Home automation is a growing trend. Our smart devices like phones are becoming the way we interact with your increasingly digital world. At the same time, homes are being "retrofitted" with smart devices and appliances. As the home becomes increasingly digital, the homeowner's ability to use technology to customize and automate their home grows. With many tech giants entering the field with their home automation platforms, you might be wondering which one is best for you.
An application (hub-less) based home automation system powered by Apple's Home system. If you've invested in the Apple infrastructure (iphone, AppleTV, ipad, iOS), you might consider setting up your home automation with Apple Home. Home is an app that ties the smart devices in your home together. One of the best features of Apple Home is the ability to launch routines via voice commands. Using Siri, you can ask for your lights to turn on, or to start a series of actions like starting your morning routine. You can say "Hey Siri, start my morning." to get a weather report, turn on your lights, open your blinds, and read you the news as you get ready. The ability to create routines or "scenes" as they are called, is one of the best parts of Apple's Home automation system. Another great feature is the flexibility. With Siri built into multiple devices, you don't have to purchase Apple's Hub (the Apple HomePod) in order to use Apple Home.
Best: Invested in the Apple infrastructure already? Apple Home is the best way to connect all your devices with your Apple devices.
IFTTT (If This Then That)
IFTTT is an application-based automation service that allows you to integrate many online services in addition to smart appliances. The best thing about IFTTT is that you can get started automating everyday tasks without needing to purchase a "hub". You can use your phone to activate smart lights and locks or set up your smart thermostat to send you notifications.
Best: If you are unsure about home automation, you can start with IFTTT free and set up some basic automation from your phone.
Amazon Echo (Amazon)
A revolutionary product when first released, the Amazon voice assistant has launched into several products. From the fire TV to the Echo Show (adding video), Amazon has sought to compete with the likes of Siri and Google Assistant to add a simple way to trigger home automation tasks. With a wide array of smart home products available for sale on its website, Amazon is looking for ways to simplify home automation.
Best: If you have Amazon Alexa powered devices, setting up home automation with an Amazon Echo is the best way to ensure your home automation works seamlessly.
Google Home is another "hub" based automation platform built on Google Assistant. Powering the hardware known as the Google Home, you can use your voice to activate "actions". With the ability to leverage a wide array of Google services, you can automate your home with quick words and phrases. From appliances, lights, and much much more, there are over 5,000 smart home devices. In addition, Google Home works with IFTTT and other services.
Best Use: You already have smart devices, and you want to automate your home with voice prompts