At the end of July, the Homey Pro was officially launched, a universal hub to connect devices from various manufacturers. The hub offers compatibility with many standards such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0, 433 MHz, Matter, Z-Wave Plus, Zigbee 3.0, Infrared, and is expected to support Thread after an update. The vision? Replace numerous proprietary hubs with one central hub, the Homey Pro.
“Setup: Quick but with mandatory account requirement
After powering the hub via USB-C, setup is quickly completed via the Homey app. However, an account must be created in the process. An optional Ethernet dongle is available, although an integrated Ethernet solution would be desirable.
After getting past the setup wizard and specifying the number of floors, configuring rooms and setting the location, the first devices can be added.
Apps for all cases
The special feature of adding new devices is that they are integrated via apps. Some of these are officially from the Homey team, but could just as easily have been developed by the community.
This is quite pleasing, because it creates apps for niche products, for example, or even parallel apps that cover different needs. Depending on the manufacturer and app, adding new devices is sometimes child’s play and sometimes a bit fiddly.
For our Philips Hue White bulb, we first had the Philips Hue app selected. However, the Bridge is a prerequisite for this. However, since we wanted to connect the lamp directly to the Homey Pro via Zigbee, we then installed the “Philips Hue, without the bridge” app. But here, too, we had difficulties. In the end, however, we were able to add the lamp directly via the Homey app using the “Zigbee” item. Here, the lamp was initially displayed as “Unknown Zigbee Device”. However, the name and icon were quickly adapted and since then the lamp reliably performs its service.
All other devices in our colorful potpourri, however, could be added quickly and easily. We found the Fibaro and Aqara integrations particularly pleasing. The motion detector from Fibaro, for example, is quickly added. Then the brightness, temperature, motion and tamper sensor is available. In addition, the current battery level is displayed and many options can be found in the settings.
It is possible to set how long the sensor remains active after a movement has been detected, the required number of pulses in a certain period of time, the frequency of the temperature messages as well as the display of the LED – and much more.
HomeKit Integration: Double is better
Of course, we find the HomeKit integration particularly interesting. There is one from Homey himself, as well as one from the community. In the end, we opted for the community integration HomeKitty, as it simply offers more setting options.
Once installed, Homey can be added to Apple’s smarthome platform using any HomeKit app. For each device, there is a switch that decides whether the device should be available in HomeKit or not. At this point, it should be mentioned that this is of course not an Apple-certified HomeKit integration.
Many devices can be added to HomeKit that don’t actually support HomeKit. But virtual switches are also available in HomeKit if needed. Among other things, this allows states to be saved, such as whether the house is being left for the first time that day, the cat has already been fed or the mailbox has been emptied.
Once set up, the HomeKit integration ran surprisingly reliably for us. The devices were always accessible.
Matter and HomeKit: A one-way street
While Matter devices can be added to Homey but devices connected to Homey Pro cannot be made available through Matter, Homey devices will show up in HomeKit but HomeKit devices cannot be added to Homey.
In concrete terms, this means that you can use a contact sensor that does not actually support HomeKit with Homey Pro in HomeKit. However, if you have integrated an Eve Weather in HomeKit, the values are not available via Homey.
However, there is the option to start so-called flows, as Homey calls its own automations, via HomeKit. HomeKitty allows to add so called flow starters for this purpose. These are basically virtual switches that are available in both HomeKit and Homey, so they can start flows from HomeKit.
Let’s stay with the concrete example with Eve Weather. If you want an automation to run when a temperature is exceeded, you can create a corresponding automation in HomeKit that turns on the flow starter. In Homey, you can again use that as a trigger for a flow.
Flows: Simple to Complex Automations
The devices can be automated via flows. The Homey app offers simple flows for this purpose, as one is used to automations from HomeKit. When an event occurs under certain conditions, something should be executed.
The number of options and the sorting of them can seem overwhelming at the beginning. However, as soon as you have dealt with it a little, you will find your way around. We were a bit surprised that the brightness sensor from the Fibaro motion detector can be used as a trigger, but not as a condition.
The web app offers even more options with Advanced Flows. Variables can also be defined here, for example. If you have a little time here, you can implement complex automations.
Can the Homey Pro now replace the manufacturer’s own hubs? For the most part, it actually can. Thanks to the many wireless standards and apps, numerous devices from a wide range of manufacturers are supported. Adding them can be a bit fiddly in parts and firmware updates cannot be installed, of course.
However, once the devices are added, they run very reliably and there are numerous setting options for many devices. In addition, most of the devices are also available in HomeKit and even flows can be started from HomeKit.
If you want to use devices from different manufacturers without having to purchase a dedicated hub for each, the Homey Pro is an excellent option. So far, we don’t know of any other way to integrate devices that are not natively HomeKit compatible into HomeKit so easily without using Homebridge or Home Assistant.
You can get the Homey Pro at Amazon, among other places. It is certainly not a bargain at 399€, but it can pay off in the long run.