From the user’s point of view, it is therefore advisable to rely on a smart home center that supports as many devices as possible. Homee, developed and manufactured by the Berlin-based GmbH of the same name, aims to meet this requirement.
Homee – The modular smart home center
Die Smart-Home-Zentrale Homee is modular. The basis is the one available in cube form Brain Cube, which integrates smart home devices based on WLAN. Additional dice provide compatibility Zigbee-, Z-Wave- and Enocean-components. In the complete configuration, Homee thus opens up all relevant radio standards in the smart home area and also offers extensions for proprietary manufacturer technologies such as Hörmann bisecure, Warema WMS and Becker Centronic Plus.
The scope of delivery of the Brain Cube includes a 6-watt USB power supply unit with a permanently attached micro-USB cable for the power supply. Alternatively, Homee can also be operated from a USB socket (guide) or a power bank. An optional expansion module such as the Zigbee cube is simply placed on the Brain Cube and, like the Zigbee Cube used in the test, is connected to the central unit via four contacts and a magnetic holder. Expanding with other extensions works in the same way.
Homee is commissioned using the app of the same name. It is available for Android and iOS. The manufacturer offers under my.hom.ee but also one web application, with which users can conveniently manage the smart home center from the desktop, create automations or transfer a backup to a Dropbox account. Homee also offers one Connection to Apple Homekit, so that the devices managed with Homee are also available under Apple’s smart home platform. Users who like to experiment can try out new functions at beta.hom.ee before they are generally available. This was the case with the Homekit connection, for example.
How compatible is Homee?
Using a compatibility list, users can look up which smart home products are compatible with Homee. The provider also provides information about compatible products in the app under Homee-Welt, which users can also purchase immediately if they are interested. Apart from these products, it is not possible to connect devices from other smart home platforms.
Create automations and scenarios
Home automation enables Homee via if-then rules (homeegrams), plans and scenarios. Rules are triggered by mode (home, sleeping, away, vacation), time (once, daily, weekly, expert interval), device (homeegrams), plan, scenario, group, weather, position of the sun, webhook (IFTTT), Presence, location mode, weather and security mode.
Scenarios can consist of several rules. If you create several rules for controlling two lights on the terrace, for example, you should combine them in a scenario if necessary. Unfortunately, the Smartthings app does not allow you to create a scenario from existing rules. Users can provide rules with several conditions and preconditions, so that even complex logic can be mapped. The creation of rules and scenarios is facilitated by examples (Discover), which can also serve as templates for your own rules.
operation in everyday life
Once devices, automations and scenarios have been set up, the operation of a smart home system should be of secondary importance. Ideally, the automations ensure smooth operation of the smart technology. In the test, it worked perfectly with Homee. The lighting was switched on automatically when motion was detected depending on the time and brightness, including the selection of a specific color tone and intensity. Of course, it is also important that the lighting switches itself off again as soon as no movement is registered. That worked too. In the test, Homee also easily managed to switch off certain sockets, for example to minimize energy wastage in standby mode.
A particular highlight is the diary, which shows a detailed history of all events. Users can design the display according to their personal wishes and limit the display to specific events. The filter options are very extensive, so users can quickly see which events were controlled directly via Homee or via Apple Homekit. The grouping function, with which users can combine devices and also assign rooms, is also great.
Overall, the smartphone and web app leave a positive impression. Smart home enthusiasts will be delighted with the variety of options for rules (homeegrams) and scenarios. The integrated backup function on an FTP server is also a good thing. In an emergency, users can easily restore the configuration of Homee after a reset.
However, beginners could be a bit overwhelmed when it comes to operation, since the numerous control and configuration options are not explained. Smart Home by Hornbach (test report), for example, is much more suitable for those thanks to numerous aids in the form of graphically well-prepared instructions.
Activating the Homee skill for Amazon Alexa also works without any problems. However, users not only have to enter the access data for this, but also the Homee ID. In addition to Amazon Alexa, Homee also supports the Google voice assistant.
The basic Homee Brain Cube, with which WLAN components are controlled, costs 149 euros. At Homee they are currently available for 104.30 euros as part of a discount campaign. The Zigbee and Z-Wave extensions are currently available for EUR 91.30. The starter set consisting of a Brain Cube and a Zigbee or Z-Wave extension costs 174.30 euros. In order to integrate as many Smart Home components as possible, the combination of Brain Cube, Zigbee and Z-Wave extension is recommended. It costs a total of 264.90 euros. Smart home components based on Enocean are not as common as Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, so buying the corresponding Homee extension is only worthwhile in exceptional cases.
Managing all components in a smart home under one interface remains a dream. Homee offers at least a good basis with the support of all wireless standards relevant in the smart home. However, the extensive but limited support for smart home components shows that the Berlin developers still have a lot of work to do.
With the last update, Homee now also supports Shelly devices. The release notes also promise the integration of components from other manufacturers that are not yet supported in the future. That would suit the platform well. Because it offers straight in things privacy, complex scenarios and the local execution of rules without cloud constraint many advantages and the more products are supported, the better it is. Overall, Homee is a powerful and reliable platform that covers all scenarios of a smart home. In terms of compatibility, it does not score with mass, but with a small but fine selection, which also includes the control of garage doors and doors from Hörmann, as well as blinds, awnings and roller shutters from Warema WMS and Becker.