Posted by: Frank | July 23, 2021

Frank blogged on July 23, 2021 at 11:38AM

What made local area and wireless networks happen are industry standards that enable different vendor products to work with each other. The Internet Of Things is nearly the exact opposite, in my home is a case in point. I have Hue lights that require a Hue hub for management and I have a number of sensors and smart switches that use Zigbee that I manage with Samsung’s SmartThings hub.

The SmartThings hub can control the Hue lights, but the Hue hub only knows Hue products. I started first with the Hue lights and the hub, but if I had could have seen in the future I might have just bought the SmartThings hub. On the other hand, one big thing I get with the Hue hub is the use of a catalog of scenes that combine different colors to make for some pretty nice lighting in our basement.

I recently bought two cheaper Sylvania color smartlights when recent heavy rains suggested it might be nice to have a color smartlight in our living room, right now we have a non-color Hue light in the living room. We have a moisture sensor in the sump pump pit that works with the SmartThings hub and an automation in SmartThings that turns on all of the lights when moisture is detected. The automation sets the color lights to purple (homage to Prince) but obviously cannot do that with non-color lights. It happened the automation was recently triggered during the evening when the living room light might normally come on so I realize it just turning on might not be enough notification. Thus the idea to buy a color light, thus the purpose of the Sylvania light because the Hue light costs $50.

Before putting the new Sylvania light in the living room I decided to test it in the basement, where I have the color Hue lights, and here exposes the problem. The Hue lights are controlled by the Hue hub that knows nothing about the Sylvania light, this the Sylvania light cannot be part of the any of the Hue scenes. Perhaps I can find a “third party” app that works with SmartThings to replace Hue scenes, but I have not yet done the research.

Better, yet, would be an industry standard for controlling these color lights that would enable me to fully control them, with scenes, from one hub or “smart device.” Of course, this is a known problem and industy leaders appear to be working together to address it by developing a protocol called Matter. Hopefully, there will be a day when all I need is one controlling device, technically right now I have three: Hue hub, SmartThings hub, Amazon Echo, and Google Home.

P.S. I really hope the Matter protocol addresses how smartlights handle resumption of power after a power outage. Hue added the ability to enforce the last known state, if a light was off when the power went off then it is supposed to stay off when power is restored. However, I’ve found that doesn’t work well with multiple successive short power loses. Worse, is the fact that the Sylvania light appears to not have such a setting. When power is restored the light turns on, regardless of its prior state.

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