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I'm doing some very basic automation - lights, cameras, motion sensors. My key requirement is to be able to turn certain lights on or off based on motion and time of day, with the ability to add more complex logic later via custom programming.

I bought some products without much planning, just based on individual product reviews and recommendations, and ended up with 3 hubs - NetGear (Arlo cameras), Lutron Smart Bridge (light dimmer), SmartThings (motion sensors). I also have an Amcrest camera because one area requires TPZ functionality for proper monitoring. Lutron integrates with SmartThings but has to go through the Lutron Bridge. I also bought a TP-Link device advertised as "no hub required", only to find out after delivery that the advanced functionality requires yet another hub.

The excessive number of hubs is insane and I'd like to consolidate everything down into one hub (or even better, zero hubs, as my Wi-Fi mesh has better coverage throughout the house than any of the proprietary networks).

I'm still within the return window for most of the stuff I bought, so the cost of switching some of the products is reduced. Is getting down to one hub possible at this time? I'm really intrigued by the new Echo Hub with ZigBee support.

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Unfortunately, it doesn't look like your goal of just one hub is achievable. According to the Arlo documentation:

When do I need a base station?

You need a base station to connect Arlo Wire-Free and Arlo Pro Wire-Free cameras.

You don't need a base station to connect Arlo Q and Arlo Q Plus cameras. They connect directly to your Wi-Fi router.

It is confirmed in the support forum that the base station is required unless you have an Arlo Q camera.

It's a similar case with the Lutron Caseta: they can't integrate directly with your SmartThings hub and the Lutron SmartBridge is needed.

So, as you suspect, there is no way to get rid of the hubs, however ludicrous it may seem. If this isn't palatable for you, it would seem that returning them is the only option, unfortunately, and you'll have to take a look at replacements.

Since you expressed interest in the Echo Plus, here is the list of compatible devices from Amazon. As you can see, the list isn't huge, but it does vastly simplify your setup if you are able to use them. Interestingly, there aren't any switches listed, so you might have to resort to at least one hub like the SmartThings hub which tends to have pretty good support for many ZigBee and Z-Wave devices.

It seems that great care is needed to avoid having dozens of hubs in your house — and many home automators notice this. It's simply a case of competing standards...

  • Thanks for the comprehensively documented answer. It's not what I wanted to hear :-( – Alex R Dec 18 '17 at 6:33

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