Smart Home

SAM lets you automate any part of the home just by plugging it in

The Premise. Everyone wants an automated home that they can control with their phone or even one that can sense what needs to be turned on or off without any user input. Dozens of companies promise this feature, but one wants to really deliver on the mixture of functionality and ease of use.

The Product. SAM is a smart outlet that comes in both single-plug and power strip varieties. Using environmental sensors to monitor time of day, temperature, electrical usage, motion, and light, SAM can be programmed to control any kind of product plugged into its outlets. Additionally, SAM can be controlled using an app to know if a device has been left on or not, or to start it while away from the home.

The Pitch. The idea of having a little kid act out the part of SAM and take care of the home while the adults are out working and celebrating a romantic anniversary is pretty creative. Of course, the actual product itself is more high-tech and less human, but the functioning principles are the same. Getting a chance to see the SAM app and how easy it can be to control any kind of device remotely or even without any user feedback beyond the initial programming phase is what makes this product so enticing., the creator of SAM, needs $75,000 primarily for tooling and appropriate certification.

The Perks. Single-outlet SAM plugs are available in black or white for $49. The SAM Strip with three outlets is available for $109. Both items will be delivered in November 2014. A beta option with early production units of the Plug and the Strip will be out in September for backers who pledge $299. A “full house” tier is available as a 10-pack for $450.

The Potential. Smart plugs or outlets like these are pretty much the backbone on which home automation is founded on these days, so the concept of SAM is nothing new. Watching the videos and getting to see SAM in action however, it seems like a great step forward for the concept. Based on how programmable the plugs and power strips are, complete with multiple sensors for conditions, full overrides, and the ability to communicate with one another, SAM seems like the simplest, most effective solution for smart plugs. There have certainly been other efforts that are gaining some momentum, like Belkin’s WeMo for example, but the execution here is what elevates SAM to the next level.

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