Remember how all of the Apollo astronaut mission commands could be performed on something with the computing capacity of a calculator (or something like that)?

A smart hub is a built-for-purpose computer, whether it be large or small. There can be hubs which talk to other hubs, which can make some really cool things happen. And some “hubs” don’t even exist other than within the cloud, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

Levll is a local, open-source hub – which means it works without any internet connection. A Raspberry Pi 4, despite its size, could blast a satellite into orbit if provided a rocket. Levll includes a Zwave USB stick and range extender in every material kit.

The Raspberry Pi can be a very good automation system, but an energy management system can be data heavy, especially if the data is recorded. Other examples of data heavy tasks are media streaming and camera imaging. Many of these devices (such as the USB Zstick) offer the exact same performance regardless of the cost of the hub they are connected to.

What matters much more than the hub itself is the design of the Z-wave system.

Levll recommends the Raspberry Pi hub for those wanting to spend the least amount of money for the quickest payback. Our Levll-1 kit can result in a one year payback for those with access to time-of-use electricity rates.

The next step up in a hub is a mini-PC, the advantages of which are better hard drives for data recording, faster start-up times, and some expansion capability.

If you prioritize payback over technical capability, stick with a Raspberry pi. If you have more money to spend, go with the mini-PC.

Levll uses Hassio as the Home Assistant operating system to allow easy upgrading from Raspberry Pi to mini-PC.

Don’t worry too much over whether your smart home hub is a Raspberry Pi or mini-PC. Either servers as an effective launching point into smart home.

Categories: Components

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