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Reviews
min read

Local control vs cloud control - What fits your smart home better?

Luis Pinto, Head of Content

When you use your smart home devices for the first time, first, you connect all your smart appliances to the internet connection and after that, you can start controlling them. But, is that necessary? Is there any way we can control our smart home devices without being connected to the internet? Check this blog post where we talk about this topic.

We have already talked about how smart home devices are reaching out to our homes and how they are being introduced in our lifestyle. Actually, you are probably reading this because you have at least one smart device or your are thinking about getting one.

The first time you buy one of these  incredible devices you will need to download an application and connect the smart appliances to the internet.

Once you have everything set up and connected to the internet you can start using your devices. If you have lights, you can control brightness, color, saturation, set routines or charms. In case you have thermostats you can change the temperature in your home using your phone.

But do we really need the internet connection to control our devices? Why do we need to do so? Is it  good or not? Can we have local control instead of cloud control for our home devices?

On this blog post I will try to explain some pros and cons of  local and cloud control. At the end of the post I will expose my opinion about this topic and how we manage this issue on the Yeti Smart Home Automation app.

What does cloud and local control mean for the smart home?

To explain the difference between local and cloud control I want you to imagine that you are at home and you turn on your lights. To do that, you don’t need to be connected to the internet, you  just send the message directly to the devices.

Now, imagine that you are at the office, take the phone and turn on your home lights. That is cloud control because you are not where your device is.

When you are controlling your devices through the cloud, it is because you are sending a message to the internet and then, your lights are receiving a message saying “turn on” at home (remark: this is only a brief explanation).

So basically, with local control you don’t need the internet to control your devices. On the contrary, cloud control needs the internet connection to work.

Mixing cloud and local control can be the best option for your smart home. What do you think?

Local control: Pros & Cons

There are some devices and brands which don’t need cloud control to work - For example, the new light ikea system called Trådfri. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this solution?

Pros

  • Don’t share information: There is no way any cloud service can get your data about how, when and where you use your  devices.
  • Will work forever: Because you don’t need any cloud service, this kind of devices will always work even if the brand would stop supporting them.
  • Faster response: your information doesn’t need to go through the cloud and then go to the devices. You send the order directly to your devices.
  • Reliability: Your devices will always work even if your internet connection fails. Sometimes people complain they can’t control smart home devices when the internet connection is down, so with local control you will be able to control them.
  • Security: Your personal information will never leak to the internet.

Cons

  • You can’t control appliances remotely: You won’t be able to control your devices outside your home  because they are not connected to the internet and they can’t receive any information from the outside.
  • Fewer functionalities: Voices control, routines, music services, IFTTT -  these are just some functionalities you won’t be able to access if you have all your devices controlled locally.

Cloud control: Pros & Cons

Most smart home brands have cloud control support for your devices or use internet connection to make them work. You probably know a few: Philips Hue, Sonos, Nest, Netatmo, Lifx, Wemo, Tp Link… Let’s see what are pros and cons of  the  cloud control.

Pros

  • Remote control: As I said most of the leader smart home brands allow users to control their devices remotely thanks to the cloud service.
  • Always updated: devices’ firmware will always be updated, what will enable the use of new features and improvements
  • More Features: voice control, routines, IFTTT  and  other features are available as you are connected to the internet .

Cons

  • Delay: messages need to go through the internet before the smart device receives it.,so it will take more time for the device to execute the command “turn on”
  • Won’t work without the internet: If you don’t have the internet connection you are fu… your devices won’t work at all because that message will never arrive to your devices.

* Remark:

Local and cloud services are secure. On local service the security of your devices and information depend on your internet security. So please, secure your wifi connection with a strong password.

My opinion

Local control is a really good option, but only if you want to control your smart home appliances from home and you don’t mind the lack of e extra features such as  remote control or other services like voice control or weather and traffic updates.

Cloud control is definitely better option for a smart home. New services and features will require your smart appliances to be connected to the internet. So, if you want to take advantage of all your devices then they should be connected .I think there are more pros than cons in this case.

The best option for me would be the mix of both, because I do not want to rely on the  internet connection even when I am at home. I would like to have both local and cloud control regarding where I am and what services do I need at the moment. Would you like it too? Then take a look at the next section.

How Yeti Smart Home deals with cloud and local control

At Netbeast, we believe that local and cloud control can work together. We want the best from both options.

We think that you don’t need to have the internet connection to control your devices if you are at home(unless services like voice requires it). The response will be faster and you will be able to control them even if your internet connection fails.

Also, the ability to control your home when you are not there is one of the main features that makes your smart home - smart. Possibility to turn on your heating system an hour before your arrive or turn on your lights when you are in vacancies is really amazing and useful to improve the quality of life.

Yeti - Smart Home Automation allows you to control your home both locally and through the cloud if you want it. That’s up to you, if you are at home we will work always with local control but, at any time you want to have more functionalities and services you can access to them through the cloud.