How to Make Your Home Smart

In this blog, we interview Jeffrey Harris, founder of Hive, to reveal the inside story of how you make a smart home.

Here’s Jeff’s unveiling of “smart” technology and how it works.

“The main principle I would like to share is one of one centralized hub. We can all relate to having 5,6 or even 7+ remote controls on a coffee table; everything is running a different item and nothing is really working together.

We have the exact same thing in the present day; only now instead of 7+ remotes, we have 8-10 or maybe even 12 different apps on our smartphones to control each thing in our “smart” home. And still, nothing is working together. Worst yet every app has a different look and feel. How frustrating is it to have multiple different passwords that require different characters?

So what I always discuss with my clients is the ability to create this centralized hub, Everything runs off of this hub. For example, we use a product called “Control 4” and there are several others in the marketplace; Savant, Crestron, Elan, are examples, but what we are discussing is the methodology - which brand of controller isn’t the important part; it’s just the methodology that is important. It means that everything comes back to that centralized hub, which has one app.

For example, we start with it in a home, kind of like a universal remote for the living room, starting by putting the main brain and hub at the living room and we’ll control the TV, like a universal remote. We could have this tied into their Roku or Apple TV or their cable box, their blu-ray player, their Xbox or any of their video sources could be connected to this. Then we can start pointing different smart home devices to this hub. For example, we can integrate a smart door lock; we could integrate a thermostat, motorized window shades, a swimming pool control, a garage door, lighting control, distributed audio through a home, or distributed video through a home.

In addition to that, we could add other items, such as irrigation systems, security systems, and many others that can be added to this centralized brain. These can be added via wireless technology or Wi-Fi, or Zigby, which is a two-way radio frequency.

And, we can have things that are hard-wired to the system. The hub is like a translator that sends/receives communications to every component of the system.

Look at how this could work.

Imagine if I come up to my house and enter from the garage, I hit a 4 digit code within my door lock; it not only opens the door, but it disarms the security systems, motorizes my shades up, and at the same time, turns my thermostat to 73 degrees, and turns on my favorite Pandora playlist throughout my home. I did that all by touching that 4 digit code at the door.

How did that work?

The lock went and spoke to the “brain” or the hub, and the brain went out and talked to the security system, the smart thermostat, the automated shades, the Distributed Audio Amplifier and the different devices that are connected to that hub and each one worked in coordination with the hub.

The most important thing, by far, is that centralized hub.

Here is a different scenario that I see commonly today. I walk into a home and I see a “Ring” doorbell and it’s got an app, I see a NEST thermostat and it’s got an app; I see a new Chamberlain or Liftmaster garage door opener with MyQ, it’s got an app, and there is a new door lock by Schlage or Kwikset, and it has another app; and then they’ve got some sort of Harmony Logitech or Universal Remote control that also has an app. Guess what? Their swimming pool has an app too, as well as that ADT or Vivant Security system.

It’s not even impressive nowadays that everything has an app. It has become that we have a different app for everything (including my new toothbrush) and nothing feels cohesive or works together or even communicates with each other. This is a nightmare of unrelated apps and nothing is working well together. (Remember the 6 to 9 remote controls on the coffee table? Now it is 15 different apps for everything in your home.).....let's not forget my new grill that has the meat probe with an app.

The first thing I always do with my clients at Hive is to pick the centralized brain and we start by making it the universal remote control.

Most of my clients love, little by little, step by step, as the budget allows, to add these other devices to the smart control system. Then they are all happily working together and coordinated by the centralized hub.

We’re here to help answer any questions you have about the home technology process. Call (813) 938-1585 or click anytime.

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Hive is the premier provider of Smart automation technologies in the Tampa Bay Area.

Hive’s mission is to create high-quality integrated residential and commercial entertainment and security systems, with a focus on simplicity, that results in an enhanced and secured lifestyle for our clients.

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You can reach HIVE at 813-938-1585.

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