Logitech Harmony shows a new way to automate smart homes

You may have heard of countless “Internet of Things” appliances and gadgets from the likes of Nest, Honeywell, or Phillips and may even own a few of them. Keeping them all under rein, especially when coming from different brands, might be more work than you’re prepared to do. Enter Logitech’s update Harmony lineup, which promises to maker your smart home even smarter.

Logitech is introducing a new batch of Harmony remotes and home hub, which we’ll get to in a while, but perhap the most interesting part of it is a new feature common to all of them, including its Android and iOS app, called Activities. Sure you can set different appliances, bulbs, and monitors to do something at a touch of a button or at a certain time, but do you really want to do all that from separate apps or remote controls? With Logitech Harmony Activities, you not only have a single app to control them, you can make them work in concert with each other. A “Movie” activity, for example, would let you dim the lights, turn on a lamp, pull down the shades, and start the DVR, all by tapping a single button. A “Morning” activity, on the other hand, can be set to pull up the shades, adjust the temperature and start the morning news on TV all at the same time.

As mentioned, you can get this functionality on mobile apps as well as the new remote controls Logitech is unveiling. The Ultimate Home model combines both analog buttons and a touchscreen interface with what looks like Android running inside. Those too overwhelmed by a touchscreen can opt for the simpler Home Control, which makes room for even more buttons. Both naturally support the new Harmony activities feature. Both also come with the Logitech Harmony Home Hub which makes all the inter-appliance communication possible. It has Bluetooth, IR, RF, and WiFi to account for almost every connection possible. And if that weren’t enough, you can also get the Logitech Harmony Home Hub Extender which adds Zigbee and Z-Wave to the mix.

The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home, which comes in black and white color options, sells for $349.99 while the Logitech Harmony Home Control goes for only $149.99, also in black and white choices. The Logitech Harmony Home Hub, which can also be purchased on its own, has a $99.99 price tag. The Extender, on the other hand, will still be coming soon. From September 21 to November 1 this year, existing Logitech Harmony owners can take their old remotes to Best Buy and upgrade to a Ultimate Home version and even get a $100 discount for it.

Download: Logitech Harmony on Google Play Store

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