6 Things You Didn’t Know Your Smart Hub Could Do

A lot of people know how to use their smart home hub as speakers to play their favorite tunes or as a timer while they’re cooking, but get stuck on going further. Get ready for more, because smart home technology packs a whole lot of power into a small device.

1. Be your personal trainer 

Ask Alexa, Google or your Apple HomePod to guide you through a workout. 

You can tell them exactly how long you want to work out or if there’s something you’d like to focus on, and they’ll suddenly turn into your personal trainer. You can request a seven-minute core workout or a few minutes of cardio to stave off an afternoon slump. You could also use it to supplement workouts you already do, like having it guide you through a stretch when you get home from a long run, or hold you accountable by asking it to remind you to do some yoga before bed each night.

Let your smart hub know when you like a workout and when you don’t, so that over time, it can learn more about you and tailor personalized workouts.  

2. Help you get better sleep 

Is there anything as elusive as a good night’s sleep? Your smart home hub might be able to help in a few different ways. 

It can start by putting you to bed every night. As most smart hubs double as speakers that can play a wide variety of entertainment, you can ask your system to play the ambient sounds, sleepy podcasts or guided meditations that help you peacefully fall asleep. If you like drifting off to an audiobook or your favorite music, you can ask the hub to turn it off after a certain amount of time so that it doesn’t disturb you later (or keep it on a loop if you prefer sound all night long).

You can set most smart hubs to wake you up to your favorite radio station or song. And if you use your hub to connect to your other smart home devices, you can sync that alarm to other things that make it easier to wake—for instance, maybe you’ll want to set your bedroom lights or smart coffee maker to go on three minutes after your alarm goes off.

The benefits: both falling asleep and waking up are more peaceful, and you’re not beholden to your smartphone for these tasks. This cuts back on the blue light you’ll be exposed to right before bedtime, and this will help you get a better night’s sleep and minimize your temptation to scroll through your phone in the morning rather than get up and at ‘em. 

There are some built-in sleep benefits with the new Google Home Nest Hub. The device uses sensors to track your sleep, helping to give you insights about whether you tossed and turned, and even give you clues about things you might not realize are disturbing your sleep (like light or noise from outside).

3. Keep your pets happy

Devices like the Google Home Nest Hub let you broadcast a message throughout your house, so you could call home to let Fido and Fluffy hear your voice by connecting with the device on your smartphone. Or, you can simply set the hub to play their favorite music or ambient sounds at certain times during the day, potentially helping to calm nervous pets or keep them company when you’re not home.

4. Act as your hands-free assistant

When you’re juggling too many tasks to count, it’s nice to be able to use only your voice to get something done. A lot of people don’t realize how many things your smart home system will do if you just ask. 

As long as it’s connected with your profile, you can use most smart home hubs to send text messages, make phone calls and add items to your shopping list. Amazon’s Echo Show will even let you add items to your Amazon Cart and purchase them using only your voice. You can use your hub to order an Uber if you need a few extra moments to get ready without fussing with your phone, or have it remind you to take your medication at a dedicated time every day. You can set it so you wake up to weather and traffic reports that give you personalized info about the best routes to take to work or if you’ll need an umbrella that day.

In short, if it’s a task that can be delegated to an assistant, it’s probably a job that your smart home hub can manage.

5. Find your phone

The “Find My iPhone” feature is great, until the app can only tell you that your phone is lost somewhere in your own home. That’s where a device like the Google Home Nest Hub comes in. By saying “Hey Google, find my phone,” you can get it to ring, even if it’s set to silent or in “do not disturb” mode, helping you locate it quickly.

6. Remind you where you put things

Do important items in your house often go missing? Ask your smart hub to help you remember where you put them. When you’re filing away items like a passport, you can simply say something to your Amazon Echo Show like, “Alexa, remember my passport is in the blue storage box in the hall closet.”

And you don’t necessarily have to tell Alexa where you put something in order for it to remember. By attaching an RFID tracker like a TrackR Pixel to an item you frequently misplace, like a set of keys or a slim remote, and pairing it to your hub, your smart home system will be able to tell you exactly where the item is.

Tips for getting the most out of your smart home hub 

Make sure your network can keep up. The more devices you have connected in your home, the harder your internet has to work. If you’ve noticed your service has gotten spottier as you’ve grown your smart home, call your provider to see if an upgrade to faster, more reliable internet is possible.

Maximize your connections. Smart home systems have come a long way in just a few years, and now most contain the ability to connect to most of your other smart home devices from different manufacturers, like smart thermostats, fridges, locks and security systems.

Keep your hub secure. Your router is the connection point to your hub, so make sure your router is up to date with new security protocols. If you have a router from your internet service provider, the updates are made automatically. If you purchased your own router, you’ll need to make sure you install updates yourself.

Product features may have changed and are subject to change.

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