On our most recent IoT Podcast, Gene called in as a relatively new listener to our show. He left a voicemail on the IoT Podcast Hotline noting that he uses four Echo Dots and the Amazon Alexa mobile app to control his smart home.
However, Gene has Lightify lights and the cloud service for them is shutting down. So Gene is looking to move over to smart switches and wonders if he should stay with the Amazon ecosystem or move over to Google Home. Additionally, he wants to know how a hub plays into his decision.
To be fair, much of the ecosystem decision is personal preference and should be one of the first considerations when planning out a smart home. There’s no “bad” option if your choice meets your needs.
As a result, we first mentioned Apple HomeKit in case Gene is an Apple-centric user. Siri may not be the best for information searches, something Gene noted that Google is better at, but it’s a solid system that works well.
Amazon Alexa and Google Home are fairly comparable and Gene does already have four Echo Dots.
However, he also has Nest products and Google has improved the capabilities of its Home products in terms of automations. Plus he mentioned Google’s arguably better information retrieval through the Google Assistant.
So in this case, our recommendation is to retire the old Echo Dots, and based on budget, consider some low-cost Nest Mini speakers, currently on sale for $29. If possible, we’d recommend at least one Nest Hub smart display ($79 on sale) as well, due to the updated smart home interface, entertainment and information factors.
Additionally, we think Gene should look at the latest C by GE smart switch products, which work with Google Home natively. There’s no hub required to schedule or automate them with Google Home Actions or Routines.
This avoids having to purchase a hub device, provided Gene sticks with devices that use Bluetooth or WiFi. If any Zigbee or Z-Wave devices are needed, they’ll require either a hub or some type of bridge to connect to Gene’s home network.
If Gene wants to stick with his Echo Dot products, there are smart switches that work with Alexa and an Echo Show display would suffice in place of the Google Nest Hub. The C by GE switches are made to work with Google, but the TP-Link Kasa line of smart switches are compatible with either Amazon or Google, and start around $20 each.
To hears Gene’s question in full, as well as our discussion, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: