At YK Communications, we know technology can be overwhelming. The A global wide area network (WAN), also described as a networ... More of Things has made it possible to reduce many household chores to afterthoughts. You can schedule your robotic vacuum to clean the floors while you’re at work, automatically lock your door when you leave, and turn your lights on and off from afar. All of this convenience can make a modern home feel a bit like “The Jetsons,” but it comes at a cost: too many smart home apps.
When you have to open a dozen apps just to access all of your devices, the convenience becomes a burden. Thankfully, there are devices that combine all your smart apps into a single location.
You Have Options
The average smarthome might not need incredibly complex routines, in which case either Google Home or Alexa will work well as your single app. The bonus here is all your smartphone, tablet, and voice controls are all in one place.
You do have to make sure all your devices support your voice assistant of choice. That list is growing all the time, though. If you already own Google Home or Alexa speakers, definitely consider whether any smart home gadget you buy is compatible with them.
If you’re an Apple fan, you can use HomeKit and the Home app. But just like Google Home and Alexa, you need to make sure all your devices have HomeKit support. HomeKit has some distinct advantages (like Apple Watch support) and, depending on your hardware, more local control. This means some of your commands will process more quickly than they would with Alexa or Google Home.
If you own a smart hub, like SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Hubitat, or HomeSeer, they also have apps with dashboards to control your devices. You might not be able to control all features (like routines) in the app, though. Also, many Wi-Fi devices created for Alexa and Google Home aren’t compatible with hubs.
Hubs don’t offer native voice control either, so you still have to pair everything to your Google Home or Alexa app if you want that. However, smart hubs generally provide more powerful automation than voice assistants do.
Installing the Apps
Unfortunately, “single app control” doesn’t mean “single app install.” To get started, you still have to install the app associated with your new smart home device. You use that to set up the device and get it working. Then, you connect it to your single-app solution, whether that’s Google Home, Alexa, or HomeKit.
For Google Home, open the Home app, tap the add button, tap “Set Up Device,” and then tap the “Works with Google” option. The Google Home app presents you with a list of manufacturers. Find the right one and follow the linking process.
The process for Alexa is similar. Open the Alexa app, tap the hamburger menu in the top left, and then tap “Add Device.” Pick the category of the smart device—for example, “Light” or “Plug.” Select its manufacturer and follow the prompts to link your accounts.
HomeKit features the most intuitive process to add a device. Tap “Add Accessory,” and then use your iPhone or iPad’s camera to scan the QR code on the device’s box. Follow the prompts to name the device and add it to a room.
Every smart hub has a different method to add devices. The process can also vary depending on the type of device it is (Z-wave, Zigbee, light bulb, light switch, etc.). You can check the website for your smart hub to see the current method to add a device.
You can also set up sharing for your family members, so everyone has single-app access. In the Google Home app, tap “Add,” and then choose “Invite a Home Member.” For Alexa, you log in on Amazon’s Household site and add members to your Alexa Household. In Apple’s Home app, tap the Home icon in the upper left-hand corner. Tap “Home Settings,” and then tap the Home (you most likely only have the one) to which you want to invite someone. Under the people section, tap “Invite” and follow the prompts.
Managing the Internet that Powers Your Technology
If you’re looking for a way to manage what powers all your smart devices, look no further than YK’s Whole Home Wi-Fi.
You need a wireless connection that’s reliable and secure, and consumer-grade Wi-Fi access points are no longer adequate to meet the needs of most environments.
Whole Home Wi-Fi from YK Communications is your local answer to the challenges of wireless connections in homes, farms, retail stores, office buildings, restaurants and more.
With this program features: predictable Wi-Fi performance; local service and support; extended range and coverage; first-class equipment; and a mobile app at your fingertips.
With CommandIQ™ you can have an instant snapshot of your home or small business network. Through the app, you can view all the connected devices on your network, set up parental controls or a guest network, run speed tests, change your SSID and password and more. It puts you in charge. Visit www.ykc.com/commandiq to download the app, get a quick start guide and more.
If you’re worried about viruses and malware on your network, ProtectIQ™ offers protection to keep your network and devices safe from cyberattacks for only $5 a month.
Finally, ExperienceIQ™ provides you with the tools needed to enforce the internet rules you’ve established for your home. Set up profiles for your children or devices; filter content, websites, and applications; and establish appropriate time limits — all for $5 a month.