Imagining the smart home with a TV as its hub

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Right now, most smart home hubs are shaped like small rectangular boxes or cubes or even a Russian nesting doll. These hubs exist to sync an increasing number of smart home products, from lights to thermostats to security cameras, even if they’re not all from the same manufacturer. The idea is that instead of needing tons of apps or individual controls, a single device will talk to everything and enable everything to talk to each other.

Yesterday, Logitech announced its Harmony API, which features voice control and lets developers access smart devices on lots of other platforms; the company is working with IFTTT and SmartThings, for example. Its home hub already comes with a remote, and the Ultimate Home Remote can control lights, too. Right now, Logitech’s devices are pretty home-entertainment-centric, but it seems like the company is looking to change that with the API. However, depending on whom it partners with, a future hub could just be baked into a smart TV.

Smart TVs already exist, of course, and their capabilities will only grow. Due to their nature as a gathering point for many families, and because they’re often found in more than one room of the house, we could see them acting as a hub for other connected devices some day. There were rumors that Apple’s HomeKit will use the Apple TV box as a hub, though the company denied it. Still, it did get us thinking that having notifications pop up on the TV if a sensor detects an intruder opening a window, or switching the picture over to the front door camera automatically when the bell rings, or lowering the volume if the smart baby monitor picks up sounds from the kid’s room would all be extremely handy.

Many of these things could happen on your phone or tablet, too, and eventually the connected home may not require a hub at all. Right now, Nest is positioning its thermostats as the center of its imagined smart home, and we can’t even watch The Mindy Project on that.