Switchbot Hub 2 Review

In my latest video, I explored various smart home products from Switchbot, a company that has been filling gaps left by other manufacturers in the market especially when it comes to automating light switches and curtain rods.

They recently introduced a new Hub device called the Hub 2, which interfaces their smart home products with the internet and popular home platforms like Google and Amazon. In the video I demo it working with their “bot” that can turn any rocker or button switch into a smart one.

The Hub 2 also controls air conditioners or split systems over infrared, has built-in humidity and temperature sensors, and can control TVs or other devices that use infrared remote controls.

One area that could use improvement is the Matter support on the Hub 2. While it supports this new open source standard I could not get it to connect with my Homekit environment as advertised.

Even if I could get it working, Matter support is limited to just their curtain motors at the moment. I found the open source Homebridge application to be a better solution for bridging Homekit connections as it works with all Switchbot and IR devices through the Hub 2.

Matter issues aside the Switchbot Hub 2 offers a wide range of features and is a great way to connect their innovative smarthome products with automation platforms and the Internet.

Automating with NFC Tags!

I hinted at a home automation project I was doing the other day involving NFC tags and Wednesday I posted up a video that detailing what I’ve accomplished so far.

For the uninitiated NFC tags have RFID chips that can store data and spit it back out. The tags are powered by the radio waves coming from the scanning device. When it’s powered up by the phone scanning it the tag emits a low powered radio signal that contains the tag’s unique ID and whatever data is contained on board.

They come in many shapes and sizes and are very affordable. You can see a few that I found on Amazon here.

In the video I initially demonstrated how you might turn a light bulb on and off via Apple Homekit. I created an Apple Shortcuts script that checks the state of the bulb and then executes a command to turn it on if the bulb is off, or or off is the bulb is on. The tag acts as a trigger which then fires off the script. The best part is that no data is stored on the tag, so if somebody else scans it nothing will happen.

I’m currently using a tag in my studio that will turn on and off my studio lights and noisy air handler in the room. One tap when I sit down to record is all I need to do to get started! Next I’m going to set up an additional action that will turn on my production PC when the script fires off.

As you’ll see in the video I was able to get my Wyze devices integrated with Homekit thanks to the Homebridge open source project. Homebridge allows devices normally not compatible with Homekit to work on Apple’s platform. I have it running in a Docker container on my Synology NAS.