Samsung’s SmartThings was the subject of a widespread rumor that it was about to be closed down entirely. It turns out that this was just partially right.
Samsung decided to keep making software but no longer make hardware under its own brand, so production of the Hub was moved to Aeotec, and we now have the Aeotec Smart Home Hub.
The Aeotec Smart Home Hub is essentially the same as the SmartThings V3 Hub in that it can work with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices and is controlled by the SmartThings software.
Is it worthwhile to upgrade if you already have a hub, and what about if you’re fresh to the platform? In our full Aeotec Smart Home Hub review, I’ll answer all of your questions.
Design and Installation of the Aeotec Smart Home Hub
The only difference between the Aeotec Smart Home Hub and the Samsung SmartThings Hub V3 is the branding.
That’s since both products are identical; the only difference is that the hub is now manufactured by Aeotec rather than Samsung.
Two crucial modules are hidden inside the case: Z-Wave and Zigbee. You’re essentially wrapped for a huge proportion of standalone sensors, lights, and other smart devices with these two options.
Although you can link via Wi-Fi, the Smart Home Hub has an Ethernet port on the back. I prefer Ethernet for reliability, but Wi-Fi is a fine replacement if you don’t have access to your router via a physical cable.
This model lacks a battery, and the SmartThings V2 hub was the only one with one. Is that a problem? Only if you plan to utilize SmartThings as the foundation for your home security system.
I wouldn’t bother because it’s too difficult to establish, and a devoted warning, like the Ring Alarm, is far more convenient.
The Hub doesn’t really need battery backup unless it’s being used as an alarm: if the power goes out, everything it’s controlling goes out of power as well.
You append the Hub to your account using the SmartThings app once it’s been powered up. The Hub must be selected as an Aeotec model rather than a Samsung model, but the setup is otherwise identical to the V3 Hub. The installation process is guided by a short setup wizard.
Features of the Aeotec Smart Home Hub
The Aeotec smart home hub, like other intelligent home hubs, doesn’t do much. That is, it serves as a hub for Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, but the SmartThings platform is responsible for the intelligence.
Numerous devices are connected via cloud accounts, so you don’t even require a hub to use SmartThings. If you’re a Yale Conexis L1 smart lock, for example, you will need a hub because it connects to SmartThings via the optional Z-Wave module; however, if you have a newer Yale Linus lock, you will not need a hub because it connects to SmartThings via the web.
In fact, most of the well-known brands that support SmartThings do so through the cloud. Nest (cameras, doorbells, and thermostats), Ring (cameras and doorbells), and Arlo are all examples of this.
Everything is controlled through the app, in which you can assemble devices into rooms and regulate each product as expected: lock and unlock smart locks, switch lighting fixtures and modify their color, and so on.
So, what’s the big deal about the hub? Z-Wave and Zigbee devices, on the other hand, are ideal for sensors and remote controls because they can run for years on a single set of batteries, providing the essentials for a smart home.
There are a plethora of SmartThings-compatible devices available, with Aeotec producing a large number of them. You can create some very intelligent rules using sensors. For example, if motion isn’t detected in a room for a certain amount of time, you can turn your Tint lights and Sonos player off automatically. A door sensor, for example, can turn on a light.
Upgrade to WebCORE and you’ll be able to enact much more sophisticated routines, including ones that are limited by time of day and even device status. It’s not a tool for the inexperienced, but it’s difficult to imagine another intelligent home platform that offers such sophisticated automation.
SmartThings has two significant drawbacks.
The first is that device support is not universal, which applies to every other smart platform. If you want to accomplish something, you’ll almost certainly use one or more platforms (IFTTT, HomeKit via Homebridge, and so on).
For example, I have SmartThings running through Homebridge so that when my Yale Conexis L1 unlocks using HomeKit, it automatically disables my Ring Alarm.
Although third-party Ring assimilation for SmartThings exists, it is difficult to set up, so I’m forced to use two platforms to accomplish the same task.
Second, Samsung has harmed Amazon’s Alexa skills. You could choose which gadgets are available to Alexa in an older version of SmartThings; you can’t in the current version, so it’s easy to get multiple copies.
If you connect Hue lights to SmartThings, they’ll show up twice in Alexa: once under the Tint Skill and once under SmartThings Skill.
Our comprehensive guide to Smart Things explains everything you need to know about the system and what it can and can’t do. All that needs to be said is that the Aeotec Smart Home Hub is a solid foundation for Zigbee and Z-Wave devices.
Should you upgrade your Aeotec Smart Home Hub?
Should you upgrade your existing SmartThings Hub? This is a more tough problem for holders of an existing SmartThings Hub. If you have a SmartThings Hub V1, the solution is clear: yes, because the V1 hub is no longer functional.
If you already have a SmartThings V2 or V3 hub, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to upgrade because the Aeotec Smart Home Hub doesn’t add any new features or functionality.
That isn’t to say that support for the V2 and V3 hubs won’t be phased out in the future, but you won’t acquire anything by switching for the time being. I’d only suggest upgrading if your current hub is giving you trouble.
The problem for V1 hub owners is that there is no easy method to switch to the Aeotec Smart Home Hub. Instead, you must manually uninstall all of your existing devices and migrate them one by one to the new hub — for more information, see our guide to moving to the Aeotec Smart Home Hub.
There is at least a program for V2 and V3 users that tries to accomplish the job automatically, however, I was awaiting Samsung support to grant me access to it to check if it works at the time of writing. The upgrade process is clearly not as straightforward as it should be.
Should you buy the Aeotec Smart Home Hub if you don’t already have one?
SmartThings is still one of the top smart home automation platforms, despite losing a few features and having a worse Alexa Skill since switching from the Classic app to the new one. The Aeotec Smart Home Hub is worth buying, as it always is, depending on what you want to do with it.
In many cases, the Hub isn’t required at all because most new technology has its own hub or connects via Wi-Fi, allowing you to add items to your SmartThings account through the cloud.
There’s also the fact that rival systems can utilise detectors from your current smart home kit, so you don’t have to buy Zigbee or Z-Wave devices separately.
Use Amazon Alexa Routines, for instance, and you may use Hue motion sensors or Ring Alarm sensors to control them. HomeKit can also employ Hue motion sensors, whereas Homebridge vastly enhances your options.
In the end, it comes down to hardware preference, and some gadgets operate best when connected to the Aeotec Smart Home Hub.
This hub is a terrific method to employ a broader variety of sensors and controls, or if you have specific smart locks, and SmartThings is a strong platform.
- Support — Z-Wave and Zigbee
- SmartThings integration is flawless.
- Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity
- It’s a pain to get to this hub.
- Hardware support for SmartThings is limited.
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Review of the Aeotec Smart Home Hub was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.