location, filling your space no matter how large or small, thanks to its ability to analyse acoustics and beam different types of sounds in a range of directions to create a rich, full listening experience. If you have more than one HomePod Mini speaker, you can set them up as a stereo pair. Each HomePod Mini will then adjust its sound according to where it is placed and communicate with other HomePod Minis to play music completely in sync. As well as excellent sound, you can also use the HomePod Mini to control all your compatible smart home devices.
Help Your Family Get Out the Door
The stylish Amazon Echo Show 5 2nd Generation lets you set alarms and reminders and check weather and traffic, so it’s handy for organising those busy mornings when you have to get everyone off to work, school and appointments. And good things do come in small packages: despite its compact size, you can still use it to make video calls and it also has voice assistance from Amazon Alexa.