With Home Connect Plus you can connect various products from major brands and start automating them, but what exactly is this service and how does it work? We explain it in this article.
Recently, we wrote extensively about the various smarthome platforms with which you can really make your home smart. A platform that we did not discuss in that article is Home Connect Plus. This platform is much less known than the other platforms in that article, even with us. Nevertheless, we came across Home Connect Plus in the Gardena app this week and went to investigate. What exactly can this platform do and is it what?
What is Home Connect Plus?
Home Connect Plus may immediately remind you of Home Connect, the app for smart white goods and household appliances from Bosch and Siemens. That connection is also there, because Home Connect Plus was developed by Bosch subsidiary Residential IoT Services. The platform has been around for a while, but has only been available in the Netherlands since November of last year.
The purpose of Home Connect Plus is quite clear: to link appliances from different brands to create an actual smart home. Think of it as a kind of IFTTT, to which products such as door locks, smart lamps, robotic lawnmowers, washing machines and televisions can be added. Once added, you can use them on the ‘if this, then that’ principle. If a trigger occurs, perform an action.
Home Connect Plus is purely an app and everything happens within that app. Products are linked via the cloud; so there is no hardware to communicate with. Products from Gardena, Philips Hue or Siemens are therefore linked by logging in to the relevant brand and granting permission. You can then directly view and operate all functions of the compatible devices in the Home Connect Plus app, create automations and also create dashboards (overviews) and shortcuts. The control of your smart home takes place via this one app.
Which brands work with Home Connect Plus?
Many smaller platforms are struggling to get off the ground because support from major brands and services is often disappointing. However, when we dived into Home Connect Plus, we were positively surprised. No, there is still room for all kinds of brands and products, but many popular and major brands in the smart home area offer support for the platform. For example, we see Philips Hue, Gardena, Nuki, Loqed, Siemens, Bosch, Fibaro, Doorbird, Somfy, Samsung, iRobot, TP-Link, Sonos, Shelly and Tado. Vaillant is also mentioned here and there, but unfortunately (we have a Vaillant heat pump) the brand cannot be linked in the app itself. A complete overview of all compatible brands and products can be found on this page .
How does automation work?
Before we start automating, it is important to organize all your products. And the great thing is that Home Connect Plus offers handy ‘Boards’ for this. These are dashboards that you can fill in yourself, with certain products or automations. For example, you can make a Board for the garden or one for your audio and video system, or one for all white goods. These Boards provide an excellent overview of all the selected devices and within that Board each product can also be operated directly and the status can be viewed.
Automation within Home Connect Plus is very simple and therefore ideal for the beginner. Still, it’s extensive and advanced enough to create fun scenarios, provided you have enough products that are compatible with the platform, of course. We have linked the following products for the short test:
- Gardena (robot mower, irrigation, sensors)
- Siemens (washing machine, dryer, coffee machine, dishwasher, oven and steam oven)
- Philips Hue (bulbs and plugs)
- Sonos (speakers)
- Nuki (door lock)
- Doorbird (doorbell)
With this we can already create a lot of fun scenarios and creating those scenarios is done by means of a trigger and an action. If this, then that. You can also place a condition between that trigger and action. The action is then only performed if that condition is achieved. For example; when the washing machine is ready (trigger), and the television is off (condition), play a sound on the Sonos speaker in the living room (action). A condition is not mandatory but gives you more options to adjust a scenario to your liking. You can also use multiple conditions and put them in ‘and’ or ‘or’. Multiple conditions in ‘and’ means that all conditions must be met. Multiple conditions in ‘or’ means that at least one of the conditions must be met.
The automation within the Home Connect Plus app is fast and above all clear. With triggers you can choose from a device (that changes status or has a different trigger), a time (time and day of the week) and the sun (sunrise, sunset and day of the week). With conditions you have the same options, but with devices it’s about the rule that the device has a certain status to activate the scenario. With actions you can choose from an action of a device (for example, the lamp on) or a notification (notification when the dishwasher is ready).
You immediately see which events are available per device that is connected and here you also have some extra options. For example, for some changes within the device you can choose ‘changes’ and ‘changes to’. So the device changes modes (quite common) or changes to a specific mode or state. With conditions you also have the choice between ‘equal’ or ‘not equal’. Simply put: the status of the device is equal to X or the status of the device is not equal to X. When it comes to numbers, for example the soil moisture of the sensor in the garden, options such as ‘less than’ and ‘ greater than’ at. This allows you to determine even more precisely what needs to be done. For example: If the time is 05.00 (trigger) and today is a Monday (condition) and the soil moisture of the sensor in the garden is less than 50% (condition), then turn on the sprinklers for 20 minutes (action) and send me a notification (action).
Which triggers, conditions and actions are available, and which events and changes you can use per device, depend entirely on what the manufacturer of the product has unlocked. Sometimes things are not possible that would have been simple. For example, you cannot create a trigger with the Gardena products in the garden. That would be useful, for example when the robotic lawnmower leaves or the sensor detects a soil moisture level of less than 50%. The products can be used within conditions and/or promotions. Sometimes you have to find a detour or something is simply not possible.
Is Home Connect Plus a good choice?
Whether Home Connect Plus is a good choice mainly depends on the products you have at home and whether they can be linked to the platform. If so, and there are enough to create fun scenarios, you can do very nice things with Home Connect Plus as a beginner. The platform certainly does not go as far as, for example, Homey, Fibaro or Home Assistant, but it is also a lot easier to use and costs nothing at all. The app is well structured, easy to use and provides a good overview of devices and features. Creating scenarios is easy, but Home Connect Plus offers enough advanced options to create complete scenarios that suit your personal situation and wishes. Is it perfect? Certainly not. For example, we miss a few brands that are on the website, including Vaillant, the app is only in English and we are missing functions (triggers, conditions or actions) of devices that we would have liked to see. There is also no option for the time being to use triggers for absence and presence by means of geofencing. Home Connect Plus is a nice platform for the beginner and actually gives you useful tools to automate, but don’t expect miracles and check which compatible products you have before you get started. On the other hand; the platform is free, so there’s no harm in trying. Home Connect Plus is a nice platform for the beginner and actually gives you useful tools to automate, but don’t expect miracles and check which compatible products you have before you get started. On the other hand; the platform is free, so there’s no harm in trying. Home Connect Plus is a nice platform for the beginner and actually gives you useful tools to automate, but don’t expect miracles and check which compatible products you have before you get started. On the other hand; the platform is free, so there’s no harm in trying.