For those who want to make their home or office completely smart, the real problem arises when it comes to the switches: leave the old ones equipped with additional internal switches / relays, totally change the plates of the entire system or start from the switches only with a powerful, versatile and elegant design solution?
The series Smart Switch iotty answers exactly the last question and does it with a product designed in Italy by a company with long experience in the sector: a switch that, thanks to the certifications and quality control, can be installed in any system in our country with the declaration of conformity of a licensed electrician.
The colors available at the moment are 2 (black and white) and the external dimensions 2.
Certified devices suitable for the Italian market
The issue of certification and authorized installation is not of secondary importance: going to alter an electrical system, albeit not very complex with non-certified devices, can for example lead to non-payment by insurance in the event of a fire due to a short circuit caused by the system same. For this reason, while often reporting on this site solutions of direct Eastern origin, it seems fair to point out that their use must be aware of the risks that are encountered even with an installation procedure by inexperienced personnel.
Furthermore, iotty servers are not in China and do not depend on any West / East restrictions and trade problems.
But let's get to the iotty Smart Switch: we have received two switches in the format of 3 switches suitable for installation in the normal 503 boxes very common in our country. However, the switch also exists in the square format with only two switches for 502 or European type boxes.
Let's start immediately from the cost: The 3 switches in the Smart Switch I3 that we have cost a total of 79 Euro including VAT that can be compared with the cost of a plate of a quality civil series with glass frame whose cost is around 20 Euro and to which all the control electronics and smart capacities must be added.
The whole iotty Smart Switch surface made of tempered glass, with adjustable backlighting and the keys are all connected in smart mode and can function not only as switches for light points but also as activators for opening / closing the gate, door opener etc … all thanks to the Wi-Fi transmitter on board the device.
And here we come to the particular feature of iotty compared to other home automation series: no special home automation wireless protocols are used such as Zigbee or Zwave or wired KNX type but simple Wifi with which you can connect directly to the home router without special home automation gateways. The immediate advantages are in saving in the purchase of a gateway in the ease of configuration and in the immediate possibility of controlling the lights or connected devices through the voice assistants of Alexa, Google and, as we will see later, also with Siri. The grouping of 3 switches and a single Wi-fi radio also allows saving on the number of connected IPs and on the current supplied at rest. The disadvantages? We will see them at the end of the review.
In the package where the dominant colors are white and blue we find all the control capabilities of the iotty Smart switch well stamped on the back but inside we find a nice folding in Italian with all the warnings and the possibility of connection and configuration.
The first to present the front plate in tempered glass (available in white or black finish) covered with a sticker with instructions, then we have the actual electronic part with a block of white resin of good weight: on the front the frame that will welcome the plate and on the back the Phase and Neutral connections as well as those of the three different switches / relays that can be managed.
In addition to this we find a sachet with two classic screws and two mysterious white stickers on one top and black on the other: they will serve to mask any unused switches by shielding the backlight. In our test we did not use them because we wanted to maximize the use of the switches present.
The connection and the functions
To carry out our test we removed the contents of a 503 in the kitchen which was attested behind the one in the living room which managed the opening of two gates and external lighting while the other box we inserted on the lower floor where the gate opener contacts are not available and lights.
This type of connections has allowed us to take advantage of practically all the connection capabilities of iotty Smart Switch between real and virtual buttons as well as the ability to manage switches and buttons from iOS, Android (via the iotty App), verbally via Alexa and Google Assistant and Siri (via the quick commands that act on the Iotti iPhone application).
The capacities of the buttons are however these:
- Keys that can be activated and configured individually
- Keys that can be set as an on / off switch (we used it for the external light)
- Keys that can be set as a button, for example for doors / gates / external rel (we used it for 2 gates)
- Keys that can be set as a diverter / inverter via Wi-Fi (we used it on another floor where there were no gate contacts and external lights)
Needless to say, direct control with the cables connected to the switch works even in the absence of Wi-Fi and this allows its use even for those who do not have a cell phone in the house, or have a router temporarily unavailable.
The control application and configuration
The applications for iOS and Android are completely similar: the only difference is that on iOS you have been able to activate Siri's quick commands for a few weeks, thus obtaining control of lights, gate openers and scenarios directly with your voice: even if the switches are not exposed on Homekit surely this is a very useful function and we have used it for our installation.
The sequence for linking iotty to home Wi-Fi can be seen in the gallery below.
Equally easy to pair the keys with Alexa and Google Home: after these steps you can control the switching on and off, the opening and closing of specific switches / buttons in the rooms that you have decided directly by voice or, if you have a Nest Hub, an Echo Show of 10 or a phone with Alexa and Google Home applications, from the screen of your iOS and Android phone.
Finally you can connect the switches to IFTTT perhaps to turn on or off an air conditioner or activate a complex scenario.
Let's not forget that each button can be a virtual button and can be used to activate complex scenarios on devices not directly connected, such as activating / deactivating an alarm system, turning on all the lights in one or more rooms, activating an irrigation system whenever we DO NOT want to do it by voice or by accessing a smartphone or tablet.
Below we show you the sequence to add Siri's voice commands on iOS and how we managed it for our installation. With this series of commands it is possible, for example, to ask your iPhone (also via the car system) to open a double gate and turn on the house lights when you are in front of the main entrance avoiding to use geofencing when you are simply passing in front home without wanting to enter.
Scenarios and automations
The scenarios and automations are programmable directly within the applications and can be assigned to the keys or you can use the programmable routines of Alexa or Google.
Below we see the relative screens.
In our specific case we have created an automation that opened the condominium gate then the one at home and the external light but timers, geo-fencing conditions and all the usual conditions for managing the smart home in devices of this kind can be used.
We must say that it has been very useful in several cases and given the chronic habit of leaving the keys and opening remotes at home it was a relief to be able to return with a simple voice command on our iPhone or by clicking the buttons on the iotty app.
In addition, there is also the possibility of sharing access with other users in order to provide an option (perhaps temporary) to access a home or a parking lot when we are not at home without providing the physical keys.
Wi-Fi or not Wi-Fi?
As you have read from our other articles, we are quite skeptical about the illusions of radios not strictly designed for home automation within complex smart home systems: today's Wi-Fi has not been specifically designed for smart homes and a myriad of devices with their own IP are able to make life complicated for older routers and the use of the network in general.
With the iotty switches we have an excellent compromise: a single Wi-Fi radio capable of supporting 3 different ones that will rely on a single IP reducing the crowding of addresses and the rest consumption that a single radio for each switch would introduce into home wireless.
For switches with direct connection we have the possibility of use without Wi-Fi network: the only ones that could suffer from a drop in the network are the virtual buttons and you will have to take this into account when choosing the distribution of switches in the home that must be accompanied by an analysis the quality of the network itself in your home. If the house is very large or on several floors, consider inserting a mesh repeater.
The iotty Smart Switch works well, elegant, versatile and easy to install and program with a well-finished software that allows many customizations and integrations with other home automation systems.
Personally, we consider it suitable for small to medium-sized apartments, even as replacements for obsolete plates, as long as you can carry the neutral in each 503 box.
The possibility of adding virtual switches even if linked to the efficiency of your Wi-Fi network offers additional versatility by allowing you to switch on / off / open / close even in positions where you cannot reach with the connections of the light points but only with the power supply. This also reduces costs during the restructuring phase by eliminating traces of the appliances which in many cases may be impossible (presence of beams or partitions in reinforced concrete) or unsightly.
The hope that iotty, on the strength of the international success it is enjoying, will also offer a series of plates with power outlets, perhaps combining a classic "German" socket with a 16 Ampere socket. at that moment he would be able to satisfy a wider audience who likes the design of the Italian company and would like to see it applied on the whole (or almost) of his system.
Excellent design, versatility of configuration, complete application with excellent level of programmability, possibility of finding authorized and expert installers.
Virtual switches require an efficient Wi-Fi network.
iotty Smart Switch costs 79.90 Euros to the public including VAT on Amazon. On the iotty website, there is the possibility to check the availability of an authorized installer in your area that you purchase the plates directly from iotty whether you have already purchased them elsewhere.