Homey Bridge test: all your home automation in a single application?

Our opinion on the Homey bridge

Homey Bridge

A few months ago we introduced you Homey Pro, a home automation box really plug and play which makes it very easy to group all your connected objects on a single application, and supports no less than seven protocols. All with a neatly designed dashboard requiring no complex configuration. In short, a solution that has everything to please, but which at 399 € remains a brake for many people, even the most technophiles. Athom understood this well and presented during his keynote from last month a much more affordable alternative solution: Homey Bridge.

Offered at only 69 euros, this multi-protocol gateway uses the same principles as its predecessor, but this time brings its home automation software to the cloud. Compatible with Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit, this solution should appeal to more than one user who wants to control their connected home simply, but efficiently.

Homey Bridge is still in beta version, but we still wanted you to discover it in preview. Obviously, all is not yet perfect, but you will see that the solution has a lot of potential ...

Homey Bridge: your connected home in just a few clicks

Unboxing

The product is presented in a frozen purple box. Homey Bridge It is elegantly highlighted by a selective varnish and reveals its rounded shapes, quite classic for a catwalk. We find the technical characteristics and the contents of the box.

On the back, Homey promises to return our connected homes even smarter by grouping together all our connected objects on one "Same and beautiful application" and D'save energy while having fun creating automations… Quite a program! Has our dream come true?

Inside, Homey Bridge is well wedged in a plastic shell with, below, the accessories and a multilingual installation guide ...

The home automation gateway Homey Bridge is a puck of 12.5cm in diameter x 3.5cm in height. The set is made of high-quality plastic, with a discreet reminder of the brand logo on the upper surface, and a brushed aluminum-like surround.

Underneath, a very large non-slip silicone pad ensures the stability of this multiprotocol bridge. In the center, the CE marking indicates compliance with European standards, and the logo Z-Wave Plus promises us to be able to use one of the best home automation protocols… And that's good!

The power is supplied by a micro-USB socket located at the back of the box. No, it is not USB-C, but such a port is not necessary anyway ...

Food will therefore be provided by:

  • Un 5V / 1A adapter without earth connection, which we appreciate the impression molding on the edges for a better grip,
  • Un micro-USB cable with a comfortable length of 1.5 meter...

Information

  • Brand: Athom
  • Model: Homey Bridge
  • Protocols: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, Zigbee, Z-Wave Plus, RF 433 MHz, Infrared,
  • Dimensions: 12,5 cm in diameter x 3.3 cm high
  • Supply : AC adapter 100–240V / 5V - 1A
€69,00
Buy
Homey.app

Although more classic in presentation than the Homey Pro sphere, this gateway is nonetheless attractive and more versatile. The quality of the materials does not suffer from any defect, it is a beautiful object.

Homey Bridge: installation and use

Caution : For now, the use of Homey Bridge can only be done by invitation because the Homey Cloud solution is still in beta. You must therefore use a code that you will receive more or less quickly from Athom. If you want to participate, register here.

Before starting, it is necessary to think about where you will place Homey Bridge. Indeed, if you want to use infrared, it is necessary that no obstacle is in the "path" and not to place anything on it, the transmission of the signals being likely to be attenuated, even downright blocked. In short, a clear place will be ideal to allow it to be fully efficient.

“No problem: it's simple, fast and efficient! "

Homey Cloud

As with any installation, you must first connect Homey Bridge to the sector. The LED under the device will illuminate white, then blue.

The colors mean:

  • Rotating white : the bridge starts.
  • Pulsating blue : the bridge is ready to be installed.
  • Pulsating red : the bridge cannot connect to the Wi-Fi network.
  • Pulsating rose : the bridge updates.
  • Color spectrum : normal state.
  • LED off : disconnected or configuration of the lighting in Off (modifiable in "advanced parameters" or by creating a Flow (scenario) to switch it off at night, for example).

For the rest, if you are a beginner, install the Homey app that you will find for Android as iOS and Create an account with first name, last name, email address and password. Go take a look at your mailbox, you will have received an email from Homey to validate the address.

Once on the home page, nothing complicated, and since you have chosen Homey Bridge, click on it.

The next step is for the Beta version to enter the invitation code. Step that will no longer need to be thereafter.

This done, the configuration of the house actually begins.

Fill in:

  • Le number of floors, consider including the basement if you have connected devices installed there, such as an old EchoDot 2 who can always render good and loyal services there.
  • La configuration of your home is also to be informed since you are asked if it is a second floor, a basement, an attic ...
  • La configuration of the different floors is to be informed on the same principle by selecting the parts which compose it. Note that Homey has planned everything by offering two "Entrances" that can be used for two corridors for example, and of course allows you to add rooms if necessary. So if one (or more) rooms are to be added, all you have to do is click on the "+" at the bottom right to name the room and assign it an icon. The part thus created will be placed at the end of the list.

At the end of the configuration, a summary of the parts and any annexes is proposed.

To allow certain automations, it is necessary to grant geolocation. Activate your GPS if it has not yet been done and enter your address.

By clicking on next, it is asked to turn on Homey Bridge if you have not already done so. The search begins.

Please note, it may be necessary to go to the settings of your smartphone, then application management and authorize GPS. Although our GPS was activated, the search was not successful because the rights were not granted to Homey.

Once your gateway is discovered, the LED lights up green and the app asks you where Homey Bridge is located. The search for the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network is activated, all you have to do is enter the corresponding password. The LED lights up pink indicating that an update is taking place. It lasts a few minutes, then it changes to white and finally to Homey's colors! Yellow, red, green, blue… The configuration is complete. It just took a little while.

We redone the procedure several times, it went smoothly. No problem: it's simple, fast and efficient!

Note that you benefit from a 3 month trial offer at Homey Premium which allows to integrate more than 5 devices at the box. In its free version, the cloud offer only allows you to connect five devices to Homey Bridge, which is not much. Athom could have set the bar to 10, because the cap will quickly be reached and you will have little choice but to subscribe.

In its free version, the cloud offer only allows you to connect five devices to Homey Bridge, which is not much.

 

Here the comparison between the different Homey offers. The box Homey Pro is certainly expensive to acquire, but it is not limited in number and does not require a subscription thereafter. Note, moreover, that if Homey Pro runs locally, Homey Bridge is dependent on the cloud. Two very different philosophies then.

A quick calculation makes it possible to estimate the damping of the device. With a Homey Bridge at 69 €, you'll have to more than 8 years of subscription at 2.99 € / month to arrive at the purchase price of a Homey Pro box (399 €)!

You can continue integrations via the website my.homey.app or via your mobile application. We have a slight preference for the web browser, here in dark mode, which is more comfortable to use.

All you have to do is install a first device. We decide to start with a ZigBee Ledvance socket. It is of course necessary to connect and put the catch in pairing mode.

Integration into the box, goes through the " Apparatus". Click on the "+". Indicate the brand of your device to integrate. In our example, Ledvance being part of Osram, so the Osram logo is presented. By clicking on it, the rest of the integration takes place in the usual way. Choose the device model and click "Connection".

Let the message pass asking you to plug in the plug. Detection takes a few seconds. Our socket being ... a simple switch, it only has the function of a simple On / Off and appears as that "unknown ZigBee device »And an icon is created on the home page.

By pressing it briefly, it is the On / Off functionality that is pressed, but a long press lets you know more about the device. We find the virtual On / Off button. By clicking on the toothed wheel, as with any device, it is possible to rename, change the icon or even indicate what type of device is connected to it. It feels like the Philips Hue app!

We will see below the different menus offered at the bottom of the page:

If it is possible to pair all Philips Hue compatible ZigBee devices directly to Homey Bridge, you can also simply associate your Philips Hue bridge and you will find all your devices on the dashboard Homey in an instant. The advantage is that you can control your lights both with Homey and with your Philips Hue app. Also, keeping your bridge ensures you always have the latest firmware.

Back to Homey. For a bulb, the management is done on the same principle as in most connected lighting applications. Once on your bulb, you can adjust brightness, choose the white temperature ou select a color. Switching from one parameter to another is done by sliding the page from right to left.

The panel of whites and colors is just as rich, it is possible to modulate the saturation of a color or to select it on a disc. Finally, if an automation or routine, here called Flow, has been created with this device, it is displayed on the next page. It is really very practical to have everything relating to a device in its section.

To create a Process from application to course commencement (scenario), click either on Flow from the home page or on the dedicated button in each device. Here you can, for example, be notified of a situation by push notification. It works very well.

It's easy to create simple automations, but Homey Flows also allows you to do much more advanced automations, with multiple triggers, one or more conditions, and an unlimited number of actions. This obviously requires taking a little time to get the most out of them, so we will come back to them at greater length in a future tutorial.

A flow will thus allow you to create complex routines according to a well-known scheme:

  • WHEN: allows you to select a trigger event. It can be the change of state of a device, a defined event, etc ...
  • AND / OR: you can add one or more conditions and use operators “AND” and “OR” (“ET” and “OU” in French). This is what our voice assistants lack and which allows us to go much further ...
  • THEN: it is the action or actions to be performed.

In beta, the web interface is not yet completely finished. While most of the features are present, others require you to use the application on smartphone. Thus, the page relating to power consumption is only available on mobile. You will be able to visualize the minimum / maximum consumption of the bulb, of each room, of your entire home ...

The visualization of the use of each device is nevertheless possible in Insights. This dashboard allows you to cross a lot of data and create graphs very simply. Compare curves of temperature, pressure, rate of CO2, electrical power or use of the resources of the box only requires a few clicks.

From the home page, by clicking on the " More " at the bottom right you access:

  • Applis : The list of your integrated brands
  • Logic : variable to be completed. We will come back to this in a future tutorial.
  • ideas : If you want to have graphics on Homey, this is where you can get it. The function works very well via the site: https://my.homey.app but not via the smartphone in terms of energy consumption. You can get a graph on the dashboard or a statement in Excel.
  • Support : refers you to FAQ Homey support, very supplied.

At the bottom, the toothed wheel opens the "Parameters" where you find the information on how to take into account the voice assistants Amazon Alexa et Google Assistant. But the association of accounts cannot be done from Homey. It is imperative to go through each of the two applications. Via the net, the Settings page is currently under construction.

The integration of an infrared device is also very simple. We tested with a satellite decoder Aston Simba. The recognition was immediate, but it is obvious that not all devices are integrated.

To find the function Infrared, that's ultimately the least intuitive, you have to go to "Device" then type Homey in the search bar. There, the different protocols are offered: infrared, Z-Wave, ZigBee ...

Click on " Login » then find the brand of your device and, possibly, its exact reference. Test the different keys to make sure the device responds well. Be careful, we are in infrared, the box and the device must be in "barrier-free connection" for it to work.

A slightly pressed click opens the functionalities:

  • A virtual button, On / OFF. Note: this will not change the HDMI port of your TV to go to the satellite, you will always have to make the change manually.
  • A representation of the remote control
  • Flows: the IR satellite decoder is not available in the list of devices that can be put into routine.
  • Settings: resumes device information

Integrations are very simple as long as you know where to look for the type of protocol. IR doesn't really offer any benefit other than having one more virtual handheld remote.

The infrared hub is not as comprehensive as a Broadlink, but it works fine. We tried with a Proline TV and although two groups were offered, neither allowed us to interact with the virtual remote. It's a bit of a shame, but let's remember, Homey Cloud is still in beta!

With Amazon Alexa

Homey Bridge is compatible with Alexa. The association of accounts must be done via the application and the skill Homey. Once activated, the associated accounts and the authorizations granted, the assistantAmazon searches for devices installed on Homey but do not go up the bridge itself, as is already the case for all the others (Philips Hue, Switchbot, and others…). It is therefore no wonder that it indicates "No new device found".

However, when you connect devices to Homey Bridge, you will find them in your application. Alexa. The suite remains very classic in terms ofAlexa, with virtual button and possible routines. Note, you will find your Flows in the scenes and could therefore use Homey scenarios in Alexa… As on the pro!

With Google Assistant

You must also add the Homey add-on in Google Home via "+", "Configure a device" et "Works with Google". In the search box, type Homey. Link accounts and give permissions. There, the devices are well counted, but are not not visible in the Home app whether it is the bridge or the socket or the satellite decoder.

On the other hand, the management of the outlet is done normally: On / Off.

As for the satellite decoder, it can also be controlled: Switch on to switch on but also to switch off. Corn attention after a few seconds, the device turns on again ! So we cannot say that the care is correct.

On the other hand, we had the pleasant surprise to see the devices displayed on the Google Nest Hub screen.

Our opinion on Homey Bridge

Homey Bridge is a promising product. Easy to implement, it is an interesting solution for all those looking for a simple and complete home automation software allowing full control of their connected home. As such, Homey is undoubtedly the only solution really plug and play of the market which makes it possible to group everything very easily, while obtaining immediately a complete and aesthetic dashboard, whether on smartphone, tablet or pc.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, this cloud version of Homey is still fishing by a glaring lack of available applications. If users of connected objects of the brands Fibaro, Philips Hue, Aqara or Xiaomi will find what they are looking for, those who have bet on Wi-Fi and Tuya environments / Smart Life or Sonoff will be caught off guard because Athom does not yet offer an application for these products. Admittedly, it is not the cream of home automation, but it is what the target customers mainly use… It is a real shame.

In the end, Homey Bridge is for the moment a a little frustrating product which does not yet meet the promise made to be able to group all its devices on a single application. We are still far from the 100 brands and 50 compatible devices, and even if Homey Pro takes care of almost everything, we still doubt the figure put forward by the company.

However, we must keep in mind that the new Homey is still in beta and therefore called upon to progress to get as close as possible to its Pro version. Some brands are already available and many will be soon as evidenced by the already provided list of upcoming partnerships.

If you can't wait to get started, we invite you to explore available apps and to check the current compatibilities, but for the moment you will remain limited to devices such as Aqara sensors and Xiaomi connected objects, the Nuki smart lock, the Philips Hue ecosystem, Netatmo devices (we have successfully linked a Netatmo thermostat, the weather station and even the Welcome camera), etc ...

Last point to take into account, if the Beta version allows a first approach of the possibilities offered by this home automation software, the free version of Homey will then be limited to 5 devices associated with the hub, which seems too little to us. Although it is still possible to use it without limit by linking the clouds of each brand, you will quickly have to think about the subscription to use Homey Bridge. The cost of 2.99 € per month is certainly low, but it should be taken into account because absolutely essential in our opinion.

€69,00
Buy
Homey.app
In conclusion, Homey Bridge is certainly less evolved than its big sister, but it offers ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth Low Energy, RF 433Mhz and infrared on a single footbridge at the price of 69 € only, and above all a very well designed software to centralize your home automation simply and efficiently.

 

Sadly, the solution is still too limited to date so that we can encourage you to take the plunge today. We advise you to wait until the end of the beta phase, as a minimum, because the product will then be more complete and certainly much less frustrating. If your means allow it, Homey Pro will be the best choice.

NB: our opinion and the final score are subject to change as this product progresses, which is still officially in beta test.
Simple user and novice fallen into the pot Alexa, this one fascinates me and thanks to the boys, Jean-Christophe and Alexien Modo, I learn a little more every day. Loving the different aspects ofAlexa, I turned to skills to share my discoveries with you.