Simple Control – One App to Rule Them All?
A new update to the Simple Control app has been released, which claims to be able to tie all your smart home devices, Smart TVs, amplifiers and more all in one central app. Not only that, but it can integrate your cable and satellite channels as well.
What’s impressive upon reading their promotional text is that the company claim that not only is HomeKit deeply integrated, but also non-HomeKit devices, like Nest thermostats and cameras, Amazon Echo devices, and even products that work with SmartThings will all appear and be controllable from the one app. The company states on its website;
- Control Your Home Automation Devices
- FULL HOMEKIT INTEGRATION – Lights, Thermostats, Cameras, Locks, Shades, Outlets, Garage Doors, and more.
- LIGHTING AND SHADE CONTROL – Works with Vera, Philips Hue, Insteon, Belkin WeMo, Lutron, and more
- CLIMATE CONTROL – Works with Nest control, Ecobee, Honeywell
- SECURITY CAMERA CONTROL – Supports live video cameras
- VIEW EVENT IMAGES FROM NESTCAM – See iPad Picture in Picture Support. Monitor cameras while multitasking with iPad. picture-in-picture support.
- AMAZON ECHO – Control your entire home via voice commands
- SMARTTHINGS – Triggered by events in your SmartThings environment
- APPLE TV APP INTEGRATION – Watch Live TV and check security cameras at the same time
While this all seems great, the fact is that to control some of your equipment, specifically devices that rely on an IR remote control to operate, you’ll need the company’s hardware too. One such device is the ‘Simple Blaster’, which is an IR blaster comes in three separate versions – one that uses ethernet, one using PoE, and a third that utilises wifi. In addition to these, the company also have a Control4 controller and a Harmony Elite, both of which offer additional functionality (comparison chart).
Beyond the need for an IR blaster, there is the issue of cost. Currently they offer different levels of subscription, none of which are very cheap, and are also priced in tiers that relate to how many devices you want to control. While this may be the all-in-one solution many are craving, others might do well to wait for iOS 12, and the promise of further integration of non-homekit devices, via the ‘Shortcuts’ app.