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Logitech debuts harmonious command hub for the home

17 September 2014, 5:00 pm EDT By Quinten Plummer Tech Times
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Logitech want to serve as the intermediary for smart home products from different manufacturers. Logitech's Harmony line now includes a smart home hub.  ( Image courtesy of Logitech )

Logitech is tiptoeing out of the living room home theatre environment, exploring ways to connect the rest of the house and offering up a lineup of home automation products.

Logitech's Harmony line, a series of universal remote controls, now includes the Home Hub, Ultimate Home remote, Home Control remote and Hub Extender.

The Home Hub serves as the quarterback of the setup, receiving play calls from home owners and passing them along to other players in the connected home. The Home Hub uses RF, IR, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi pass-along commands to the extender and other compatible devices.

Logitech says users can deploy the new Harmony products to control TVs, set-top boxes, speakers, light fixtures, thermostats, locks, window shades and other elements of homes via a smartphone or one of the company's remote controls. Users can chain connected elements into "activities" for more complex home automation, says Logitech.

"[You] can easily combine multiple devices into Activities to trigger at once so you can power on your TV, dim your lights, adjust the temperature and open your window shades all at the same time," says Logitech. "You can start an Activity with one touch of your remote or mobile device, automatically on a custom schedule, or by passing a sensor. You can even trigger Activities from the Harmony Mobile App when you're not at home."

The new Harmony products will help to ensure smart products from other manufacturers can speak a common language when they work in the same home, according to Chad Thompson, Logitech's senior director of worldwide marketing and product management.

"Harmony led the path for simplifying home entertainment, and now we've taken that expertise to also simplify home automation," says Thompson. "As more connected devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, Philips hue lights and August Smart Locks come to market and enter the home, there's more of a need than ever before for a centralized way to simply control all of the home's devices -- the Harmony Living Home lineup does just that."

Right now, the new Harmony products are compatible with offerings from August, Honeywell, Kwikset, Lutron, Nest, PEQ, Philips hue, Schlage, SmartThings, Sylvania, Yale and Zuli. Logitech says it has launched a developer's program to entice home automation companies to add to Harmony's list of approximately 270,000 compatible products.

Ecobee, claiming to have developed a smarter thermostat, could be a nice addition to the Harmony line's list of compatible products. The Ecobee3 promises to account for temperatures in all rooms of a home when adjusting HVAC output.

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