In the span of a decade, we’ve seen great minds the world over hone in on iOS and Android. That focus, along with unified SDKs and development expectations, has created a robust market of apps and solutions for the majority of the world’s smartphone users. During that same decade, the home automation market has barely inched forward — in many ways, it’s actually regressed. Fragmentation has crippled the smart home, and, with no unification in sight, Logitech took it upon itself to be the great conjurer of peace.
The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home is the ideal remote for bringing together a gaggle of smart products, and it’s built by a company that has already taken a similarly neutral stance in the home theater space. From Blu-ray players to HDTVs to colorful lighting to thermostats, this single remote (as well as tablets and smartphones equipped with the Harmony Control app) is capable of controlling everything. Instead of forcing a suite of products to speak a single language, Logitech has built a remote that speaks every language. With few commonalities across smart devices, it takes a product like this to make everything truly work in harmony. Presently, you can buy lights, switches, and triggers that operate within Zigbee, Z-Wave, WeMo, and Thread protocols… and that’s just to name a few. Instead of having to outfit your home with options from only one of those, the Ultimate Home invites you to install a mixture. It’ll handle the coordination.
Of course, creating a singular remote to dictate the motions of every connected device in your abode comes with its own set of challenges; because you’re using a third-party control apparatus, there’s the occasional glitch. Overall, the Harmony Ultimate Home is still a huge leap forward, freeing you up to buy the lights, thermostat and TV you want, regardless of who the manufacturer is. The last thing you need is to have your home locked into its own ecosystem.
Connectivity: IR, wi-fi, Bluetooth (via Harmony Hub)
Mobile Compatibility: iOS & Android
Home Automation System Compatibility: Philips Hue lighting, Nest thermostats, Honeywell thermostats, August smart locks, Lutron systems, SmartThings, WeMo ZigBee or Z-Wave protocols with Harmony Hub Extender (sold separately)