Sensors/IoT
SmartMat welcomes visitors into your smart home

The Premise. How many things pass through a front door step in a typical day? A door mat never gets to rest with packages, family and pets constantly making their way to the front door. There’s be value in a product that could keep a constant eye out, particularly if it were literally just underfoot.

The Product. The device is called the SmartMat, and it lies under your normal door mat. The Wi-Fi connected sensor can be customized with your smartphone or computer to respond to different types of triggers that respond to changes in weight input on the mat. If your pet wants to be let in to the house, an alert will be sent to your phone as they wait patiently on the SmartMat. It can even distinguish different waits to identify which users use the front door. The SmartMat also seamlessly integrates with other smart home devices, so you become immersed in your connected home even before you step through the front door.

The Pitch. There’s nothing fancy about the SmartMat video—just Dr. Andrew Clark, a tripod, and the product. Clark takes viewers step-by-step through each part of the SmartMat to explain how it works to customers. He demonstrates the simplicity of setting up the mat for use, but the video never shows the application or the mat in a real life situation. This leaves a lot up to the customer speculation as to just how well it works, which isn’t a great sign for a crowdfunded project

The Perks. The standard SmartMat comes at a price of $75 for the priority shipment (expected delivery around June 2014), and the price will rise to $99 with an expected delivery date of August 2014 after that. There’s also a SmartMat with Controllable AC option that controls the house climate controls by using a Wi-Fi AC power strip that responds to a trigger on the mat. This option comes with a $145 price tag, which will eventually rise to $169.

The Potential. There are other sensor mats already available on the market, but that’s not the entire issue. While the idea is useful, there is other technology that can do the job much better. Try this for example: Set up a connected motion-sensing camera in view of your front door step. Any movement will send an alert to your phone, and from anywhere in the world, you’ll be able to see exactly who or what is at your front door step with absolute certainty. This is more durable, not to mention cheaper, than the SmartMat and you get way more out of it as well. That said, the Smart Mat might be an option in, say, apartment buildings where there is no visible access to the front door and might be a better option for pets and packages that would be outside a camera’s field of view.