Want to start a smart home, have a few questions about where to begin

Welcome! Sounds like you’re off to a great start, and doing research first can help you save a lot of money and aggravation. :sunglasses:


It’s up to you whether you want a hub or not. Different hubs have different features, but in general, there will be some “locally operating“ (meaning not Wi-Fi) Devices which will require a hub, and also most hubs allow you to set up much more complicated rules than the non-hub systems.

As far as echo devices go, it depends on the model. The “echo plus“ models and the echo show second generation (the big one, not the new little echo five) Do have a zigbee hub inside. But so far, they haven’t really offered the same kind of complicated rules options that the other hubs do, and the biggest advantage really is that you will still have voice control of the zigbee devices that are directly connected to that echo device even if the Internet is out.

At the present time, the Google devices, even the one which is called a hub, are not hubs in this sense.

The following FAQ will explain more with examples about complex rules if you’re interested in those kinds of details:

How to Get Started Creating Complex Rules in SmartThings (2017) (SmartThings Classic)


Most smart home devices allow you to set up a sunset schedule, even if they don’t use a hub. It’s a very popular option. So you just need to look at the specific models you’re considering to see if that option is available from their own app.

As far as temperature, some systems might get it from the Internet, but a lot of systems would get it from a local temperature sensor. So you can definitely do it, it just depends on the exact devices you want to use.

The first rule of Home Automation

Which brings up the first rule of home automation: the model number matters. there can even be two devices with identical external cases from the same manufacturer, but they have very different features. So whenever you are asking a question about a device, make sure you give the model number. And when you are doing your own research, remember that different models will have different features.

You can see that even in the discussion of the echo devices above. The echo show first generation does not have a hub inside. The echo show second generation does. The echo show five, which is the newest model in that line, the little one, does not, probably to reduce the price. So it can get very confusing.

But all in all, everything you’re describing can certainly be done even with a very basic system like apple’s HomeKit, so you’re going to have a lot of choices. Which in this context is a good thing. :tada:

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