How to Control Smart Home through One App?

by Jaden Lee

The Problem

Nowsaday, there are several kinds of smart home brands in the market. Most of the smart home brands usually have to use their own unique mobile app in order to control their smart devices. But, a lot of people do not aware of it . When they purchase more and more smart home devices for their house, end up with a lot of additional apps installed in their smart phone. This is so frustrating and confusing right?

What if you can use one mobile app to control all of your smart home devices?

Here are the few ways to help you to achieve the objective above.

Method #1 – Find on the smart devices that compatible with voice assistant

One of the method is using voice assistant to control all of your smart home devices by using Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.

You can access these voice assistants on your phone, but your best bet is buying a dedicated device to handle all of your voice commands instead—something like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Apple’s HomePod.

Before you purchase the smart home devices, you do have to make sure all your devices support your voice assistant of choice. That list is growing all the time, though. If you already own Google Home or Alexa speakers, definitely consider whether any smarthome gadget you buy is compatible with them.

If you’re an Apple fan, you can use HomeKit and the Home app. But just like Google Home and Alexa, you need to make sure all your devices have HomeKit support. HomeKit has some distinct advantages (like Apple Watch support) and, depending on your hardware, more local control. This means some of your commands will process more quickly than they would with Alexa or Google Home.

“Single app control” doesn’t mean “single app install.” To get started, you still have to install the app associated with your new smarthome device. Then, you use that to set up the device and get it working , and then integrate with with your voice assistant. After that, you can control them with your voice instead of a touch screen interface, by saying things like “turn the bedroom lights on”, “set the thermostat to 75”, and “lock all the doors.”

Of course, using your voice is still pretty new for some users and isn’t quite mainstream just yet, but if you don’t like interfacing with a touch screen to begin with, voice is a good route to go.

Note: Amazon Alexa is not officially supported in Malaysia region yet.

Method #2 – Find on Smart Devices that compatible with Smart Hub


There are few type of protocols for smart home devices to communicate to each other, such as Wifi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-Wave. Some smart devices like smart door locks, several type of sensors and smart switchs usually use Zigbee or Z-Wave to communicate with each other.

A smart hub, which connect either locally or to the cloud, are needed for smart home devices that use the Zigbee or Z-Wave protocols or Bluetooth, rather than Wi-Fi. Sometimes referred to as a smart home bridge, a smart home hub collects and translates various protocol communications from smart home devices.

Therefore, smart hubs, like SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Hubitat, or HomeSeer will link all the Zigbee or Z-Wave devices together and you  can control all of them through the smart hub mobile app.

Anyway, you might not be able to control all features (like routines) in the app, though. Also, many Wi-Fi devices created for Alexa and Google Home aren’t compatible with hubs.

Hubs don’t offer native voice control either, so you still have to pair everything to your Google Home or Alexa app if you want that. However, smarthubs generally provide more powerful automation than voice assistants do.

Note: Z-Wave frequency for Malaysia is 921.4 MHz. Please make sure the Z-Wave products do support this frequency before you purchase them.

Method #3 – Choose and Buy Smart Home Products from BIG Brands

Setting up your smart home is easier than ever, but choosing the right smart home system to unify your devices and get them talking together is a decision worthy of some serious consideration.

Before you start making purchases, you need to make the right choice about how you’re going to bring all this hardware together, and you’ve got several very good options to pick from.

In US or Europe country, Google, Amazon and Apple are the major players in the smart home arena now, with their smart speakers, ecosystems and voice assistants not only making your connected smart home devices easier to control, but to make home automation a doddle.

Many companies have realised that people want simplicity when it comes to syncing up their smart homes and, as such, there’s an ever-expanding range of software and hardware options for your consideration such as Samsung SmartThing, Control4, IFTTT,and Logitech.

If you already own Samsung gear – like a TV or a phone – then SmartThings is worth considering as a home platform. It’s all very simple to set up and use, and in 2019 Samsung released a new smart camera, smart bulb and smart plug for the series too, so you can start small and keep extending over time.

Samsung SmartThings

IFTTT (it stands for If This Then That) isn’t really a fully-fledged smart home platform but can connect smart home devices together. It works using ‘Applets’ made up of triggers (“if this”) that then result in actions (“then that”) – if it’s 9am, switch on the smart home lights, for example.


Control4 systems don’t have the same high profile as kit from the likes of Amazon or Google – it’s more of a bespoke, tailored solution that can incorporate lighting, smart locks, home security systems, garage doors, wireless audio and more. It supports smart home standards like Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, and works with more than 35,000 devices in total – though you do need to get a professional to install it.

Control 4 Control Panel

Logitech started out with its Harmony remotes, which have been smartening up homes for years now, but now the Harmony Hub and the Harmony Elite (a hub and a remote) have upped the ante – they can control a whole host of gadgets and smart home devices, with more integrations being added regularly.

logitech harmony hub
Logitech Harmony Hub

In Malaysia, I would recommand on Xiaomi or Tuya smart home products as well. This is because we can get those smart devices easily at Lazada or Shopee website at a afforable price.

Over in China there’s an absolute mountain of connected Xiaomi gadgetry on sale. And by mountain, we mean mountain: there are more than 20 security cameras, five smart fridge models, four smart speakers, a couple of connected washing machines, ten robot vacuum cleaners… you get the idea. Xiaomi is using a single app called “Mi Home” to control all of its own brand devices from lighting bulb, sensor, switch, hub to home appliance categories which you can buy online.

xiaomi product
Xiaomi Products

Tuya Smart is a fast growing IOT company and the smart devices that are powered by Tuya is capable of over 90,000 products, with 500 types of products, the world’s number one.Tuya Smart is using “Tuya Smart” or “Smart Life” mobile app to control those products.

tuya product
Tuya Products

Both of these two brands are from China, so that you can get more cheaper price compare to US or Europe smart home products.

Method #4 – Using Open Source Home Automation Platform

If you are a smart home tech enthusiast, you sure heard about Home Assistant, OpenHAB,or Domoticz. I have play around with Home Assistant before and it’s cool!

These open source home automation platform usually run on a Raspberry Pi or a local server. It acts like a smart hub but you have to install the operating system and setup everything by yourself. The benefits of have a DIY smart hub are you can control different brands smart home devices in single web application and also you will store your privacy data on local server which are not disclose to third party company. It can be the cheapest but time consuming way for you to build your smart home.

You are free to customise the web application to meet your expectation. For exmple, you can dispaly the smart bulb location with a floorplam to make it easier to control.If you are from a tech background, it is more easier to setup everything. But if you are a newbie, don’t worry too, you can find a lot of forums and documentations online.

home assistant floorplan
Home Assistant UI with Floorplan Example
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