Consumer tech firm Logitech is bringing its universal remote talents to the home control market with new home automation compatibility and a quartet of new products. Dubbed the Harmony Living Home lineup, the company is promising easy access and control over a library of both entertainment and home automation devices -- all from one central control system.
Harmony Living Home lets you use your remote, tablet or smartphone to control your TV, set-top box, speakers, lighting, thermostat, door locks, window shades and other devices. You can also combine multiple devices into “Activities” to turn on or off several devices at once. That means you could choose to turn on your TV, dim your lights, lower the temperature and close your shades with one touch. And a mobile app lets you do all this even if you're not home.
“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,” said Chad Thompson, Senior Director of Worldwide Marketing and Product Management at Logitech. He said the Harmony Living Home lineup answers the call.
We turned to Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, to get his thoughts on Logitech’s new products. Although it’s too soon to tell how Logitech’s new innovations will perform in the market, he told us one thing is certain: right now home automation is really hot.
“Companies like Qualcomm, Google, and Microsoft have jumped into this with both feet. I wonder about a remote, however platforms like Insteon -- the platform I use -- have their own hubs and use smartphones and tablets as remotes,” Enderle said.
“Of all of the affordable universal remote platforms only Harmony has the breadth to try to address this market. The others are either too limited or like Creston are too complex and/or too expensive for most," he added. "But with smartphones and tablets moving into this space aggressively and more likely to be more convenient to the user, any remote would seem to soon be redundant.”
What Brands Can You Use?
Drilling down into the product line, the Harmony Home Hub uses RF, IR, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to relay commands from Logitech Harmony Living Home remotes or the Harmony mobile app to home entertainment and home automation devices. The cost: $99.99.
Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home remote offers a 2.4-inch color touchscreen and allows you to integrate and control compatible home automation devices and up to 15 home entertainment devices. The cost: $349.99. For a lower-tech solution, you can choose the Harmony Home Control, which offers a button-only remote. The cost is $149.99. Finally, the Harmony Hub Extender lets you control lights, locks, sensors, garage doors and other devices operating through ZigBee or Z-Wave. It runs $129.99.
In terms of device compatibility, here’s a list of vendors Logitech is working with: August, Honeywell, Kwikset, Lutron, the Nest Learning Thermostat, PEQ, Philips hue, Schlage, SmartThings, Sylvania, Yale and Zuli. All told, there are over 270,000 compatible devices. The new lineup is set to start selling in September, except the Hub Extender, which will come to market in December.