Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Smart Home Hubs 

Smart Home devices help you control your home with simple commands.

What does it do?

Smart home hubs are devices that connect to Wi-Fi to help you control aspects of your home. Using your voice or switches, you can ask it to turn on and off lights, control the television, and even lock your front door. These devices can be personalized and modified to communicate with other devices in your home. Smart home devices are highly customizable.

What kinds of smart home hubs are there?

The easiest way to set up a smart home system is to choose your hub first. Then you can make sure that all the devices you want to connect are compatible.

Amazon Alexa

Alexa is the virtual assistant that works through the Echo Dot and Echo Show hubs, or Fire TV. You can learn more about devices that connect to the Echo hub at

Google Home

The Google Home system starts with a Google Home or Google Nest hub. You can learn more about devices that connect to the Nest hub at

Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, and more

Apps like SmartThings and Home let you control devices from your phone.

What kinds of smart home devices are there?

You can choose many smart devices to communicate with your smart home hub. Examples include:

  • Light switches
  • Door locks
  • Thermostats
  • Smart plugs (to control not-smart devices)
  • Safety devices, like smoke detector and water detectors
  • Security devices, like cameras and door bells

Be sure to check for compatibility. Some smart devices are made specifically for Alexa systems and others are specifically made for Google systems. You cannot connect easily the two separate systems.


Touchscreen google tablet

How do I see what's new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:

smart home devices, smart home technology, smart hub, Alexa, Amazon Echo, Google Home, smart plugs, smart switches, integrated home systems

How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania you would need to find your state's AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out. Do we have this in our lending library?


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Tom DiAgostino

Tom is the Outreach and Training Coordinator at TechOWL. Before starting at TechOWL in 2019, Tom worked as an English Teacher through the Fulbright Commission in Uruguay as well as a Social Worker and Spanish interpreter in the foster care system in North Philadelphia. As a person with dyslexia, Tom is passionate about readability and website accessibility. Along with managing TechOWL’s social media platforms, Tom also co-leads the Fabrication program CreATe together and assists with managing the TechOWL website.

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