Lutron, a company that has built out some damn fine lighting controls found in millions of homes, plans to launch a $150 hub for the smart home that will connect Lutron lights, sensors, blinds and eventually the Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats that hit stores Sept. 1. Currently, the only other home hub option that supports Lutron is the Staples Connect hub. Although the Revolv hub does have a Lutron radio in it, it’s not supported yet.
I have Lutron lights that came with my Staples Connect review package, and I liked them so much I bought my own, even though I can’t control those lights yet as part of my existing SmartThings system. With this hub and accompanying app (which will be out June 30 on both Android and iOS), it looks as if Lutron is trying to build out its own smart home ecosystem that will be open to selected providers. So far, there are the Honeywell thermostats and the GE telligent connected bulbs coming out this summer.
Judging by the requests I get from random people and my colleagues, perhaps the Lutron gear’s biggest point of interest will be the connected window shades offered through the Serena brand of blinds. If you buy those shades and this hub, you’ve built out a connected window system. With the Honeywell participation, there’s the promise of one day being able to set rules around shutting the blinds when the room gets too warm. Currently, the app allows you to open and close blinds and shut lights on and off on a schedule.
Lutron is also offering a professional installation service in addition to the DIY hub. Personally, I feel that this is a bit late to the market, as I expect in the next year to see fewer hubs and more intelligence and radios built into routers or perhaps TV platforms. Realistically, though, that’s probably two years away from the mainstream, so if you want to control your Lutron gear in the meantime, step on out and pick this up.