On our most recent IoT Podcast, we chose an email listener question instead of a voicemail from our IoT Podcast Hotline. This week, Matt wrote in with a fairly specific question but it can be applied to any number of smart homes.
Matt’s current setup is built with a “combination of SmartThings, several Echo devices, GE Z-Wave in-wall switches and dimmers, Phillips Hue hub and bulbs (for lamps), and a Jasco Z-Wave outdoor smart plug.” He’s looking for some non-voice method to control both the outdoor lights and an indoor bulb for situations during the night. A perfect example he provided is when the dog needs to go outside. Oh and he would rather not add another hub to his home.
Since Matt already has SmartThings working with his Z-Wave products, our suggestion is to consider a wireless Z-Wave switch or button. Neither of these would require an additional hub nor would Matt need to deal with any wiring for installation.
From a switch standpoint, a GoControl Z-Wave Plus Scene Controller should work and it’s only $15.95. This isn’t a typical “switch” as it has two buttons on it to control pre-configured scenes. However, Matt can create a “Dog wants outside” scene that controls one or more lights and then uses the controller with a simple button press as needed.
And he wouldn’t need a Z-Wave hub or gateway since he already has one with SmartThings. Installation is simple because there are no wires involved and the controller can be mounted anywhere with the included double-sided tape.
A more expensive option would be a wireless button of some sort. Matt previously tried a Samsung SmartThings button, but he wasn’t a fan based on the looks and short battery life he experienced.
Our suggestion is something from the WallMote Z-Wave Wall Switch line, which offers options with either two or four-button layouts. This gives Matt room for expansion if he ever wants to add any additional button-based automations. But again, you’ll pay more for this better-looking wireless switch.
The four-button option, which can control up to 8 scenes currently costs $71.39, for example. All of the WallMotes are made by Aeotec, which still makes smart home hubs with SmartThings support. The WallMotes are fully compatible with SmartThings, so Matt doesn’t need to purchase another hub or gateway.
Again, there are no electrical wires to deal with for installation. You leave a WallMote anywhere around the house or attach it to the included magnetic wall holder. And battery life shouldn’t be an issue as the button-based WallMote has a USB port to recharge the internal battery as needed.
To hear Matt’s question, as well as our discussion in full, tune in below to the IoT Podcast: