Enter the smart home: part 8 – Gigaset
These days, monitoring your belongings to protect them isn’t just paranoia, but part of any well-equipped smart home. Sensors for water or smoke warn you of impending danger so that you can react in time. Network cameras, window and door sensors, motion detectors and sirens provide additional security within your home. Temperature, humidity and air pressure sensors also ensure that you always have the climate in your home under control and can react if values are too low or too high. Smart thermostats enable you to control your heating remotely and preheat your holiday home while you’re still en route. Ideally, you should choose a solution for your smart home system in which all products come from the same manufacturer. This way you avoid compatibility problems. The Gigaset range includes devices for all the mentioned areas. After Homematic IP, Philips Hue, tado°, Netatmo, Devolo, Aqara, and Eve Systems, let’s see how Gigaset products can make some or all of your rooms smarter. Welcome to part 8 in my introduction to smart homes.
From monitoring to warnings to heating
Gigaset’s smart home system works with a base station, which you can buy either separately or as a set. Apart from the siren, which is plugged into the mains, any additional devices available and connected to the hub run on battery power, communicating with each other via DECT ULE. With this focus on energy-saving technology, Gigaset ensures that you won’t have to keep changing batteries. DECT ULE offers greater coverage than Bluetooth LE, so you won’t need a range extender. Since the control panel is connected to the power supply as well as a router, you’ll need a free slot in both places. Both the indoor and outdoor cameras are also connected to this circuit and communicate with the base station via Wi-Fi. Additionally, both models store their recordings in the cloud on top of offering a motion detector and night vision. Lastly, the indoor camera offers a speaker and microphone for two-way audio, while the outdoor unit can also function via Ethernet cable, as a standalone camera, and without Gigaset Smarthome integration.
Compact, square window sensors will monitor your windows. They recognise deliberate openings, closures and, above all, attempts at manipulation. Meaning that if someone shakes the window or tries to lift it off its hinges from the outside, the sensor will register it. In addition, it can distinguish between normal and tilted windows, which allows you to activate it even when your window is at an angle. Gigaset’s equally handy door sensors are in no way inferior either, detecting whether a door has been forced open or not. You can also use the universal sensor, which looks just like the previous two products, wherever you like. Whether it’s a cat flap, skylight or sliding door: it recognises when something that’s open should actually be closed – and vice versa. In summary, the universal sensor can not only detect open, closed and tilted windows, but also measure temperature and air pressure. The window sensor measures neither temperature nor air pressure, but also detects open, closed or tilted windows. Finally, the door sensor measures temperature and air pressure, but cannot detect tilted windows. In addition, the universal sensor can be reprogrammed to another sensor via an app, while the door and window sensors only work as intended. A siren gives you a clear warning if anyone’s tampering with windows and doors, but also if there’s a flood or if the motion detector has been triggered.
The smart switch from Gigaset replaces your smartphone when used with hazard detectors. You can use it to activate the alarm or turn it off. Aside from that, you can also use it to turn common devices like lamps or TVs on and off, as long as you interpose a smart plug. This way, you can control your Gigaset alarm system and other gadgets connected to the power grid at the touch of a button and without a cell phone. Thanks to several click options – short, long, very long or double – you can also programme various commands and devices. Gigaset’s climate sensor can inform your smartphone about temperature and humidity, suggesting ventilation intervals to prevent mould. The smart thermostat, meanwhile, can control your heating from anywhere via cell phone. In conjunction with other Gigaset sensors, for example, heating automatically shuts down as soon as an open window is reported. You can alternatively give it a boost in the winter at the touch of a button.
What you’ll need
Apart from the outdoor camera, which also works as a standalone device, you’ll need a base station for all other Gigaset Smarthome products. You’ll connect it to the main and your router. The hub communicates with other sensors, detectors, cameras and thermostats via DECT ULE technology. Moreover, thanks to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatibility, you can combine all products with other devices and smart homes that also support these standards. However, I believe and have experienced that products from the same manufacturer cause the least problems. The Gigaset Elements app – available for both iOS and Android – lets you control your smart products on a cell phone or tablet. In the app, you’ll find instructions on how to set up and install the base station and add more sensors, as well as various settings for additional sensors. You can programme automated processes, coordinate individual products with each other, or add devices from other manufacturers to your smart home via the Gigaset adapter.
All smart products from Gigaset are quick and easy to install, even without electrical engineering know-how. The app guides you through the respective installations step by step. You won’t need any tools to get your Gigaset smart home up and running, and you don’t have to worry about cable chaos, as apart from the cameras and the base station, all devices work wirelessly and on battery power. The siren, which comes without a cable, but is placed directly on the socket, is also simple and quickly put into operation. Thanks to battery-saving DECT-ULE technology, there is no need to replace batteries frequently – the compact and inconspicuous sensors function for several years on the same battery. The system is additionally extremely beginner-friendly and very quick to set up. You can also expand existing smart home systems with Gigaset products, as long as they support DECT ULE technology that’s compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. For this, you won’t need any additional devices – apart from the smartphone you already own anyway – which favours a problem-free integration into other systems.
A suitable product for every area
As all products communicate with each other using DECT ULE, the Gigaset smart home gives you a reliable connection without overloading your Wi-Fi. Thanks to simple and fast plug-and-play commissioning, you can make your home smarter in just a few minutes. Gigaset offers a wide range of smart devices in addition to cell phones and telephones, so expanding your smart home to include other areas and additional features is a breeze. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support even allows you to upgrade processes, rooms and products that you don’t find in Gigaset’s range. In addition, the sensors are compact, come in a simple design and are priced at an untypically low level for many smart home products. This means that Gigaset devices aren’t only easy on your wallet, but also don’t require you to make any major changes to your interior design.
Despite the rather low price, you won’t have to make any compromises in terms of quality with Gigaset products – regardless of whether it’s the base station, camera or sensor. The products are well made and don’t change in colour even after several months in the sun. digitec’s community also praised the varied range enabled by DECT as well as the space-saving design. The problem-free connection, precise functioning and favourable price of all sensors is also well liked. Using Gigaset’s window, door and motion detectors, burglars will have a much harder time, says one user. Some buyers also emphasise that door and window sensors need to be distinguished. They’re specifically configured for their respective area of application and should therefore not be interchanged. The battery life is also nothing to complain about according to much positive feedback.
Although there’s more than just a network camera, a water detector and a base station in Gigaset’s range, the assortment could be a bit wider. Compared to other providers for example, they lack roller shutter actuators, thermostats for floor heating, lighting options or weather sensors. Although I can switch to alternatives that also work with Google Assistant or Alexa from Amazon. Nevertheless, from experience, I have the least difficulty when all products are from the same manufacturer. Some users also complained that for some products adjusted settings often have to be entered again. There are also some negative reviews regarding false alarms. Here, however, the positive feedback outnumbers the negative. The siren is criticised for needing to be constantly connected to a power supply and not allowing battery usage. Regarding the outdoor camera, some are annoyed that – while the hardware is great – a separate subscription is necessary to use all functions.
For home monitoring via cameras, Eve Systems offer solid alternative products with the Eve Cam while Netatmo’s Presence isn’t bad either. Since both manufacturers also offer hazard detectors for flooding, smoke, and doors or windows, you can also use them if needed. Devolo also has a motion detector, a humidity sensor and a water level detector. You won’t compromise with any of these manufacturers or their devices if you don’t like Gigaset’s products. Aside from Gigaset, Eve Systems has the best value for money. Both Netatmo, Devolo, and Eve offer more or less the same features to protect your belongings. There’s also a water sensor from Homematic IP that warns you in case of floods and informs you via your smartphone and a siren. However, since Homematic IP products require a bit more IT and electrical knowledge, I wouldn’t recommend them to you if you’re flirting with a simple plug-and-play solution such as Gigaset.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Gigaset’s temperature and humidity sensors, my advice is to go straight for a thermostat. Preferably, you’d choose one from Gigaset, but you can also switch to other manufacturers. Not only does a smart thermostat provide current data, it can also control your heating at the same time. This saves you electricity and money in the long run. Here, products from tado°, Netatmo, Devolo or Homematic IP are potential fallback options. For the Gigaset switch, you can find devices with similar functionality with Eve or Homematic IP, for example. These are also mountable without major electrical installations and quickly set up. Dingz also offers an interesting alternative with the smart wall switch. Although an existing switch has to give way for the installation, you get a logically structured app, countless expansion options and compatibility with many other systems. As a replacement for Gigaset’s window and door contacts, I can recommend those from Eve Systems or Homematic IP. The latter sensors a bit bigger and flashier, yet they still offer the same protection and can be embedded in the almost infinitely expandable smart home universe of Homematic IP.
For shrewd users and amateurs alike
Gigaset’s smart home system impresses with an extensive range, high-quality yet affordable products – such as thermostats, water sensors or motion detectors – and an unobtrusive design. It saves power thanks to DECT-ULE technology and is compatible with Google Assistant. Apple Homekit users, on the other hand, will be left out in the cold. You can make all areas of your home smarter with Gigaset devices. Without the base station, only the outdoor camera runs by itself – all other sensors, detectors and buttons need the central unit to function. The Gigaset Elements app is logically designed, works smoothly, and keeps you up to date on all the products in your Gigaset smart home. You can easily add further hazard detectors, cameras, sensors and buttons to your existing system via the app and simple plug-and-play features. If you’re an electronics pro and like to tinker with your system, I recommend a more advanced system – Homematic IP, for example. If, on the other hand, you want an easy-to-install, inconspicuous, inexpensive and yet high-quality entry-level smart home solution, Gigaset is the right choice.
Homematic IP offers an easy entry into the smart home universe. Philips Hue is even easier to work with, with a focus on lighting. tado° plays to its strengths in the area of smart heating. Products from Netatmo monitor everything in and around your home. Devolo offers you not only an extensive smart home range but also powerful network products. With Aqara, you can rely on a Xiaomi subsidiary and a rather smaller player with inexpensive products. Eve Systems also relies on a manageable range, but still offers a suitable product for all important areas of your smart home. Finally, Gigaset scores points with ecological, compact and relatively cheap gadgets, able to make any room in your house smarter.
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In the next part, I’ll show you what devices from Bosch can do for your smart home. If you want to join me on my mission and don’t want to miss any smart home articles, follow me by clicking on the «Follow author» button on my profile.Image sources for teasers: haus.de and imaedia.de
Senior Editor, Zurich