On our most recent podcast episode, Jason called in because he’s considering the IKEA Tradfri lights for his bedroom and wants a button nearby to control them. There’s a catch though: Jason may end up repurposing that button for controlling other lights and his front door lock. That’s not going to work if he chooses the Tradfri ecosystem because of the proprietary frequency and protocol that IKEA uses.
So what options does Jason have?
Stacey recommends the Lutron Caseta Smart Light dimming lamp module with included pico remote that has multiple buttons for lighting controls. Unfortunately, without a Lutron bridge, this solution is for lighting only. Adding the $80 bridge extends controls beyond lights, bringing voice control support for Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit and Google Home.
For an even more open system, I’d look into adding a SmartThings hub and the $15 Samsung SmartThings button. That device can be used to control just about anything that supports SmartThings. So, for example, a compatible wireless door lock could be locked with the press of one button while bedroom lights could be turned on or off with a double press of the button.
Going the SmartThings hub route also brings other brands of buttons into the mix, thanks to the multi-radio support in SmartThings. Of course, while many of those buttons look nicer or have more functionality than Samsung’s, expect to pay more. The Fibaro Z-Wave button, for example, costs $50 while an Aetotec NanoMote Z-Wave button is $5 less and allows you to control up to eight devices or actions with its four-button design.
While the Tradfri system works well and is inexpensive, it’s more limited for those like Jason who want to mix and match functionality. If lighting control is all you need, it’s a great option. If you want to integrate buttons, switches and other controls with your lights, door locks, and other smart devices, a different branded hub and buttons may be the way to go.
To hear Jason’s question in full, along with with our discussion his question, tune in to the IoT Podcast below.