Everything you need to know about smart homes: ecosystems, tips, etc.


These signs ensure a basic level of support. This means you can connect it to the corresponding ecosystem and control the gadget with your voice. In other words, support for the ecosystem does not mean the same thing for every product. A robot vacuum cleaner may only have start and stop voice command support, while another robot can be told to clean a specific room or work until a specific time. Be sure to check the complete list of commands or user reviews to get a complete picture of what’s possible.

You will also find third-party smart home devices with built-in voice assistants. There is a separate “Alexa built-in” logo, which means you can talk to Alexa directly from the device. Google is equivalent to just a “Google Assistant” logo.This Sonos Beam sound bar It is an example of a device with Google Assistant and Alexa built-in, so you can talk to it directly like a Nest or Echo speaker. Siri is only available for devices made by Apple, but it will soon be available for third-party devices.

Understand smart home standards

For many years, the lack of universal standards has hindered the development of smart homes. Things started to change, but it was still confusing. Different wireless standards connect your smart home devices behind the scenes. The two most popular examples are ZigBee (used by Philips Hue, Logitech, LG, and Samsung) and Z-Wave (used by Honeywell, GE, and Samsung).

Thread is a newer standard (used by Apple, Google, and Nanoleaf) that does not require a hub to create a mesh network. Then there are Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE (low energy consumption). This is by no means an exhaustive list, as there are many other standards.

In most cases, these behind-the-scenes technologies are not important because you can mix them at home. Regardless of the underlying technology, device manufacturers can choose which (if not all) of the three main ecosystems they want to support.

But this is where Matter comes in. It is a relatively new wireless interoperability standard. The goal is to make all smart home devices work together safely, reliably and seamlessly. More than 170 companies participated, including Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung and the ZigBee Alliance. Details about how Matter will work are still emerging, but it should act as a middleman across standards and ecosystems so that everything can work well together. For example, with Matter, the Google Nest Hub smart display can display video feeds from Ring doorbells. (They currently do not Have a good time. )

Although most new devices may support Matter, many older devices will also be updated to support the new standard. In terms of smart lighting, both Philips Hue and Nanoleaf have confirmed that current and future devices will support the standard. Google also said that Nest devices and Android phones will support Matter so that any Matter device can be easily set up through the Google Home application.

Set up smart home devices

Large smart home brands provide easy compatibility with major ecosystems. For example, Philips Hue bulbs can be added directly from the Google Home or Apple Home app. Unfortunately, this is not common. Most devices will at least require you to use a third-party application for initial setup, and possibly for configuration and control.

The setup guide that comes with every smart home device will usually guide you to download the companion app as the first step. You may need to scan a QR code or enter a serial number, so make sure to complete this process before installing anything in place or throwing anything away, as these codes usually appear on the back or bottom of the device or manual.

Linking to the ecosystem of your choice may be part of the setup process, but this is not always the case. You may need to learn more about your Apple Home or Google Home settings before you can manually link your account. To use Alexa, you may need to install related skills.

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