Smart Home
Linkio offers affordable home automation solution

Mobile home automation systems offer the undeniably appealing ability to turn off your appliances and other electronic devices when you forgot to shut them before leaving the house from anywhere. French newcomer Linkio is yet the latest company to enter the growing category with an affordable and simple solution.

The company isn’t shy about celebrating native language with the system’s components. The main component of the white Linkio system is “Le Hub,” a central control unit resembling a router that communicates with the rest of the Linkio system and wirelessly links the user’s mobile phone to their electronics in conjunction with “Le Remote,” a remote infrared controller that looks somewhat like a typical smoke detector. A separate “Le Plug” connector allows any electronic device that it’s plugged into to be turned on or off via a free mobile app. Also part of the system is “Le Switch,” a component designed to replace mechanical wall switches that enables lights and ceiling fans to be controlled manually and through the app. The targeted price of a full Linkio system package is €99 (~$123), and it includes one each of the Linkio components.

Linkio’s system is targeted at consumers who aren’t interested in buying an entire smart home ecosystem, but instead want the ability to control just a few of their electronic devices from outside the home. Linkio will also sell plugs individually at €19 (~$24) each. The company’s Kickstarter goal is to raise €50,000 (~$60,000), in order to mass produce the finalized versions of the Linkio components. Linkio expects electrical design optimization to be finished in January and for the finalized product to follow in October.

There’s been similar home automation system concepts before. The Webee smart home system is just one of many competing products to seek crowdfunding. Belkin’s WeMo Switch, meanwhile, is a competing product that’s already widely available. An advantage that Linkio has over some of its rivals is that it’s an independent system that requires no server dependency. Also, unlike at least some rival devices, Linkio supports Windows Phone in addition to the more ubiquitous iOS and Android. But the home automation category is just too crowded to expect Linkio will become a major mass-market consumer product.