Homey Bridge promises privacy-focused home automation

Athom announced today that its Homey Bridge smart home hub and companion app will finally be available to customers in the US starting January 18. Athom says its smart home system, which is now available in Europe, was designed with consumer privacy in mind. The $ 69 device will be offered for sale at Amazon, Best Buy, The Home Depot, and other major retailers.

By their very nature, smart home centers get to know a lot about your private life: they know your daily routines, when you are home and when you are away, the temperatures you are comfortable with, how much energy you consume. , which rooms you occupy the most and many more. If that data is collected, it can be used to create a profile about you and your family, and that profile can be used for advertisements, targeted marketing, and more. You may have already experienced this with Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, Alexa will sometimes suggest products or services related to your inquiries.

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The Homey Bridge can control your smart home through local connections or the Internet.

While the Athom Homey hub supports all the infrastructure your smart home might need: Zigbee, Z-Wave Plus, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, infrared, and a 433MHz radio, all of which can be controlled through a single application, promises the manufacturer. None of your personal data will be sold or used for profiling, advertising or marketing.

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The Homey app features a tile-based user interface.

However, the free version of the Homey app lets you control just five devices. If you want more, as any smart inhabitant of your home will do, you’ll need to switch to the paid version of the app. Fortunately, that costs just $ 2.99 a month and allows you to control an unlimited number of smart devices. Athom says that Home is compatible with 50,000 smart devices from more than 1,000 manufacturers.

“Each home is unique; It is not a one size fits all. Most of today’s smart home systems are focused on a single brand, technology or use case, ”said co-founder and creative director Emile Nijssen. “As a result, your smart home can quickly become complicated and cluttered with all sorts of different applications.”

A app store Within the Homey app it allows device manufacturers to add additional features and currently has around 750 different apps. Athom says that these apps are automatically added in the background and used to control the device. However, a quick review of the app store reveals that most of these apps are developed by Athom, not the manufacturer. A hands-on review will reveal just how limited it is, which we’ll dive into soon.

Smart devices controlled through the app can use three independent functions: Flow, Insight and Energy. Flow uses IFTTT-like automation to control devices based on preset rules, while Insight provides data on smart device usage within the home. The energy is intended both to control and to adjust the energy consumption of a home.

The Homey Bridge joins the Homey Pro, a more robust smart home hub with similar privacy features. The Pro adds a built-in speaker and Wi-Fi support to act as a backup when your normal Wi-Fi network is down, but that device remains available only in Europe.


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