Smartika HUB Modern Central Control
Smartika HUB Modern Central Control, Pair with Your Devices (Lighting and Security) and Control Your Home Through Your Smartphone or Tablet, White
Price: CDN$ 44.99
Simplistic set up and nice feature set with the ability to access remotely
The Smartika HUB offers easy connection to system devices but its only half the story. Without the app this is a white box that sits there with a slowly blinking light. You can’t use one without the other and you can’t use any of the lights without both, with the minor exception of using the available smart remote with a single light but that still requires the HUB.
TL;DR – A very easy way to automate and remotely control smart home lights and get warnings from a water sensor that can email you plus put an alert on your smart phone to let you know your basement is flooding. Easy set up and well laid out app.
First off, the system works on its own proprietary wireless system. Yes, you access the HUB from a smartphone app through your wireless network but the Smartika remote devices (lights and water sensor) are connected on a proprietary wireless system. Also, you need to have Ethernet cable (included) connectivity to the HUB which means that it has to be located at a point where you can physically connect it. The down side here is that the wireless signalling employed is not as robust as a typical Wi-Fi set up. The HUB’s range is less than I get with either of the two routers I run. And this is odd, as some of the lights are meant to be mounted outside which could be out on the back of a garage where any signal has to travel through multiple walls. Wi-Fi routers these days with higher power and high-gain antennas are an obvious better choice for extending range. The up side here is that the proprietary system moves traffic off of my routers.
Download and install the app, look for “Smartika, Artika for living”.
■ Set up is simple, the users manual easily walks you through the steps and there isn’t anything techy here, no need to get a 9 year old involved. It took me about 5 minutes. The manual is well written and easy to read, they’ve done a great job of making it easy to use and follow.
■ Once you have the HUB connected to your app that’s it. There is no configuration required in the HUB itself and there’s no interface for accessing it or any of its functionality. Other than plugging in the adapter to an AC socket and connecting the Ethernet cable there’s nothing else required here.
■ Each device can be used through the app by syncing it with the HUB. Lights can also be controlled like any other in home light. If the light is on a wall switch and you turn the light on or off it will operate just like a normal light bulb. Only when connected to the HUB and using the app can the various features be used. The wall switch in these cases over rides the app/HUB control.
■ Adding devices is simple and can be done two ways. First option is to push the Smartika logo button which on both the HUB and remote device (light/water sensor). The buttons are back lit and flash rapidly when syncing. Once connected the HUB the button returns to a slow flash. The remote device is now ready to be set up in and accessed through the app.
■ The second way is generally easier as you don’t have to access the HUB. On the app there is a big plus ✚ icon. When you tap that it brings up another page where your now asked to press (long press) the Smartika button on the remote device and then in the app tap on the app button marked “Look for devices”. It then switches to a page where is shows a “working” symbol as it looks for new devices. Once it discovers a new device and syncs with it you’re able to do a number of things like giving it a label, its own location (front door, garage, etc.) or you can group it with other devices and give the group a name. This grouping allows control over a number of lights at the same time for both powering them on/off and adjusting colour. You can control the colour of all in the group at the same time or you can still control each on their own if desired. The app is very well thought out and designed. It took 5 minutes of just playing with it to discover all of the available features. Again, nothing techy here.
■ There Are two ways to automate the light functionality:
First is an innovative approach, set Home and Away “Scenes”. Then using the “Location” feature within the app you can set a geofence (perimeter within the app) around your location so that when you leave the geofence or come back into the geofence it either turns the scene on or off (lights on or off). This way when you arrive home I can have the lights on so I don’t need to flip the switch when fumbling with a grocery bag or alternatively the lights stay on until I get outside of the geo fence area.
■ In addition to the above “Scene” settings there’s also the option set time on and time off for each light or group of lights, like using a normal timer. This means that outdoor lights can be set to come on at dusk and off at dawn. You can do the same thing with indoor lights, the accent and pot lights, to provide more of a “someone’s at home” kind of appearance when your away. Unfortunately, with this version of the app or HUB firmware there is no option to set random on/off times like other smart home devices.
■ While you’re away the Smartika app is able to communicate with your HUB via whatever internet connection you have on your phone to give you remote control. Because of this you can turn your lights on while sitting on a beach in Mexico. There’s no configuration required for this to work, same as most of the other smart home systems.
The HUB really is well thought out from the usability perspective and it just sits there unnoticed doing its job 24/7