At the heart of any good Smart Home system is a ‘Controller’ or ‘Hub.’ Think of it as the main brain, or the computer that runs the Smart Home. For larger homes and systems, you can have multiple Controllers all synchronized together to run your Smart Home. For simplicity, we’ll refer to both as a Controller in this post. Controllers have several key functions.
- Controllers Connect Devices — Smart Home Devices have to be connected. Some devices are connected wirelessly, and others require hardwired connections. The Controller manages all of these connections. In instances where a Smart Device needs to be hardwired, the Controller is hardwired into the device. Many modern TV’s and Video Sources like Blu-ray players, Apple TV, etc., still perform best with a hardwired connection.
- Controllers Receive and Send Commands — ‘Turn off my lights’ – ‘Turn the TV onto ESPN’ – ‘Lock the Front Door’ These are all commands you might send from your Smart Home App. The Controller receives that command, and sends it out to the appropriate device(s) to run the command. In some systems, a status update is sent back to your App. For example, after you tell the Door to lock, your app may update and indicate that the Door is now locked. The Controller manages this as well.
- Controllers Keep Time & Schedule — Don’t underestimate this one. As simple as it sounds, not all Smart Home Controllers can do this, and it’s really important. Often you have Smart Devices in the home on a scheduler or timer. Thermostats, Door Locks, Security Systems, lighting control, even TV’s can all be attached to a Schedule so they run automagically throughout the day. Smarter Controllers keep track of the time and schedule, even time changes so that your system always runs when you want it to.
- Controllers Manage Your Remote Access — If you have a Smart Home. You probably want to be able to access it from outside of the home. Maybe you’re on vacation and want to turn lights on and off so it looks like your home, or access a Video camera to see how the Babysitter is doing. The Controller is what allows you to access your home when you’re away and control your Smart Home system.
Matt is a co-founder and lead systems designer for TYM LLC. His smart home and audio/visual designs have won three “Home of the Year Awards” from Electronic House & CE Pro magazine, and two awards from the Consumer Technology Association, including "Home Theater of the Year", and "Custom Smart Home of the Year".
Matt is a golden State fan.