What is a smart hub and how can it improve my home?

Close-up of a woman's hands holding a smartphone and using the Hive app to control smart devices with a brick pavement in the background

With new smart home IoT tech hitting the market virtually every month, we look at the best way to get your devices working perfectly together – with the help of a smart home activation hub.

What is a smart home hub – and what does it do?

A smart home hub is essentially the brain of your smart home, tying all your tech together on one centralised platform. This can include devices such as smart lights, thermostats, cameras and more.

Smart hubs collect and translate protocol communications that come from all these different devices. In normal language this means they allow different pieces of kit to talk to one another!

Using a smart hub also makes managing all your smart tech really simple as you can control everything through one smart home app. You can even get them to work together seamlessly around your home.

For example, you could connect a sensor by the front door up to your smart thermostat and smart lights. So as soon as you get home the lights will turn on and the heating will turn up.

How do I control my devices through a smart home hub?

Most hubs have their own dedicated smartphone app that lets you organise and arrange your devices however you choose: by room, floor, or type. For instance, the Hive Hub connects your Hive devices so you can manage them remotely from the Hive app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

It also has a handy dashboard that gives you direct control of all your Hive devices, similar to the buttons on a TV remote. So you simply tap to turn on a light or adjust the temperature on your thermostat.

How can a smart hub help me get the most out of my smart home system?

You can also use the Hive Hub (via the Hive app) to get your smart home tech working around your lifestyle.

For example, you could create a sequence that turns the living room lights and heating off automatically when you leave the room at bedtime.

So how does a smart home hub actually work?

A smart home hub houses the wireless transmitters and receivers needed to connect each of your smart home gadgets. All tucked into a tidy box.

By connecting to your home’s wireless Internet network, a smart hub acts like a go-between for your gadgets; sending and receiving commands back and forth to any other smart devices you own. As it’s connected to your Wi-Fi, it allows you to control your entire smart home system using your phone, tablet or smartwatch, whether you’re in the house or out and about.

Do I need a smart home hub to use Hive devices?

If you want to be able to control your Hive devices remotely, then yes, you need a smart home hub. Without a hub you can only do things like turn your heating on or your lights off when you’re at home and connected up to your Wi-Fi.

Can I just use a smart speaker instead of a smart home hub?

It’s true that many smart speakers, including Amazon Echo and Google Nest, offer similar functions to some hubs.

However, different brands tend not to work well together. So you won’t be getting the best out of your system or enjoying the most streamlined experience.

Still have questions about a smart home hub? Check out our support page and FAQs or check out our range of smart home connectivity products.

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