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Should you use Hubitat to automate your Smarthome?

  Hubitat Hub and its Box

The first step in building a smarthome is often choosing a hub, and there are many options. Hubitat is a unique cloud-independent hub. It is incredibly powerful, capable and complicated. But should you use Hubitat in your Smarthome?

Hubitat is a powerful hub for your smarthome

  Hubitat dashboard page with multiple smarthome options

One thing is still true; There are too many smarthome hubs to choose from. And although there are hubs that you should definitely avoid, Hubitat is not necessarily one of them: it's complex, perhaps too complex for many, but has many powerful features.

Hubitat is a true smarthome hub that was designed as the ultimate hub center of your automation. It can connect to Z-Wave and Zigbee, Alexa and Google Home, Lutron and LAN devices. What sets it apart from most smarthome hubs is its focus on local control and incredibly advanced automation. It has a fairly large device integration list, and if you make the right decision, it should be able to control all the items you add to your smarthome. For example, with Hubitat, you could create a set of rules that would attenuate your lights 100% to 30% over a period of half an hour at sunset or 8:00 pm (whichever is later) and then at sunrise or night At 6:00 (whichever is later) the lights slowly turn on again – all without any cloud interaction. This even works if your internet goes down. SmartThings and Wink can not achieve this complexity, especially if they rely only on local control.

Most hubs are cloud-based, but Hubitat is local.

Other major smarthome hubs, such as Wink and SmartThings, are adding cloud-first devices with possibly local controls. When you tap the key on your phone to turn on the living room light, a signal is sent from your phone to your router and over the Internet to the Wink or SmartThings cloud servers. This command is processed and then sent over the Internet to your router and then to your hub. Finally, your hub sends the command to your light. Without support for local control, this will not work if your Internet goes down.

Hubitat does most of the work locally, which offers several advantages. Since your command does not have to go over the Internet and back, see how your lights turn on and off faster than Wink or Smartthings. If your Internet goes down, these locally controlled functions will continue to work. If privacy is your goal, you'll have more because you're not communicating with a company's cloud.

Of course, you can also connect some devices that require a cloud, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home to Hubitat. You lose speed and privacy when you use these devices and everything they control.

One of the other advantages of Hubitat is its cost. Once you've bought the Hubitat hardware, you're done. Hubitat does not force you to run monthly subscriptions to maintain functionality. Everything it offers is included, even software updates. Hubitat is usually sold for $ 149.95, although Hubitat currently offers the latest hardware for $ 99.95.

Using Hubitat to Create Complex Automations

  Definition of Hubility Rules

Automations are the real superpower. While we love talking to our homes, Hubitat can make voice control redundant. Hubitat allows advanced triggers and rules. For example, you can set a rule for the following: Since you've entered the bedroom, it's past 9pm, and it's cold tonight, and the heater is off, the lights should be on and dimmed, and the electric blanket should turn on his. If you use individualized presence detectors, you can specify that this is only the case when a certain person enters the room.

As another example, with motion sensors in a bathroom and smart bulbs or switches, you can automatically turn on the lights when someone comes in. You can also choose how bright the lights should be, depending on the time of day and how long they should stay on, before they turn off automatically – and again, the length may depend on the time of day. You can go so far as to insert a second motion detector into the shower and place it over the "turn back" section of the shower when showering. That means your lights will not turn off when someone is in the shower.

The level of detail and complexity of these rules and triggers is one reason why local control is so important. If you enter a room and the light does not turn on almost immediately, you will have to flip the switch manually. At this point, your home does not seem to be that smart anymore. Voice control is helpful because you do not need to find or trip the switch. But fast automation is even better because you do not have to do anything. Instead, the house responds to your needs.

Put simply, Wink and SmartThings are unable to achieve this level of detail automation. Alexa or Google Assistant routines are certainly not.

Advanced features are not easy

  Hubit apps settings

Unfortunately, there is a lot of responsibility involved. In that case, you are responsible for making this happen, and it will not always be easy. If you are setting up a hub hub for the first time, first open a local web page. Currently Hubitat does not offer smartphone apps. These will be published shortly. But it's best to create a custom dashboard by then. When you look at the website, you need to recognize your devices, name them, and then add apps.

Hubitat apps expand its capabilities. You need an app for every security monitor, an app to control lights with motion sensors, a rule app to create advanced automation features, and more. The web interface controls all of this. It's like the web interface of a router. You need to spend time clicking on menus, selecting dropdowns and saving the changes. That's how it works when everything goes well.

Occasionally, something is not working properly and you have to work with code manually. Hubitat relies on the Groovy programming language, and if you are unfamiliar with programming, ask for help in the Hubitat forums or ask for assistance.

You also need to know how these working apps and rules work. Hubitat has excellent tutorial videos and an active and helpful community. But it's a learning process, and it's a new logic to master. For example, if you want a rule that turns on the porch lighting when the back door is open, but only if the deck light is not already on, you must define the rule as "If the back door is open and NO deck light is on is. The logic of Hubitat is consistent. Once you know the basics, you will not spend more time remastering a new skill. To deal with Hubitat, it takes time, effort and willingness to learn.

And remember, there's no app that can quickly access your smart devices to turn things on and off at the touch of a button – at least now. It's best to create a custom dashboard for your home that can only be used from home. The various dashboard options are nice and incredibly complicated, but they require a bit more work. Currently, these dashboards are the only way to enable the remote control of your smart home.

Should you receive Hubitat?

  Hubitat Hub

Whether you should opt for Hubitat or not comes down to a few basic things: how much effort you want to invest, how much you want to learn and how much you like the idea really automated home like.

If the idea of ​​accessing your router's settings intimidates changes in your network, then Hubitat – which is even more complicated – may not be for you. If you are looking for something simple with simple setup and remote control functions, you should pass on Hubit and consider another option, such as SmartThings – or Wink, if the company ever has the Wink Hub in stock again and resells it.

If you're passionate about technology and want to digitally pollute your hands and do not mind spending the weekends tutoring on a new complex skillset, then Hubitat is worth considering. And if you like the idea of ​​a truly automated smart home that anticipates your needs based on location, time of day, and other conditional triggers, consider taking Hubitat to your smarthome.

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