We touched on smart homes when we wrote about the Internet of Things, but such a fascinating topic warrants further exploration.
The real world goes hand-in-hand with the internet these days. Everything is connected and Angry Birds is no longer the only thing keeping your eyes glued to your smartphone: Until the inevitable AI revolt, our homes continue to get smarter and more connected, lowering our costs of living, making our lives that much more comfortable and convenient, and generally making us more helpless in the event of a power cut.
The area of smart homes is competitive and gives a lot of room for innovation. It’s a good place for startups to make a name for themselves. Here are 7 startups working to give our homes smarts of both the book and street variety.
Cocoon consists of a single device and a smartphone app. The device can be placed anywhere in your home and requires no installation. Rather than setting up sensors in every room, Cocoon uses ‘Subsound’ technology. It’s basically like a little round bat that can send you HD video if it detects unusual movement while you’re away. And it’s a lot cleaner.
Cocoon watches and learns your patterns so that it can tell what is usual and what isn’t, but just to be safe, the video it sends you (in night vision if necessary) will let you see what’s happening for yourself. You can then choose what actions to take from the app. Setting off the 90+ db siren, for example.
Dublin-based Hub Controls is looking to save you money with their smart thermostat. A quick-to-install Hub Controller lets you easily control the temperature of your heating system and determine how much money you are spending, allowing you to save. You can even set your heating budget on the thermostat.
With the ability to switch your heating on and off from the smart phone app, you will never come home to a cold house, and you can save more versus a normal timer.
Smoke alarms are the Devil’s work. They beep at you randomly, with no apparent reason and when you pull the battery out and they are disconnected from any possible means of power…they keep beeping! Roost is circumventing this evil with their smart smoke detectors. Not only does the more advanced of the two models detect carbon monoxide and natural gas alongside smoke and fire, it is connected to your smartphone. This allows it to send you notifications (such as, your house is on fire) and gives monitoring ability to friends and family in case of emergencies. And as for that beeping, it will notify you of low battery via the app rather than the usual demon screams.
As well as their smoke detector, Roost are launching a smart leak and freeze detector for your water pipes. It can detect when your water system has a leak or temperatures are too high or low, potentially saving you a lot of money.
ROOBO have created a different take on home security: a robot dog…thing. Domgy is built to be a pet robot, with emotive eyes, responses to various emotional inputs, facial recognition, and a touch screen face. However, it also as a camera in its head, allowing it to be used to monitor your home while you are away. Unlike other monitors, Domgy can move from room to room on its own, allowing you to check the entire house. And scare the cat.
ROOBO are looking into other content for the Android-based platform built into Domgy, potentially allowing it to become a hub for other connected systems in your home.
NEEO can be your smart home’s brain. The idea is that any device in your home with network connectivity can be connected and controlled through NEEO, cutting down on the clutter of the 101 remote controls you have lying around. TV, heating, lighting, music systems, smart appliances: you’ll find everything on the app, and on the fancy remote control with touch screen and hand recognition. The remote will use this hand recognition to give you personalised favourites based on what you use most.
IOTAS is all about the idea of being able to have a smart home without having to own your own home first. With a high number of millennials renting, making their house or apartment a smart home isn’t particularly viable if they are likely to be moving again after a year or two.
IOTAS works directly with property developers to install smart home technology into properties so that it is already there and ready to go when the tenants start moving in. This is not only enticing to tenants searching for somewhere to rent, but it will help them keep their bills down, increase security, and generally make their tenancy more pleasant. When the tenant moves, their preferences and the patterns that the smart home has learnt will be saved, ready to be applied to their next IOTAS smart home.
The plantCube from agrilution is a fridge-sized microclimate in which to grow food in your own home. In accordance with standard smart home procedure, it can be controlled directly from your smart phone. The plantCube uses special LED lights and optimised cultivation conditions to ensure the vegetables and herbs you grow are the healthiest and most nutrient-rich they can be, while cutting down on your carbon footprint. Plus, as you’ll only be picking the food you need, it cuts down on food waste.
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.