Many of today’s smart home devices can be controlled by a specific app that can be installed on your phone. Adding a smart thermostat to your home, for example, is as simple as:
- Removing your old thermostat and installing your learning thermostat in its place
- connect it to several sensors in different rooms and
- configure it to work through manufacturer’s app on your phone
If that’s all you want to do to make your home smarter, you’re done. Unfortunately, for those with multiple smart devices for their smart homes, opening each app just to control one smart device can be a hassle. It can also take up too much space on your phone.
SmartThings Hub (second generation)
As you add devices and fill out your home automation plan, you need something to connect and control all of them. The Samsung SmartThings Hub provides a great way to connect all your smart devices and use them together. Smart devices all connect to this hub, which also connects to the home network through a Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. This makes it possible to control the different smart home devices with a single controller or app.
The latest version of the Samsung SmartThings hub is much sleeker than the first generation, but the differences are more than skin deep.
Aside from the appearance, the v2 is also a more capable hub because it has added local processing capabilities. This means that through this device, some of the settings or functions can easily be controlled without having to go through the cloud. The functions that are locally run are still available, even if you lose your Wi-Fi connection.
Local processing is particularly important if you are setting up your own home security network. Reliability in this case is absolutely key. You can’t have a viable security system if it is subject to Internet outages or update cycles. Not all device types and functions can run on local processing, Smart home Monitor and Smart Lights apps do.
There is also an additional power supply for the v2. There are 4 AA batteries included with the purchase, and these are enough to power the hub for up to 10 hours when there is no power. In a battery-operated mode, the local functions can still run.
The true test of a smart hub is how many different devices it can connect with and manage. The SmartThings Hub excels in this area. You can connect more than 200 different devices from cameras to sensors and home appliances to one centrally-located, v2 hub.
Samsung brand devices top the compatible and easy to configure list, of course. There are a wide range of devices available within the brand to cover your security, environment and entertainment needs. So if you want to skip the learning curve altogether and begin assembling your customized smart home today, the Samsung brand name is all you need to look for when you shop.
If you do want to do a little comparison shopping, or if you have already started building your system, you’ll be happy to learn that devices using the Z-wave and Zigbee protocols should also work well with your SmartThings. That means you can manage your WeMo mini plugs, Honeywell thermostats, Cree lights, Schlage door locks and your Sonos music system (among many others) with this hub.
There are also two USB ports found on the unit, and Samsung says that these are in preparation for USB expansion capabilities that they plan to integrate in the future. It also has Bluetooth LE built-in, but the Bluetooth in the units are not yet activated. This lack of Bluetooth LE support is something we hope will be overcome soon.
Setting up and use of the SmartThings Hub
To set up the hub, you need to connect it to your router using a wired connection through the Ethernet port. The Samsung Smart Home app should be downloaded on any of your iOS or Android mobile. Support for their old Windows mobile app expires in June, 2017. You should also create your account on the SmartThings cloud, which only takes minutes to do.
After logging in, the app can help you find various smart home devices and connect them to the hub. The hub can support different protocols such as Z-Wave and ZigBee. If your smart home devices are on Z-Wave, the hub can disconnect them from the previous network so that it can be successfully connected by the new hub. The app also lets you add in more smart devices to the list of those you control and sorts them all by room.
In order to directly control the different smart home devices, an internet connection is needed. A connection is also needed when automation or other trigger commands are used. A mobile device serves as the only controller for the smart home system, although there are also some third-party apps with which it can successfully be paired. The Amazon Echo or Google Home Voice Controllers can also be added to the system for ease of use.
If you are building or designing a smart home system, the SmartThings hub is one of the best devices to help you achieve that. Local processing and broad device compatibility are the primary reasons we consider it so smart. The wide range of Samsung brand devices and the ease with which they can be added into your system make it the simplest smart hub choice for anyone looking to build their system all at once.
Smart and simple. It’s hard to go wrong here.