Smart home via cloud: five apps for control and automation in comparison

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The smart home addiction usually starts with just one product: the app-controlled light is joined by streaming speakers in different rooms, smart thermostats, security, and climate sensors. The more components are added, the more manufacturers are on board, whose products each want to be controlled via their own apps. But who wants a separate app on their smartphone for each device? The solution: control technology across manufacturers – and this is where cloud-based control apps come into play. We compared five such apps, namely: Amazon Alexa, Home Connect Plus, IFTTT, Olisto, and Yonomi.

The focus is on the extent to which you can manually operate devices individually or in groups, get an overview via the dashboard, and create rules. We also go into how clearly the services document which brands, devices, and functions they can network – unfortunately that is not a matter of course. Of course, the question of costs and which data protection conditions are based on the use of the apps also arises. How much private data you give into third-party hands does not only depend on the platforms, but also on the manufacturer clouds for the devices that you connect to.

Entry into the smart home

The app offers are easily accessible because apart from the manufacturer’s control centers for the home network, you don’t have to install any additional hardware – an Internet connection and an e-mail account are sufficient. The network platforms regulate the access and exchange of switching commands and device data via a cloud-to-cloud interface. It is therefore mandatory that the servers of the app provider and the device manufacturer as well as your home network are always online.

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