Originally Posted by Rgb
I question the need for a dedicated control hub for routine home control, ie most DIY'ers and common HT's.
With recent vintage direct wifi and bluetooth control, plus powerful IR blaster hubs like the HArmony and other wifi IR blasters, your home wifi router and smartphone are the "hubs". If you have range/reception issues over wifi, use addon wifi accesspoints/range extenders/repeaters from TP-Link or similar.
THe principal is to use stock, standard wifi and Buetooth and IR infrastructier for control, avoiding proprietary control systems that lock you into a restricted ecosytem.
"most DIY'rs / common HT's"...yes. Most don't need anything. Just a standard IR remote control.
Once your system grows (as an "advanced" DIY'r or as one who like to add more toys that require control) then it starts becoming the "drawer of IR remote controls" problem that existed before the "universal remote control" came out.
What further creates this control problem is not all devices are IR.
As a general statement, IR is the worst control system to implement. No status, line of sight, reliability issues (both mechanical - emitters falling off of hardware and devices not "seeing" the IR). There are definite reasons IR isn't used on any commercial quality implementation. When the ability to control the system affects the business.
The common paradigm is "remote control". Automation is another level of capability not understood or implemented by most. Just the "advanced DIY'rs" and pros. If the control system is living on your phone - how does the automation work when you leave for work?
Most control systems bridge across many of the proprietary device and communication methods (WiFi / Bluetooth / Serial / IP / IR / Zigbee / Z-Wave / X10 / Insteon / UPB / DMX / MQTT etc) so the end user doesn't need to understand any of that technical doo dads. The days of a control system ONLY working with it's own hardware / services is pretty much gone now. Certainly the bigger players (google / Nest, Amazon, Crestron) continue to try to force one into their ecosystem and keep them there. But there are plenty of alternatives that are more open.
Using a smartphone as your "hub": how does that help anyone else in the house? You have a party, stream music from your phone and then get a call...kinda annoying for your guests.
Just from a definitions perspective, a Hub is really an automation controller. It typically includes communication radios (several), Rules processing, User interface support, variables for status, security, external access rights.
A User Interface device can be a handheld remote control, a wall switch, a smartphone UI, an on wall touch panel, a PC desktop UI, a Voice to Text to Natural Language Processor integration, etc.
A dedicated control system is just another piece of sophistication and advancement.
The evolution: Local device control - no integration, handheld remote control (IR and other), Universal remote controls, smartphone app that controls it's stuff (Denon Heos, Sonos etc), smartphone app that controls several groups of stuff (iRule and others), Basic hub (SmartThings, Vera, ISY others), Dedicated Controllers (Vantage, Homeworks), Full featured automation and media control (myServer, Crestron, Control4, Homeseer, Savant, CQC, etc).
Nothing wrong with any of these levels. Each meet some needs, each has a complexity and cost. Generally the more stuff that needs to be orchestrated (like in a Sports Bar or higher end home), the more need for a more capable control system that works 24x7x365 with no trendy phone to rely upon. No different than people's definition of a "home theater". Some think a BestBuy box system is great, others pay $hundreds of thousands on just the construction aspects...
I see you are SE Michigan- so are we