Integrate your Z-Wave devices with Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant

The DIY Home Automation market has moved radically in the last few years to emphasise easy integration with digital assistants from Amazon and Google. Siri has been seeing accelerating penetration here as well since the introduction of HomeKit, and that platform’s large captive user base and easy automation between multiple device makers has spurred things along. 

Prior to these big plays, though, home automation was firmly the province of Z-Wave and ZigBee vendors. Z-ave being the popular communication base of choice for professional installations, and there is subsequently a large, affordable device base already established. 

While plagued with questioanable security for a time, Z-Wave security has seen a major boost with the newer version of the protocol and a concerted push to force compliance from hardware vendors. The one piece really missing from these offerings has been good voice control options. As is often the case with industrial vendors, the user experience side can be left lacking and there hasn’t really been a good  option for leveraging the consumer focused voice assistants as they rapidly mature.

This is where the Z-Wave Automation Bridge from Skaro Technology comes in. This small bridge device is designed top work specifically with two major vendors of Z-Wave systems, Vera and Fibaro. If you have a gateway device from these either of these guys enabling app control of your Z-Wave setup, then you’re in luck.

IMG_0283.JPG
IMG_0282.JPG

The Skaro unit plays nicely with the Vera Edge and Vera Plus gateways, and the Fibaro Home Center 2. In the case of the latter additional plugins are also available to enhance functionality of your system. Currently Automation Bridge supports Logitech Harmony remotes, WeMo switches, Bose Sound Harmony speakers, and Nanoleaf Aurora devices. More plugins are promised at this point as well.

Setting up the device is as simple as plugging it into your router, accessing it’s on-board web admin page and configuring a few settings to connect to your Z-Wave gateway. Once done, you’ll be able to control lights, switches, locks, blinds, and thermostats through Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. Siri is also able to get the status of sensors, including temperature, motion, humidity, and door/window switches by voice commands as the HomeKit platform can capture stateful data as well as sending commands.

ab_store_image.png

While this does open up the options for adding devices to your smart home setup from a wide range of Z-Wave options, I’d still recommend looking at devices specifically suited to your platform of choice rather than adding something like this just for one specific gadget. The cost overhead for a step out solution (remember that you need the gateway as well) would be prohibitive in most scenarios. If your have an existing Z-Wave setup, though, and a supported gateway, then this device is a great addition to improve flexibility, integration, and user experience for a relatively low cost.

The Automation Bridge is available now from Skaro for under $200.