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Moderno Eco-Home takes an ecological spin

With all the devices out there to make your home smarter, it’s about time that these special tools begin to pull more weight. If not, the alternative is a device full of independent devices that all need to be switched on in order to function.

The Moderno HCS1 Home Control System is a simple interface designed to combine three key aspects of the smart home: climate control, irrigation, and home security. With a single touch screen panel that can be mounted inside and access through any smartphone or tablet, the HCS1 is easy to use, adjust, and set up.

These three systems also work in cooperation with each other: for example, the HCS1 uses its security cameras to know when nobody is home and turn off the climate control system to cut down on energy. Moderno Technologies is raising $150,000 to develop, test, and manufacture the product. No reward tiers offer the actual product at this time.

One has to applaud the combination of multiple smart home functions into one device, but the lack of a physical product reaching backers and the lack of further expansion options make this kind of product one that’s better to wait until the market matures.

Smart Home

Monolyth may not be full of stars, but it can learn how you use air conditioning

The Premise. The smart home may not be as smart as inventors have led people to believe. Sure, it can detect various data and respond to it whether it’s temperature, motion, light, or network connectivity, but are these devices really learning, or are they just trained? The real smart home revolution is about to begin, and it’s starting with a clever bit of climate control.

The Product. The aptly-named Monolyth is a device that can control air conditioning units based on set times, temperature and humidity sensors, air quality, or manual control over Wi-Fi or infrared. What makes the Monolyth different is that it detects the presence of users and begins to build its own schedule around what it learns, turning on based on thermostat levels to keep the air cool, but setting the appropriate temperatures based on if anyone is around to enjoy it or how cold they want it.

The Pitch. The first look at Monolyth gives a strong first impression based on what it’s capable of. With its own sense of personal style and ability to learn, the excitement for this device carries through to its campaign as well. Monolyth wants to raise $50,000 for tooling, components, and packaging.

The Perks. The Monolyth system can be picked up for just $79 and will arrive in January 2015, which is great news for those in the Southern hemisphere and in the middle of summer. Higher tiers include multiple units to control additional air conditioners.

The Potential. We’ve already looked at a few smart air conditioning units in the past, like Sensibo and tado°, but Monolyth really challenges the idea of what a smart device should be. By learning usage patterns and building an automated schedule, Monolyth does more than just look for a phone or tablet within range before starting up, it adapts to its users and expends only the energy it needs to in order to create a climate control system tailored specifically to its users. Sure, it can be overridden as needed, but the idea of a device that anticipates a customer’s needs rather than react to them is something that could really push the entire smart home market forward and will no doubt be picked up by complements and competitors moving forward.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Sentri serves as a homeowner’s eyes, ears, hands, and air quality monitor

The Premise. Every smart home needs a hub to control everything, right? It feels like there are getting to be as many varieties of smart home controllers as there are homes themselves, but that isn’t keeping the market from deviating one way or another.

The Product. Sentri is a device capable of controlling a home either locally or through a smartphone app. From climate control to locking doors, if the components are compatible, Sentri can handle it. What makes Sentri unique is the addition of a camera that allows users to view their home live in real-time but also interact via video call with people in the home, which can be great for short updates, changing plans, or just easily letting the family know to get ready to head out to dinner upon arriving in the neighborhood.

The Pitch. In all aspects of the campaign, Sentri pitches its product through two key ideas: Sentri connects users to their home more directly than any other product through its camera, and it’s easy to set up because it only requires to be turned on and connected to a Wi-Fi network. Sentri wants to raise $200,000 to move the device into the tooling and production phases for mass distribution.

The Perks. A Sentri system can be picked up for $199 and will be delivered in May 2015. Differently colored models start at $269, with engraving as an option at $299. The tiers include several options for further customization of both style and quantity, with the next unique option coming in at the $2,000 level, where backers can sign up to be  an alpha user and receive a PVT version of Sentri, also expected to ship in May 2015.

The Potential. At the rate these devices are being proposed and marketed, it seems like the safest bet might be to wait until competitors are done layering features on top of one another. What makes the Sentri unique is the use of a camera that can be used for communication or security monitoring, which is a pretty great idea for making last-minute changes to the shopping list or checking in on pets, children, or anyone else. As that seems to be the only difference between Sentri and other smart home units, it isn’t so farfetched to see this unique quality become standard among all the others in a matter of months, if not weeks. It’s a great-looking device, but the market is becoming so saturated at this point that something has to give.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Neoji blends automation with energy monitoring

The Premise. The smart home revolution is banging down the doors of houses and apartments redolent in their wasting of energy; both for utilities and in the way residents have to get up, go home, and be present to control anything. Now that that revolution is here, homeowners need access to an automation hub that shares their goals and priorities.

The Product. Neoji can control the entire home using an app on a smartphone or tablet. Equipped with air sensors, a microphone, and an HD camera, homeowners can monitor their own home at their leisure or be alerted to motion or sound when they’re not paying attention. Because Neoji can learn about what’s part of the daily routine and what’s out of the ordinary, phones won’t be littered with notifications about pets playing or kids coming home from school.

The Pitch. Neoji introduces itself as a flexible device perfect for everything from baby monitoring to home security. With a focus on cutting energy costs and doing its part for the environment, Neoji takes things a step farther by planting or preserving a tree for every backer. Neoji wants to collect $100,000 in pledges in order to complete development and move beyond the prototype stage.

The Perks. A Neoji with app, energy coaching, and 24/7 technical support will arrive in April 2015 for those who pledge $299 to the campaign. A color choice between white and black is available for $349, and the model with an HD camera and air quality sensors can be had for $399. A flexible development kit with wall-mounts and access to the SDK goes to backers with $499 to contribute. Additional tiers offer multiple Neoji devices.

The Potential. Neoji is trying to be an all-in-one home automation system that revolutionizes the way homeowners interact with their property. The problem? It’s a little late to the party. In terms of its features and compatibility, this is really in the realm of what consumers are expecting from a device like this. The only way Neoji stands out is in its ecologically-focused presentation. If the campaign video is any indication, Neoji is somewhat fixated on reducing energy costs. For those that have a similar mindset, this will be the smart home environment controller that will be the best fit. Otherwise, Neoji winds up being another face in the crowd.