Home automation is awesome, even with lots of hubs (or maybe because of)


(j w) #1

Someone asked the question of whether having all kinds of hubs rather than just one to do HA means STs vision should be questioned. Rather than reply, I figured I’d start a new thread of encouragement.

I think right now it’s a good thing that there are multiple “hubs” to accomplish different things in the HA world. Why? Well, right now is a huge period of innovation within the IoT space. This means that no standards would be able to keep up with the pace of new technologies and features. To me, standards aren’t as important as innovation at this point. I want my automated home to do all of the latest, coolest things. That means a harmony hub, a Hue hub, my hacked together x10 interface, my blue iris server for video, several echos, etc. Oh, and on top of all that, I have Windows IoT running on an Rpi3 wired up to my two garage doors so I can open and close them from ST as well [why not zwave controllers? because my solution was around $90 total vs $180, and it has an 2.42" oled display to show other info as I see fit :)].

Imagine a world where we were limited by standards. We could turn on a hue bulb, but not control its color yet. We could have a motion sensor, but temperature wasn’t yet supported. Irrigation controllers couldn’t be added because the spec wasn’t formulated yet. IR control of entertainment centers only supported power on and off. Video would work, but only at 480p. Locks could be unlocked, but custom voice alerts weren’t supported. These may not be the best examples, mainly because if I was coming up with new things no one had thought of yet, I’d be the innovator ;). But hopefully it helps to make the point that standards can slow things down.

So, imo, having multiple hubs doesn’t mean the vision of ST is misguided. In fact, I would argue that it means that the vision of ST is being realized. We can have all of these new technologies, all working together, all controlled and automated through ST! To me, this is amazing, and is exactly what I always wanted in HA (I’ve been automating since x10 - well, arguably, since I was a little boy and ran strings from my light switch over my ceiling to my bed to turn my bedroom light off remotely :slight_smile:).

For example, this weekend, I added a harmony hub to my other gear. Now, when I go into the basement, I can say “Alexa, turn on theater”. When I do, my apple tv, my xbox one, my yamaha receiver, my epson projector and my monoprice motorized screen all come on at the same time, while all the lights go off, except for a hue light in the bar area behind the seating, which dims to a reddish hue so people can see to get food and such. Oh, and the thermostat lowers itself so it’s cooler in the room. I’ve been doing this a long time, and yet I’m still mesmerized and absolutely amazed to see this all work!

It’s not perfect. Interoperability rarely is. And, of course, ST doesn’t help with its lack of reliability. But these are platform issues, not vision issues. The vision is working. The concept is successful.


Was my vision of ST misguided?
(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #2

I absolutely couldn’t agree with you more. We do honestly still live in an amazing time!


(John C) #3

Also agree: amazing times!

For commercial success (thereby giving the propeller heads toys to play with & enhance) it must also be simple enough and reliable enough for the technically challenged. And I think it will get there…


(Christopher Masiello) #4

As much as I’d love to just have one brain controlling the whole thing and one hub doing all the talking, I know that’s not gonna happen for a long time. There might be some advantages down the road to what you’re describing. Think about some of these platforms/ecosystems (don’t want to call them hubs because the nomenclature police will get out their riot gear again) and how much traction they are getting:
Hue, Nest, Echo, Harmony, MyQ, etc.
The substantial consumer bases that they are building up makes it tough for the next “big innovation” to just obsolete your purchases. Most new innovations would be trying to integrate in bigger and better ways than what we have now.


(Peter Richardson) #5

Yes - fully agree. Being to explore several technologies, explore what works and see the possibilities are part of the fun. This isn’t a main stream consumer product yet - nor were PCs 25 years ago, but being part of the development and seeing the amazing progress that results from (relatively) open systems s very exciting


(Martin) #6

I agree too, having multiple hubs is also forcing me to rationalise my thoughts about how I achieve success.

I initially hoped I would vest into a single controlling brain and choose major brands with somewhat standard protocols (zwave, ZigBee, WiFi etc) for the control points - if the brain retired (thank you Revolv) I could easily switch horses and not lose my investment in the actual end devices. So far that’s working but slightly differently than first envisioned.

I now have Hue, Lutron, Vera, Logitech and ST hubs plus Echos - all have their place for now. My main focus has been the UI and WaF approval front end.

Control is achieved thru Voice (Echo), Physical Switches (Lutron / Leviton and soon to be Logi Pop buttons) and Imperihome Dashboard’s on wall mounted Tablets. All pretty natural to use and gain good WaF, not forced to use any one control method for the most common actions.

All work in harmony (excuse the pun) and hide/mask the fact that multiple brains are at work.

Yes, I’d love to drop one or two hubs but its certainly cheaper than turnkey systens , not too complex to support but again I would love to see that simplified.

I had high hopes for ST but a few things continue to bug me. Lutron Support. Local Processing. Leviton Scene Controllers. Reliability. If we have these items I would be able to drop Vera but now find myself wanting to migrate more zwave in the other direction.

Again. I agree with the theme of the post. More hubs working together seems how this is playing out for the DIY market. That leaves room for Amazon Echo and Logitech to clean up as they’re the glue in many use cases.

Happy days.