Logitech takes aim at smart home control with updated Harmony lineup

Logitech has announced some significant updates to its Harmony line of remote controls that sees the company move beyond the living room to focus on the connected home.

The company wants to offer a system that allows users to control an entire home theatre system as well as smart devices like lights, thermostats, locks, and windows shades. The company is hoping its Harmony Living Home line will sit at the epicentre of smart homes, and is introducing four new products to jump start that movement. These are the Logitech Harmony Home Hub, the Harmony Ultimate Home, the Harmony Home Control, and the Harmony Hub Extender.

The whole set is really based around the Harmony Home Hub, which is equipped with RF, IR, Bluetooth and WiFi, leveraging the Harmony app or the Living Home remote to relay commands to other devices around the house. Priced at $99.99, this, for all intents and purposes, is the point-of-entry for this new Harmony Living experience because the hub is actually bundled with the Ultimate Home and Harmony Home Control devices.

The Harmony Ultimate Home is a remote (shipped with the aforementioned Home Hub) that features a 2.4-inch display and is capable of controlling up to 15 home entertainment devices at once, in addition to all one’s automated home devices. At $350 it’s not cheap, but it’s also the most expensive solution available in the Living home line.

Sitting right in the middle of the Hub and the Ultimate Home package is the Harmony Home Control, which is closer to a regular remote in appearance in that it ditches the touchscreen. It’s priced at $150 but can control only eight home entertainment devices at a time. It can still dish out commands to a home’s other connected devices.

Rounding things out is the Harmony Hub Extender, which adds compatibility for devices that use ZigBee or Z-Wave. It’s a $129.99 add-on. but won’t be out until later this year.

Perhaps most exciting is the revamp of the Harmony app. When people think connected home, they think of the convenience of being able to control all manner of IoT devices with a single device. It doesn’t have to be a phone (it could easily be a tablet or another device) but the fact that our phones are always with us makes them a pretty good candidate for filling this role. With this new version of Harmony Mobile, Logitech has added support for its new products (obviously) and adopted a more user-friendly UI. You can also create “Activites,” which enable groupings of multiple devices and actions together under a single trigger. For example, you could have a movie activity that powers on your TV, switches off the lights, and closes the blinds all at once.

The fact that Logitech is moving beyond the living room now, when the adoption of smart home technology is still relatively low, is quite smart. For a company to get in at the ground level and establish itself well before the adoption of a new ecosystem reaches the mainstream consumer often isn’t feasible. The company is aligning itself perfectly with the future of home technology and it could be very lucrative for Logitech if it can maintain a base level of interoperability and compatibility across the numerous devices people are installing.