Smart Home - Hub Question

Soldato
Joined
23 Nov 2007
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Lancashire, UK
Morning all,

I'm dipping my toe into the smart home water, as I have a couple of ideas I'd like to explore as a bit of fun. I would absolutely need some IFTTT-type logic to be enacted to achieve this.

What I'm trying to understand is the role of the hub vs. the role of individual smart items. My assumption is that I need a hub if I want to be remotely notified of something happening at home, otherwise there's no way to connect to the individual devices? I only ask because there seems to be very few hubs available on the market which made me wonder if I'm missing a trick.

As an example, if I wanted a notification from a smart plug that something had changed to hit my phone/email when I'm out and about in the world, could that be achieved without a hub?
 

Pho

Pho

Soldato
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Derbyshire
It depends on the product really. Generally if it's a wifi device (e.g., most smart plugs) it just connects straight to your wifi and will most likely come with an app you can use from anywhere. A lot of smart plugs and devices are rebadged Tuya products who have a pretty nice app (Smart Life) and APIs (https://developer.tuya.com/en/) you can use to control your devices in a load of ways.

The only things which need bridges tend to be devices that don't use wifi to communicate, such as Zigbee (e.g., hue bulbs - though some newer bulbs come with wifi as well now), 6LoWPAN (e.g., Tado smart heating), or Bluetooth. You'll likely need a bridge from each manufacturer. E.g., I have a Hue bridge and a Tado bridge - they each work with their own stuff.

If you end up with lots of smart devices from different manufacturers you might want to look at things like Home Assistant. The easiest method is to buy a Raspberry PI, download the pre-built image and flash it to the SD card. You can use it as a single point of entry to all your stuff, set-up loads of rules/integrations between them all etc. You still need said bridges from above. You can also access it remotely as well.
 
Soldato
OP
Joined
23 Nov 2007
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4,880
Location
Lancashire, UK
Great thanks @Pho .im just setting up the plug now and the Tapo app seems very limited so I'll see if it works with the others you listed, otherwise I'll dust off a spare Rpi.
 

Pho

Pho

Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
9,281
Location
Derbyshire
tp-link are one of the few manufacturers out there not using the Tuya stuff unfortunately. It looks like you can possibly get your plug working with Home Assistant with https://hacs.xyz/docs/repositories/integration/petretiandrea_home_assistant_tapo_p100 if that helps. Most stuff is pretty much auto discovered and reasonably plug and play which is nice.

One of the use cases I'm using it for is I have some outdoor wireless motion sensors (Hue ones). When they detect motion I have a rule in HA to flip a couple of smart switches connected to different outdoor lights on for ~5 minutes. It was far easier than running cables all over the place to trigger them all at once.
 
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