Enter the smarthome: part 1 – Homematic IP
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Enter the smarthome: part 1 – Homematic IP

Raphael Knecht
Zurich, on 05.11.2020
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
Smarthome products can automate your everyday life. And to help you navigate this jungle of providers, allow me to introduce you to the most common systems. Homematic IP is up first.

Intelligent wall thermostats regulate your heating during the winter months. Smart roller shutters darken your rooms just as the first rays of sun pierce through your windows in summer. Connected weather stations can even deliver up to date info directly to your linked devices so that they can react accordingly. Smarthome systems have almost no limits. Everything interacts, is networked and automates your daily routine. But still, baby steps. To help you find out which system is right for you and what you have to pay attention to, here are various providers and their products in detail. This first instalment is all about Homematic IP.

access point
Homematic IP access point

Of smoke detectors and sockets

Is one smart speaker not enough for you? Tired of your old smartwatch? Do you seek to automate your home and its surroundings as much as possible? In this case, all components should be from the same manufacturer. This minimises the risk of products not being compatible with each other. In addition, all devices use the same technology, and you have a single point of access in case of problems. If this sounds like your cup of tea, then I recommend Homematic IP.

Homematic IP products can connect your home quickly and easily.
Homematic IP products can connect your home quickly and easily.

The products, produced by the eQ-3 Group, offer easy entry into the smarthome universe. The respective devices are kept simple, don't require a lot of previous knowledge and can be installed by users with a little basic knowledge of electrical engineering. Otherwise, you'll need a trained electrician to install Homematic IP products quickly and correctly. From automated roller shutters and smart wall thermostats to networked smoke and fire alarms: Homematic IP solutions can be used almost anywhere in the household. Even simple things such as a floor lamp can be controlled via your phone if you connect them with a smart socket from Homematic IP. Neither electrical expertise nor conversion work is required for this.

Homematic or Homematic IP

When selecting the products you want, you should decide whether you want Homematic or Homematic IP. Both systems come from the same manufacturer, they even sound similar, but they do work differently. As the name suggests, Homematic IP is based on the cloud – hence the «IP». The newer of the two systems can also be controlled via an app and is therefore more user-friendly than the Homematic solution. Thanks to the cloud, you can also access your system from anywhere. This has the disadvantage, however, of the app being useless as long as the servers aren't accessible. You can still control the products locally, but nothing will work online anymore. The whole thing runs via the so-called access point, which is connected to your router with which all products communicate. It's the control centre of every Homematic IP smart home solution.

The Homematic IP app is logically structured and easy to use.
The Homematic IP app is logically structured and easy to use.

Homematic is the older version and a predecessor of Homematic IP. In comparison to the Homematic IP access point, Homematic works with a base station called CCU2. You also attach it to the local network and can manage settings and everything else in the browser. You can optionally also control the Homematic smarthome system from anywhere. But to do this you'll need the Cloudmatic extension, bringing with it some additional costs. Homematic IP devices can be easily connected to the CCU2 base from Homematic. Thanks to this compatibility, you get a lot of other products to make your home that much smarter. On the other hand, Homematic's web interface is much slower, outdated and less intuitive than that of Homematic IP. Installation and configuration is also more difficult.

All that you need

In order for your Homematic IP products to function and interact with each other, you'll need the access point mentioned above. It'll act as the hub for your smarthome. You can also connect it to a router to control products from the app. After that, you can install as many Homematic IP products as you like. They communicate with each other and the access point by radio. This way you can automate your lamps by dimming and switching actuators depending on the program or the weather. Or you can make your heating smarter by replacing your thermostats with those from Homematic IP. In addition to app control, you can still control switches and thermostats directly from the device.

Radio window and door contact with magnet
Homematic IP Radio window and door contact with magnet
Radiator thermostat
49.95was 55.95
Homematic IP Radiator thermostat

If you're willing to install the products yourself, it is extremely important that you follow all warnings and also the small print in the user manuals. This includes, for example, turning off the electricity before doing anything to your electrical installations. I also recommend that you inform yourself about your Homematic IP product and the one you want to replace in advance. This way you'll know better when removing or installing it. Furthermore, basic knowledge in electrical engineering is extremely helpful. The more you know about it, the better and less problematic installation will become. You should know what a neutral wire is, what coloured wiring stands for, and how the equipment you want to replace is connected. If the Homematic IP products are correctly installed and wired, they'll connect to the access point and appear in the app. All further steps can be done comfortably via a mobile phone or tablet.

For Smarthome beginners and more experienced users

Homematic IP products are perfect for smart home newcomers. In just a few steps you can automate various areas of your home. The devices are quickly connected, easy to use and can all be controlled from a mobile phone or tablet via an app. The app is available for both iOS and Android.. If you have trouble installing it, your electrician will surely help you. It doesn't require a trained Homematic IP specialist.

Most Homematic IP products are relatively easy to install.
Most Homematic IP products are relatively easy to install.

If you're worried about the cloud connection, then you should switch to Homematic. However, this service does require some knowledge in the areas of smarthomes, programming and electrical engineering. But Homematic IP isn't just for beginners. Professionals can also get their money's worth, as the simpler of the two smarthome systems can also be expanded with the appropriate know-how or extended with other products and solutions.

You can even find a professional weather station in the Homematic IP range.
You can even find a professional weather station in the Homematic IP range.

Homematic IP allowed me entry into the smarthome universe without any hurdles. Relatively simple setup, a logically structured app that I can access from anywhere and simple expansion options with additional products have made me a fan of this smart home system. Next up I'll report on the smart lighting system Philips Hue, which I also use. If you don't want to miss any more smart home articles, follow me by clicking the «Follow author» button on my author profile.

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Raphael Knecht
Raphael Knecht
Senior Editor, Zurich
When I'm not stuffing my face with sweets, you'll catch me running around in the gym hall. I’m a passionate floorball player and coach. On rainy days, I tinker with my homebuilt PCs, robots or other gadgets. Music is always my trusted companion. I also enjoy tackling hilly terrain on my road bike and criss-crossing the country on my cross-country skis.

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