Before starting to use a spare smartphone or tablet as a hub to connect your MicroBots, please note that using a smartphone or tablet as a Hub aka Soft Hub (instead of a Smart Hub) has a direct impact on your user experience.
Pros of using a Soft Hub
1. No need to buy a Smart Hub device if you already have a spare smartphone or tablet.
MicroBot offers to users the possibility to turn an additional smartphone or tablet into a hub. We call it a Soft Hub. Use an old device or a device that you always keep at home like a tablet, to act as a Hub. You can save money, avoid adding another smart hub in your home and find a second life to your old but perfectly-working smartphone.
Using a Soft Hub makes the whole system portable. There is no need to configure the smartphone-turned-Hub each time you move places as long as 3G/4G or WiFi accesses are secured.
Cons of using a Soft Hub
1. Quota when sending commands to control your home
When you use a Soft Hub, your overall smart home experience, is subjected to the limitations given by your smartphone's or tablet's OS. Each smartphone brand has specific policy and conditions when it comes to delivering commands from the server to the device. Quotas limit the number of commands a device can receive from the server.
For instance, in the case of iPhone, there is a limitation on the number of push notifications sent per hour. See here for more information.
If you've used notifications up to the quota allocated by the OS, your device will not receive data updates from the server and you will have wait for a day until the quota is renewed to receive notifications again.
2. Limited runtime
Each smartphone OS has a specific policy that forces an app to terminate after a given amount of time has passed in order to save the smartphone's battery. Consequently, the data will not be updated unless the app is maintained awake by using specific methods. In the case of MicroBot app, the Bluetooth resource is used to keep the app awake. However, this resource is also subjected to limitations given by the OS: the app is wakened up regularly at a pre-defined interval of time. This means the app will be able to retrieve data from the server regularly but not permanently. The data will be updated only according to the interval of time. Consequently, there may be a discrepancy, in terms of atmospheric data, appliance's status and so on, between what the app shows and what the values actually are.
3. Inconsistent connectivity and quality
Each smartphone or tablet has specific Bluetooth and WiFi chipsets. This means that the capacities and performance in terms of wireless connection (Bluetooth/WiFi) will vary from a smartphone (or tablet) to another. Your user experience may, therefore, be impacted depending on the device you are using.
How to get around these limitations?
If your smartphone or tablet offers too limited capacities compared to what you wish to do, we recommend using a MicroBot Hub. MicroBot Hub was created to overtake the limitations existing with smartphones/tablets. When using MicroBot Hub, there are:
- no quota of notifications
- unlimited runtime
- consistent connectivity and quality
Therefore, MicroBot Hub offers an unlimited experience of your smart home, 24/7.