Home Center 3
This is my first hands-on with the Home Center 3 (HC3) from FIBARO. The HC3 is an IoT hub for controlling your smart devices be they FIBARO’s or other manufactures. Currently, the HC3 only supports Z-Wave devices but has the hardware to work with Zigbee and 433Mhz and 868Mhz. These extra protocols are not yet implemented in the software but are due to be added soon, which bring me to my first point:
The software on the HC3 is very intuitive in my opinion, It can be a little bit complex but I feel that just because of all the functionality they have available to use.
Software updates are regular it seems in my limited time with the device but time on the forum shows this is historically true too, the FIBARO team seem to release stable and beta updates every few weeks with new features and bug fixes, unlike a lot of devices when you buy a FIBARO HC, support doesn’t end when you take delivery they still regularly update the older devices which are good to see!
Forums and support
FIBARO hosts a very active forum that adds a lot of support for the Home Centers, it’s home to a lot of guides and information. I find it really encouraging to see a community like this that are all helping out and making the experience even better with things like self-written Quick Apps and troubleshooting setups.
The developers of the devices can also be often found in the forums answering questions and taking feedback, which goes towards future updates. On top of this if you have bought through a FIBARO installer you will have their support as well as FIBARO themselves directly.
The setup of Z-Wave devices is seamless, and I’ve found setting up with Alexa and Google home simple (Subscribe for future guides on this!). All my devices show in my Home or Alexa app and devices can be renamed so you can use voice controls.
Automation’s are set up with Scenes and you have the choice of writing the code directly or simply using a block. If you’ve not seen block before you simply drag and drop the devices and the actions that you want to complete into your scene and it’s as simple as that. In the video, I show a simple example of how easy it is and just how much flexibility you have.
I’ve been using the HC3 for a few weeks now and I’m happy with the stability and the sheer amount of flexibility that you can get out of the hub.
There’s definitely a balance between functionality and user-friendliness and I think the HC3 has struck a good mix. In the Smartphone App, they have gone too heavy on the user-friendly side which is perfect for me, If I need to make changes to how things work I use the web interface, if not I have the App where I can quickly run scenes and toggle devices. Probably the best bit of this is you can give the App to other less savvy users and they will still get all the functionality of the system without the ability to make changes.
As I’ve said in the video we will have plenty of content coming up on the setup of integrations and lots of other FIBARO products. Why not subscribe on YouTube to get notified of our next videos! If you enjoyed this content you might like our OpenWrt Guide.