European smart hub Homey is launching in the US with a big reveal at CES 2018.
The smart home is a complicated thing, filled with a vast array of devices that continue to struggle to communicate with one other. This was the exact problem that Homey set out to solve when it launched its Kickstarter campaign in 2014.
It seems to have found a great deal of success, unifying a frankly staggering 30,000+ devices in your home, including major brands like Philips, Ikea, Nest, Sonos, and many many more.
What’s even more impressive is that the little white orb had infrared connectivity so can control devices like your TV, even if it isn’t a ‘smart’ TV. It has the standard connectivity needed for home automation like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-Wave, but also supports NFC (the technology used in contactless payments) and nrf24l01+ (a 2.4GHz wireless transmission standard).
Go with the Flow
It’s this broad array that allows the Homey to control so much of the technology that makes up a smart home today, and is the reason that the Homey has won numerous awards, including an Accenture Innovation Award Top Five, and the Philips Innovation Award.
Much like Amazon’s 'Routines', the device has the ability to perform 'Homey Flows', where commands are given to activate or deactivate elements of your smart home either at a specified time, when given a specific command, or when a pre-decided set of circumstances happens.
This last one is the most complicated, but perhaps the most useful. The Homey website (opens in new tab) gives the example of ‘When: Someone is leaving. And: It’s going to rain in five minutes. Then: Say ‘Take an umbrella’ and set lights to red.’
While these may take a while to set up, it’s this sort of unified home approach that allows the smart home to really live up to its full potential. If you’re able to say to your hub that the news is starting and have the TV turn on, and to the right channel, your lights dim, and your smart heating turn on in your bedroom because you always watch the news before bed, then that’s the sort of smart home we want to see.
Homey is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Facebook Messenger, so you can speak to it through your favorite digital assistant, or send it a text if you’d prefer.
While there’s no official announcement of what the price is going to be for Homey in the US, with a UK price of £269, we’re imagining a price around $350.
- If you'd rather your smart speaker was your smart home hub, check out our Amazon Echo Plus review.