Hey there, fellow tech-DIY’ers and super-parents! Ever had that ‘I wish I could clone myself’ moment? Or, wished you’re just beat and wished you had a robot to go turn off that light, remember to remind you of things, etc. Well, we can’t help you clone, but we sure can help you make your home smarter, handier, and way more ‘Baba-efficient.’ Let’s explore setting up a partnership between Google’s Home, Mini, and all Google Assistant enabled devices with a central hub (and its mobile app), like what Samsung’s SmartThings Hub used to be (more on that in a bit). From there, watch your home become a partner in parenting, the silent assistant you never knew you needed, and the chaos tamer that we all crave. And guess what? We’re diving into it all, to help you set this up in a way that you never have to ask for help, be proud, and adjust & customize as you see fit. So, grab your tool cup of coffee, chai, or whatever floats your boat … we’re about to techify your castle.
What Happened to Samsung’s SmartThings Hub?
According to Google’s Bard, Samsung SmartThings is not dead. Instead, it has undergone some significant changes in recent years. In 2020, Samsung announced that it would be divesting itself of its SmartThings hardware business. This meant that Samsung would no longer be manufacturing its own SmartThings hubs and other devices. Instead, Samsung would partner with other companies to produce SmartThings-compatible hardware.
Samsung also announced that it would be making some changes to the SmartThings platform. The new platform would be more open and interoperable, making it easier to connect SmartThings devices to other smart home platforms.
The changes to SmartThings have been met with mixed reactions from users. Some users are happy with the new focus on open interoperability, while others are disappointed that Samsung is no longer manufacturing its own hardware.
Overall, SmartThings is still a viable smart home platform. However, it is important to be aware of the changes that have been made to the platform in recent years.
Here are some of the key changes that have happened to Samsung SmartThings:
- Samsung divested itself of its SmartThings hardware business.
- Samsung made SmartThings more open and interoperable.
- Samsung discontinued some legacy SmartThings products and apps.
- Samsung partnered with Aeotec to produce SmartThings hubs.
Despite these changes, SmartThings is still a powerful and versatile smart home platform. It is compatible with a wide range of devices and services, and it offers a variety of features and automations. If you are looking for a smart home platform that is easy to use and has a wide range of capabilities, then Aeotec’s Smart Home Hub is a very good option. Like many of the Google Assistant devices, the Aeotec Smart Home Hub is also Matter-compatible (the new standard).
The Quest for a Smarter Home
Picture this: A home where you could command the lights, crank up the A/C, and maybe even order the kids to do their chores —all without lifting a finger. And while you could do that with your voice, what if I told you that you can automate that so you never have to? That’s where our tech journey begins, with a hint of the future. And speaking of future, have you heard about the Matter standard? It’s like the cool kid at the smart home block party, still growing up but promising great things. But hey, while it matures, let’s focus on our trusty devices: Google Assistant devices (like the Google Home or Mini) and Aeotec’s Smart Home Hub.
Why Your Home Needs a Smart Home Hub Sidekick
Now, I know you’re thinking, “Google Home? Awesome! But why the heck do I need a Smart Home Hub too?” Well, my friend, think of Aeotec’s Smart Home Hub as the maestro of your smart home orchestra. Some things can connect to Google Assistant devices natively, while others cannot. Or, although they can connect to both, they have more functionality in one over the other. How will you know which goes with what? Well, as a beginner, it really doesn’t matter; and soon enough, it won’t matter because Matter will allow for the connection to be anywhere Matter is supported. Wow, that was a tongue twisting sentence.
Moving on …
So, you’ve got this nifty Smart Home Hub and its app – your ultimate tag team for hooking up all sorts of smart home gizmos from different brands. We’re talking lights, sensors, locks, those genius light switches, buttons, even thermostats. Now, hold on to your socks because once these devices start chitchatting, your possibilities go through the roof. And guess what? SmartThings, which is part of Aeotec’s Smart Home Hub, isn’t just playing nice with its own kind. It’s shaking hands with Google … well, the Google devices that have Google Assistant.
Translation? You can turn your Google Mini into this grand conductor of smart home symphonies. Imagine saying: “Hey Google, lock the front door!” And bam, your smart lock listens up and does just that. Impressive, right? Hold onto your seats, parents and fellow tech-DIY aficionados, because we’re about to open the door to a world of smart home wizardry. In the coming weeks What Would Baba Do (WWBD) will have posts dedicated to integrating certain devices in the easiest and cheapest way possible. So, yeah, there’s more wisdom to come. For now, if you’re ready to dive in, let’s set these two babies up to start talking.
Just remember, for a truly smart home, a central hub is your wizard behind the curtains. And WWBD recommends the Aeotec’s Smart Home Hub for that since it uses SmartThings.
A Quick Overview: Google Home and Google Mini
First up, Google Home – the voice-controlled maestro of our symphony. Imagine this: you’re juggling grocery bags, your kid’s soccer gear, and maybe a furball of energy. Just holler, “Hey Google, lights on!” and voila! No need to drop anything. But wait, there’s more – meet the Google Mini, like Home’s younger sibling. It’s compact, packs a punch, and fits right in those corners where a full-sized Home might feel too extravagant. Perfect for that second-in-command room, or for keeping Home company. And if you’re feeling the automation juices flow, put a Google Mini in each of the kids’ bedrooms (more on why at another time).
Also, when I refer to Google Assistant, I’m referring to the voice-activated assistant available on the Google Home, Mini, and other speakers & devices, and all Google Android devices. With voice control through the Google Assistant, you can control lighting, plugs, thermostats, and Scenes.
FYI: For security reasons, Google Assistant will only support Scenes with lighting, switch, and thermostat (US Only) devices.
Crafting Your Tech Utopia Now
Now, let’s roll up those sleeves and get this tech party started. We’re not wasting time with those boring unboxing rituals but diving straight into the action. Syncing Google Assistant device with Aeotec’s Smart Home Hub is our golden ticket. It’s like the handshake that merges their powers. Imagine this: with a phrase “OK, Google. Good Morning” command, the lights gently brighten, the coffee brews, and your favorite morning tunes play softly. And if you’re parenting a mini-circus, trust me, you’ll cherish this kind of automation like gold. In one such automation, I personally have a Routine that is triggered (a “starter”) on its own in the morning. The routine has delays in it. The first part of the routine will wake up our teenager. Well, technically, it sets the volume of his room’s Google Mini to a certain dream-penetrating level, plays a soft chime (God knows we don’t a worse mood), announces the time, and then it says a typed message I wrote. After a certain interval delay, it does a series of other things including a sterner message. And after another delay, it says something along the lines of “you should be out the door by now. If not, you’re late. You should expect things to escalate soon.”
Excited yet about what you can do? 😉 Let’s establish that connection between your Google Assistant device and your Smart Home Hub. In my case, I still have Samsung’s SmartThings, so here are those instructions.
To add Samsung SmartThings to Google Home, you can:
- Open the Google Home app.
- Tap the Compass icon.
- Select “Settings”.
- Go to “Assistant”.
- Press “Home Control”.
- Select the “Add” button (plus sign) under the “Devices” section.
- Choose “SmartThings”.
- Enter your SmartThings account information.
Smart Home Hub and Google Assistant can be linked through either the Smart Home Hub app or the Google Assistant app.
- Open SmartThings app
- From the Home screen, tap menu (☰) at the bottom right corner.
- Tap Voice Assistant
- Tap Google Assistant
- It’ll automatically direct you to a new screen, tap Authorize. If not, select “Set Up”
- You have to tap Add (+) at the bottom right, and select SmartThings from the list.
- It’ll add all your devices for you, review all the devices and remove any device you don’t want to add. Then tap DONE.
If your SmartThings devices are not showing in the Google Home app, you can try un-linking SmartThings and then re-linking.
To help, here are a few sources for you:
- From the horse’s mouth: Aeotec’s support page.
- Samsung’s page on “Google Assistant Devices with SmartThings”
- A YouTube video (no affiliation) that might make things easier
- I’m a big fan of How-To Geek, and this article might come in handy for you
Now, your Google Assistant device (likely, a Google Home or Mini) is talking to SmartThings and vice versa. To add a device, I always try to add it to Google first. If I can’t, I add it to SmartThings. Sometimes, a device I purchased requires its own application; and then I must connect that new application to either Google or SmartThings. In future WWBD articles, we will explore all kinds of devices.
Once devices are set up, it’s time to see the magic in action.
Simplifying Parental Mayhem
From “Is it bedtime yet?” to “Did you finish your homework?”, the life of a parent is a chaotic yet beautiful mess. But here’s the secret sauce: Google Assistant devices makes it smoother. You can set up routines, like an orchestra conductor leading a well-orchestrated performance. Bedtime routine? Check. Morning hustle? Check. Homework nagging? You betcha! Plus, it’s not just for you – it’s for the kiddos too. Educational games, stories, and chore management? Google Assistant’s got your back, parents.
Saving the Planet, One Command at a Time
Oh, and the cherry on top? Energy efficiency. With Google Assistant and SmartThings, you’re not just managing your home; you’re managing your carbon footprint. Dimming lights, adjusting the thermostat, and keeping a watchful eye on energy-hogging devices – it’s like being a Baba to your home’s energy habits. How cool is that? Not only are you super-dad (OK, super-Baba just sounded weird), but you’re also a planet-saving champ.
Troubleshooting: When Tech Hits a Snag
Look, we’ve all been there – tech tantrums. Devices that refuse to connect, voice commands that get lost in translation – it happens. But worry not, my fellow parents! Troubleshooting those tantrums and keeping your castle running like a well-oiled machine – I’ve got you covered. Drop as much details as you can in the comments. Between YouTube, Google, ChatGPT, and others I’m sure we can find a solution 😉.
Welcome to the Future, Parents!
As you wrap your head around the magic of Google Assistant and SmartThings, remember—you’re not just embracing smart devices —It’s not just about gadgets; it’s about simplifying your life, connecting with your family, and embracing a future where your home works in tandem with you. From Baba-duty delegation to energy-efficient victories, you’re leading the charge into a smarter tomorrow. So, fellow tech-DIY’ers and ultimate parents, grab your tech tool belt and let’s build a home that’s as smart as it is warm – just like you. ▪️
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