One of the cornerstones of the smart home are automations that get triggered based on certain conditions. SmartThings, Wink, and other hubs built their whole proposition on top of that, but then voice assistants came and shook that foundation. Voice commands, and thus active requests, became the focus, but that didn't stop everyone from bemoaning the loss of passive automations. To implemented that functionality you need sensors, and Google Assistant is finally adding native support for them.

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