The next few articles will keep on the general topic of multimedia and home automation because it is such a fast-changing area. This article will focus on the Logitech Harmony line of universal remotes.

There are few devices that compare with the Logitech Harmony. Introduced in 2004, one of these remotes can replace a handful of remotes on your coffee table, and even simplify the process by grouping multi-step operations into just a few simple activities like “watch TV” or “listen to iTunes”.

The biggest drawback of the early versions, especially for the longer sets of instructions, is that you had to keep the remote pointed at your devices when controlling them … failing to do so could result in only some of your instructions being received.

Logitech’s solution for that has been their hub: a small puck that stays within reach of the devices you wish to control. The hub also gave rise to the Harmony App, from which you can control the hub with your phone or tablet instead of (or as well as) a dedicated remote … effectively giving you multi-room control of your devices.

Logitech wasn’t content with controlling just your audio/video equipment, so now you can use one to control your home-automation devices such as lights, garage doors, door locks, and thermostats. To accomplish this, they have added Bluetooth and Wifi control to their basic Infrared controllers. You can learn more at www.myharmony.com/en-ca/

A future article will introduce the “smart speaker” … a device that will (among other things) allow you to control the hub with voice commands.

So cool.