If you’re a seasoned home automation fanatic, you probably have accumulated many or even dozens of individual apps for controlling your various products. For all but the techies, that’s a little much. Having fifteen apps to control your home is all well and good until you can’t remember which app dims the lights in the bathroom, and which in the bonus room, and which controls the toaster. Two to three apps? Now we’re talking.

Integrated Home Automation AppsVoice control is one form of integrated home automation apps. You’ve almost certainly heard of two – the names Siri (Apple) and Alexa (Amazon). These two lovely artificial intelligences can control many of your smart home products just by the sound of your voice, and your authoritative command, eliminating the need for multiple apps (and freeing up space on your iPhone – always a plus). Amazon works with various hubs, and wifi devices. Apple is setting standards of compliance, so products supporting Siri voice control are coming out at a slower pace, but they are coming! Amazon’s Alexa works with several Z-wave and Zigbee hubs, allowing voice control of devices hooked up to those hubs.

Z-Wave Hubs behave in much the same way, sans voice control – they “talk” to multiple products within your home using their App. SmartThings and Wink are considered to be integrated home applications even though you may also have some other devices in your home they can’t control. They can handle a large range of home automation products. Right now, the most visible brands include Apple and Amazon, on the voice side, SmartThings, Wink, and Insteon in terms of widely used hubs.

Latest Reviews, Articles, and Videos

Amazon Echo and Echo Dots: Use Them to control an Entire Smart Home

By Art Feierman | October 13, 2016
The Amazon Echo is a great device for many purposes, especially controlling home automation gear.  Adding Amazon Echo Dots makes life better.  Music, news, other capabilities are cool but ...

CEDIA: Smart Home Personal Assistants: Amazon Alexa’s New Friends, Apple HomeKit Siri

By Art Feierman | September 18, 2016
If there is one aspect of voice control/personal assistants that really stood out in terms of announcements, it was the number of companies now supporting Amazon Alexa. This is a world where the ...

AMAZON ECHO – Voice Control For Your Smart Home – A Review

By Dave Duncan | September 1, 2016
Amazon Echo is a voice activated personal assistant, and so much more.  Designed to deliver superb voice control and instant access to information, including music, it can make your life easier ...

Smart Home Eco-Systems A-Z: Z is for Z-Wave, Zigbee

By Art Feierman | August 15, 2016
Call them home automation standards, languages, or protocols…Z-Wave and Zigbee, like Wifi, and Bluetooth are communications standards.  I have smart home gear using all four. If you are ...

Wink Hub Review – Nest, Google, Echo and More!

By Dave Duncan | July 22, 2016
Can the Wink hub do it all? Is it the right smart hub for you? Will it connect to your home automation products? I hope this review will answer those questions and more. Home automation is ...

Smart Home Ecosystems A-Z

By Art Feierman | July 18, 2016
When I chose A to Z Smart Home Ecosystems for a title to this group of articles, it seemed natural, since four  of the major “environments” that I loosely dub ...

Smart Home A to Z Personal Assistants – A is for Apple, Alexa pg.2

By Art Feierman | July 18, 2016
In building their eco-system, Apple’s kept it somewhat closed,  as they have their own standards.   HomeKit is the “home” of those standards for home automation.  If a company ...

Google’s Nest to ‘brick’ (intentionally break) the Revolv smart home hub

By Lisa Feierman | April 17, 2016
In just a few short years, Nest has become pretty synonymous with “smart thermostat” – not quite like Kleenex has for “facial tissues” or Band-Aid for “sticky ...

Searching for the Meaning of Apple HomeKit

By Art Feierman | August 15, 2015
It’s about a year since Apple announced HomeKit.  I’ve found it hard to get a good handle on where Apple was going with it.   Info has been sketchy, although the developers know far ...
Smarter Home