We all like technology, but don’t want to pay too much when experimenting with smart homes. There are two kinds of smart home systems, those controlled by a complex hub, and the less expensive option, where the devices are plug and play and can communicate directly with your smartphone

A hub-less approach is the easiest way to start a smart home

In 2015, America had 12.7 million smart homes, and the number has definitely shot up since then. Millions more people want to join, in but either don’t understand the technology or invest large amounts of money.

Do you want to enjoy the control and fun features of a smart home light bulb, but don’t want the cost or hassle of setting up a hub for it, as some costly options like Philips’ Hue range of lights require? Do you just want to see what’s going on around your home without the need to have expensive extra equipment? That’s where the difference lies between hubless smart home gadgets, and other devices that require extra boxes and connectivity, plus additional time to set up and manage them.

You might just want to see if the technology is any good, or fancy a bit of fun with a color light bulb in your bedroom or living room. A Philips Hue starter kit is $70, but you can get white bulb for $13, or a color bulb that works with your phone via an app or using voice commands from Amazon Alexa for just $18. And they are LED bulbs too that will still help you save energy.

The idea of a smart home sounds great, and the many advertisements show products like smart lights, door locks, home monitoring cameras and thermostats all working happily. The reality is that most smart home products need devices called hubs, which handle the radio communications between wireless devices. And, while they may work superbly in the advertisements, quite often there are lots of setup problems at home. A simpler solution reduces or removes that complexity.

wifi cameras to upgrade your smart home

WiFi cameras make it easy to monitor your home from anywhere

Going hubless with cheaper light bulbs and door cameras saves time and money

These bulbs let you use your phone to dim or control the lights, and if you buy more than one for a room, you can control them together or individually. Some like those from GE include a few themes for a relaxing evening or getting up in the morning.

However, as they rely on Bluetooth wireless rather than Wi-Fi,you cannot control them when away from home. But for that price, you are still getting a well-featured bulb, making it quite the bargain.

The lesser the degrees of connectivity technology there is in the process of using a bulb, the less there is that can go wrong. With a cheap smart bulb, you just screw it into the light bulb socket, pair it your phone via the app and are up and running, with no extra steps.

smart home bulb without a need for a hub

Hubless smart home technology is a faster way to try these gadgets out

Easy setup and instant fault finding

Some of us may have little technical skill, which can be a problem when trying to set up a standard Smart home. That’s where everything is controlled by a Smart home hub. The hub, device and app have lots of options, settings, updates, incompatibilities and error codes that are hard to understand.

Without that pressure of complex setting up, you can put a smart bulb in a child’s room, along with the living room, and make sure they go off at bedtime and turn on in time for the them to get up.

Also, some of these cheaper bulbs may not work out of the box, but with this simpler setup, you will know it’s wrong straight away, and not have a complex set of fault finding tasks to go through to figure out what is wrong.

An easier way to start building a smart home, or just to enjoy the benefits of some fun devices is to get a WiFi Lucky Clover light bulb or a SpotCam HD camera. Pair it with your home WiFi, and then you can access it either in the home or from further afield with your smartphone. WiFI cameras can help you keep an eye on your pet or front door.

Most smart apps can support up to four bulbs without the need for a hub, check the product specifications to find out exactly. This means you can run multiple lights in a room and control the bulbs as one.

A Lucky Clover light bulb in action with Alexa

Low-cost smart home gadgets are a great way to experience the power of a smart home without the cost. You can add lights as and when you like, and control them with minimal fuss. If you like what you can do with them, then you might want to upgrade to a hub-based system which offers more flexibility, control from anywhere, and the option to add far more smart home devices.

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