Smart Home

Smart Outlet lends you the power of the plug

The fastest way to create home automation is to start off with the infrastructure. If your outlets are smart enough to be turned on and off automatically, so too can any device plugged into them.

The Smart Outlet from Newbeem is a wall outlet that adds more features than simply providing power. With a built in surge protector, this device turns any outlet into three outlets, one of those three being Wi-fi enabled. With that and the variable dimmer inside, any light or appliance can be plugged in and controlled manually using a phone or set up on a timer or programmable dimming pattern. Newbeem is trying to raise $20,000 CAD to fund mass production of the outlets. Picking up a Smart Outlet will only cost supports $30 CAD, with an expected shipping date of November.

Anything that makes smart electricity more accessible and easy to use is always a welcome addition to the market. Two questions stick out when viewing this product however. First, how does it differentiate itself from competitors like WeMo or Brightup? Second, why is only one of the outlets Wi-fi enabled? Without adequate answers, this may prove to be a product of middling quality at best.

Lighting Smart Home

Emberlight makes smart lighting simple

emberlightControlling lights with a smartphone or tablet is a great entry point into creating an energy-saving smart home. Unfortunately, the setups can be complicated to install or have a high price barrier. Emberlight is designed to be a simple, intuitive access point for creating a smart lighting system, simply by screwing the device into any light fixture and installing a dimmable bulb. Immediately, multiple presets can be used and the Bluetooth Low Energy features allow lights to turn on upon entering a room, and off while leaving. Outfitting a whole home with Emberlights may be a little expensive, but the energy saving costs and simplicity will make up for that initial hit. Emberlight can brighten any home for $49 in February 2015.