Last week, Logitech finally announced they had released the Harmony Hub Extender, the Z-Wave and Zigbee add-on to their Harmony Home Hub, which is the smart home hub companion to their Harmony Home Living line of "smart home" enabled universal remotes.
The Home Living Line of remotes is Logitech's first true entry point into smart home control, and one of the most promising things about this lineup was the idea that you could connected to Z-Wave and Zigbee devices using the Hub Extender. Because of this, I was a bit surprised in August when it still hadn't shipped, but it looks like they've finally got it out.
Overall, I think the universal remote as smart home control point is something that will resonate with home theater enthusiasts who want to extend into the smart home, and so this could make Logitech, who's largely been overlooked in the conversation about the smart home wars, a dark horse candidate to perform fairly well as a smart home control player.
This news also comes at the same time that we learn that Savant is finally making the long-awaited move to DIY/direct-to-consumer with a remote control called the Savant Remote. The device uses its own Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hub (called Savant Host) and can control nearly any IR device in the entertainment center and will be able to control Sonos and their newly released Savant Wi-Fi lamp module.
The product ships for $499, which is about $50 to $100 more than Logitech's Harmony Home Ultimate Remote packed with the new Hub Extender (priced at $99).
Both are signs that we'll likely see the entertainment center players vying for control of the smart home. Comparing the two the Logitech has an immediate advantage in large part due to the new Z-Wave and Zigbee connectivity option, as well as a slight price advantage.
Julie has a good take on the implications of Savant going down-market into DIY, which is a fairly substantial move given they're the first of the major high-end CEDIA-centric smart home players to go DIY. I'm not that convinced that they'll see much traction outside of the traditional Savant customer base, as the price point is fairly high for a DIY product and doesn't actually deliver connectivity to a wide set of smart home products at this point. That could change, so long term this might be one to watch - particularly if Savant expands its integration partners and adds more connectivity adapters like its Wi-Fi lighting SKU.
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