Tag Archives: nCube

nCube Modular Smart Home Hub at CES 2018



There’s not a great deal of variation in smart home systems and most are based on a central control unit which communicates with sensors and devices. There’s usually some third party integrations thrown in too and something in the cloud. Frankly, it’s a bit dull and all a bit samey. Consequently, it’s great to see some innovation from nCube which has announced a new modular smart home hub platform.

The nCube system consists of four modules that can be stacked and connected together to meet the needs of the particular smart home. There are four modules, starting with a base module, which can then be enhanced with security, storage and voice layers.

The nCube Base is a full redesign on the existing nCube hub which is no longer Raspberry Pi based, but has a fully customised board embedding Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.  The base can support both Wi-Fi connection to the home network and simultaneously allow Wi-Fi smart home devices to connect to the nCube base. This means that the base can be located in the optimal position for control of Z-wave and Zigbee devices, rather than the closest network point. For those who prefer wired connections, there are four LAN ports too.

The Security module provides mobile network back-up and battery back-up for approximately 12 hours.  This means the whole nCube platform continues to function in the event of either or both a power failure and internet connection failure. nCube have always valued local processing of events so it’s good to see this continuing.

The storage layer provides 1TB SSD storage for home security camera footage recording for consumers that are wary of cloud storage.  Optionally, the user may opt-in on an ad hoc basis to cloud storage accessing recordings when a security incident has occurred.

The voice layer provides voice control such as the existing Alexa integration. I’m not sure what this exactly means at this point….is it full Alexa or is it only “Alex for nCube control”. We’ll have to see.

With all modules being optional, the consumer can choose exactly what they want from their smart home hub instead of being forced into buying modules they don’t need, though pricing wasn’t mentioned.

The development of local storage, battery and internet back-up and the continued ability for the nCube hub to run entirely local (no logic runs on the nCube cloud) demonstrates nCube’s continued commitment and leadership in privacy and security in the smart home industry.

In addition, nCube is launching a range of branded smart home devices in recognition that consumers expect smart home providers to provide packages of pre-connected devices as well as supporting as many other brand products as possible.  The new range of nCube products include a colour-changing LED bulb, smart plug, door/window sensor, motion sensor, water sensor, light switch range and nCube multi-socket PowerBar. Oddly, while one of the modules is a storage module for home security cameras, there’s no mention of the cameras.

All products will be available for UK, EU and North American markets sometime in February. No pricing yet.

If you are at CES, nCube is at the Sands Hall A-D, booth 40118. Call in.


The Smart nCube Home



The smart home marketplace is growing rapidly at the moment with new entrants on an almost daily basis. The original “one-trick ponies” like Hue, Nest, Hive and Ring are expanding their single USP feature into a portfolio of smart devices, and well-known electronics companies like Belkin and Panasonic are setting up shop too. Most of these big names sell their own branded accessories creating a small ecosystem and a straightforward user experience. Once familiar with the smart home space, it’s easy to spot that the branded accessories are often rebadged OEM items from specialists.

Underneath the big names, there is a veritable housing development of home automation hubs, including Fibaro, Cozify and nCube, each with their own speciality. Finnish Cozify has more radios than most and works with devices using 433 MHz, whereas Polish outfit Fibaro excel at the user interface with dedicated touchpads and visual controls.

British outfit nCube are notable for three things. First, the hub is blue which makes a change from the usual white; second, they only make the the hub and connect to other manufacturer’s sensors and systems; third, all local processing is done on the nCube hub, ensuring privacy and retaining personal information at home. It also means that it’s not a big problem if the internet connection goes down. Yes, interfaces to other cloud-based systems won’t work, but other activities will continue as normal, e.g. turning on a power socket at a certain time.

As nCube Home doesn’t make anything other than the hub, they connect to a wide variety of other people’s gear, with support for over 120 devices. For Z-Wave gear, nCube works with Everspring, Popp, Fibaro, TKB, Philio, Danfoss and Aeotec, covering heating, lighting, sensing, switching and alarms. As expected, nCube integrates with other home automation systems such as Hue, Nest, LIFX, Sonos and Belkin. Amazon’s Alexa now has an nCube skill, so you can talk to nCube via Echo and Echo Dot.

Done right, this is a great opportunity for an open system giving more choice to the consumer.

As expected, nCube have an app for iOS and Android, bringing together all the devices and controls into a single convenient home. “Cubes” is their term for automation, which could be a command like, “At 7am turn the bedside light on and play music at 20% volume.” Security features can be built in Cubes too, “If water’s detected under the sink, send a text message.”

Originally a Kickstarter project, nCube Home is based around the Raspberry Pi. I interviewed nCube back in 2016 at the Wearable Technology Show and the hub was just about to come to market. You can listen to the interview on Geek News Central.

The nCube Home can be purchased from nCube for GB£149.


nCube Home at Wearable Tech Show



nCube HomeOriginally a Kickstarter project, nCube Home is a smart home hub and app to control a wide range of smart devices from a single place. Andrew interviews Myriam from nCube and finds out why nCube is a little bit different from the rest.

Like most of the competitors, the nCube Home is a small network connected box with a complementary app that communicates with sensors and other devices using Z-Wave. Unlike the competitors, it’s blue. More seriously, the nCube retains all the logic and actions within the nCube box rather than receiving instructions from an external portal, so even if the network connection goes down, activity goes on as normal. The nCube Home integrates with over 70 different IoT devices so the chances are that if it’s a Z-Wave capable device, the hub will work with it.

The nCube Home is shipping shortly (if it isn’t already). The normal price from nCube is GB£149 but there’s a £99 Wearable Show offer on until the end of the week (25th March).

nCube Home

By way of awards, the nCube Home won the IoT Wearable Award at the Wearable Technology Show this year. Well done.