Smart hubs: everything you need to know

The right smart hub can be the key to a truly automated home. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

What is a smart hub?

A smart hub is a convenient “master control” for every smart device in your home, that also comes packed with a lot of extra functionality.

Popular smart home hubs include the Wink 2 and Samsung SmartThings – and in terms of design, they tend to share the size and look of a modern internet router.

It’s important to know that a smart hub isn’t the same as a smart speaker such as Google Home. Learn the difference between a smart hub and a smart speaker.

What does a smart hub do?

One point of control

A smart hub acts as a single control point for all of your smart devices. This means you don’t have to jump in and out of different apps to control different devices. Rather, a smart hub has its own app with dedicated controls for every connected device.

Coordinated functions

Generally, smart devices run on one of three different protocols – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Z -Wave. This can make it difficult for them to communicate with each other.

A smart hub acts as a translator between these protocols, which lets them speak the same protocol “language” and perform useful functions commonly known as “routines”.
You can set up routines to do almost anything, including:

  • turning the radio on when your kitchen lights come on automatically at dinner time
  • boiling the kettle 10 minutes after your heating comes on
  • locking the doors if a smart camera detects motion during a set time period
A smart hub is also necessary if, for example, you have a few smart lights from different brands in the one room, and you want them to work together seamlessly.

 

How does a smart hub work?

A smart hub works a lot like an internet router. You simply need to connect your smart devices and you’re ready to go. A lot of smart hubs will search your home for smart devices once powered on and connect them automatically.

Once everything’s connected, you’ll be able to control each device through its own dedicated control set in the smart hub’s app.

However, the controls you get here might not be the same as what you get in the device’s own app. So check out a few reviews – they’ll tell you whether a smart hub has plenty of control options and a good interface.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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