What's a hub and what does it do?
Connected home devices can network
in many different ways. Some communicate using radio signals and others connect
directly to the Wi-Fi network. Ultimately they all hook directly, or through a
hub, to the home router for Internet access, so they can be easily controlled
or monitored with mobile apps and websites.
The hub is a piece of
hardware that connects and communicates with home automation devices. It's like
a brain for the house! It coordinates a series of devices that may not
otherwise be capable of communicating with each other. But hubs can do more
than just connect devices.
Many hubs are specifically designed to
coordinate the home to match the occupant’s habits. For example, you could set
up a schedule using different inputs – such as time of day or location
tracking. As a result, porch lights can turn on after 11pm, coffee can be ready
before you get up, and the house and garage doors can be locked when the you
An issue with smart devices today is some come with their
own proprietary hub which only communicates with specific products. Just like
other electronic systems, smart devices all run on a variety of different
protocols or languages, with rules and standards for communicating. If one
device only speaks ZigBee and another only speaks Z-Wave, they won’t be able to
communicate with each other. So, you may be in a situation where you have
Ideally the home will be outfitted with devices that all
speak the same language. Or, all you may need in the future is your smartphone
as the hub.