There are some pretty incredible home automation devices and smart products that have entered the market in the last few years, from Amazon Echo to Philips Hue to Nest. However, what really stands out from the one-off smart devices are the giant home automation systems. By this, I am talking about the smart systems that have multiple functions and can connect with other devices. So what three apps do you think are the trinity of home automation systems? Right now, I think the three stand out from the many others – SmartThings, WeMo, and Wink. Let’s take a look at some of the features of each and why they have risen above the rest (at least for now).
Samsung does technology well and SmartThings is a prime example. SmartThings lets you easily monitor, control, and secure your home from anywhere. What I love about SmartThings is how simple the concept is. It’s easy math. One smartphone app + a hub + your devices = your home automated.
The heart and life source of SmartThings is its hub. You connect it to your router and it serves as the middle man between your devices and your app. The app is the brain of SmartThings. It allows you to control your devices from your smartphone, whether you’re one foot away or thousands of miles abroad. And all of your devices are, well, your devices. What if you don’t have a smart device? You can make just about anything a smart device with SmartThings’ outlet and sensors. Your boring coffee maker and standard lamp are now a smart coffee maker and smart lamp. You can schedule them to turn on or off at a certain time, from wherever. This may all be too simple for some extreme tech geeks, but I personally can’t find anything wrong with SmartThings.
WeMo was created to let you control your home from your fingertips. A family of simple and customizable products, you can control your home electronics from anywhere. WeMo is pretty similar to SmartThings but goes a step further. It is a continuously growing family of products that use mobile Internet to control your home electronics, power, water, and WiFi from your smartphone or tablet. Beyond being able to control your smart devices from your phone or tablet, you can also receive notifications on how much energy your electronics are using.
Currently, WeMo offers several lighting kits, an outlet, a light switch, a coffeemaker, a humidifier, and even a slow cooker. While it does require more installation and advanced setup that SmartThings, you have even more capabilities.
And last, but certainly not least, is Wink, which is designed to serve as a simple app where you can control all of your favorite smart devices. Unlike WeMo or SmartThings, there isn’t a physical hub with Wink. Instead, everything is through its app where you build your dream smart home. Wink is compatible with all of the major smart home brands on the market, which means that smart products that may have not typically been able to communicate with each other now can with Wink. For example, you can set a schedule so every time you unlock your front door, your Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt will tell your Philips Hue lights and Nest thermostat to turn on. Pretty impressive.
I love that with Wink I don’t have to worry about a central hub. I just need an app and I can connect just about any device together that I want and create a chain reaction of events. This truly takes home automation to the next level. You’re not simply turning off your house lights from your work desk. You’re making sure your coffee maker turns on when you turn on your bathroom lights in the morning.
All in all, SmartThings, WeMo, and Wink offer something for everyone, whether you’re new to home automation or are an Internet of Things worshipper.
Photo by: Byron Chin