This is a review on the prerelease info I got.
Thanks Athom for providing the Homey Bridge as a preview.
Both will be available soon™ for everyone but are now in closed beta on invite. Athom is using a waiting list to iron out the issues while scaling up before releasing to the market.
Homey Cloud is a subscription based Homey that gives you the Homey experience from a cloud hosted environment. Homey bridge is the extender to make home automation using Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth LE, RF 433 and Infrared working in your home. It is clearly targeted at another consumer than the Domotica “professional” that is used to pay 300 € or more for an advanced controller.
So what are the differences between Homey Pro and Homey Cloud + Homey Bridge.
As said above, I was contacted for a Preview and had some time to play with Homey Cloud service and the Homey Bridge. Here are my Homey’s side by side:
- The best: Homey Cloud can be evaluated Free for one Month!
After that Up to 5 Devices can be connected for Free. (No Insights, No Logic)
- Subscription: For 2,99 €/Month you get Homey Premium with Insights and Logic and no limitation in number of Devices.
- A Homey Bridge cost 69€ and extends your Cloud Homey to in your house with Zigbee, Z-wave, RF433 Mhz, BLE and IR. This includes 3 months Homey Premium.
From a functional point of view the differences are pretty limited, You even use the same Mobile App.
Let’s start and see the differences:
What I found out:
- Homey Bridge has the same protocols and radio’s except the RF 868 Mhz.
- The LED ring is in Spectrum or Off, no DIM Level, no Weather, Puls or other options or notifications.
- No Speaker, Homey bridge does not talk
- Obviously the CPU, Memory and storage of the Homey Bridge are minimal, Homey is run from the Cloud.
Although Chips/modules for fe Z-Wave or Zigbee can be different, in the base it is providing the same functionality. I have not enough information on that and it probably doesn’t matter for the audience, time will tell if it is really different in use or limitations.
Due to Cloud nature connectivity of Local APIs and LAN are not available in Homey Cloud.
For the software you also see some slight differences, but the major part of Homey is the same. Homey Cloud uses the same Mobile (Android/iOS) App and Web Interface (https://my.homey.app) as Homey Pro. The information and possibilities provided by Homey Cloud to the App are different on some points.
After creating a Home(y) and opening the App you can see no difference from someone with a Homey Pro. The first four Tabs are just like usual
- Home, with presence, favorites and timeline,
- Devices and Zones
- Flows with FlowFolders
I added some devices for testing and played with creating dummy flows to test and almost everything was the same.
Here an impression of my Homey Cloud with some test devices:
Until this Tab it isn’t really different, I just added some devices for testing and everything functions like on my good new Homey Pro. (Refreshed with new Firmware and New possibilities every few weeks.)
The difference start in de More… tab, No Alarms and No Backup
Homey Cloud does not have Alarms like Homey Pro. Backup is differently implemented and Apps can’t have App Global Settings. All Apps for Homey Cloud need to be verified and be compatible with Homey Cloud, Therefore Less Apps are available for Homey Cloud at this moment.
Don’t expect every app to become available on Homey Cloud but pls be patient while Athom, partners and community developers update their apps to become available on Homey Cloud.
The Settings menu also has less options remaining.
From the Settings, there are no Experiments, no LED ring and no Speech. LED ring is managed from the Homey Bridge advanced settings.
General reveals less info than on a Homey Pro.
And not all Languages are implemented yet. You need to use English or Dutch for now.
Small note on the Location, Homey Bridge has no option to locate the position on the globe, Auto detect option is missing. But I verified the Timezone and Sunset / Sunrise triggers
Coming to the Homey Bridge:
The bridge provides the Cloud Homey with controllers and antennas in your home. It is easily added just as other devices using Bluetooth from your mobile.
The Bridge has no Controls, only advanced settings to view or change the LED ring.
The information from pairing Zigbee, Z-Wave and IDs of BLE, Infrared and RF devices is kept in Homey Cloud, even if you remove the bridge. just re-adding/replacing a Bridge restores that and makes them available again.
Using Homey Cloud I only missed a couple of triggers that are available on Homey Pro
for example the Date & Time - Every…
Although I have always found it silly to trigger flows every x minutes or y seconds to check things . I only have some cases for resetting what I am counting every Hour and some cleanup triggers every day at 0h00.
The last one is easy and can be done with “The time is 0h00”
For now I think everything a user starting with Homey needs is implemented, else there is always an option to request a new feature.
Athom also improved the Infrared Pairing of Homey Cloud using Homey Bridge, Showing here the Pairing wizard from Homey WebApp, it has a different and more complete IR-Signals database.
I only show half the list here in this screenshot where the Homey Pro only comes with 2 devices for Denon.
Homey Cloud is a nice step to start with Homey automation for a lower start cost. It doesn’t provide the extra Pro options and complexity many users here in the community use but that should not be an issue for that target audience and users. The same time it provides Athom the ability to innovate and I hope we see nice new things backported to Homey Pro
I am confident I can invite some friends and family that didn’t want to spend 400 € on a Homey Pro, but now can replace other legacy bridges. And I am going to invite my mother in law (82yrs) as I know this is enough for the small automations I created for her, that brings an older development Homey back Home for me
Pro Tip: More important than ever before, Automate in a way that you can lose your Homey or in this case your Internet connection. It provides the best acceptance factor for your family.