Connected Objects Smart Home

GATE connected mailbox makes postal mail notifications just as annoying as e-mail notifications

Even though mailboxes have been around for at least a century, they haven’t changed all that much. They’re still physical boxes, they hold mail, and they don’t do much else. In a world where everything is digital and integrated with the Internet of Things, that simply isn’t enough when such important information is routinely mailed everyday.

GATE smartens up the humble mailbox by adding a Wi-Fi or zWave connected home unit and solar-powered mailbox sensor to the mix. With this done, a sensor-equipped mailbox can send an alert to the home unit whenever it is opened, notifying home owners with a blinking light at a range of 500ft. SMS, email, and Twitter notifications can also be sent out as well so that no matter where someone is, they can stay informed through their iOS or Android device. If mail theft is a big problem in the neighborhood, multiple GATEs can connect to share information about the occurrences. Each GATE goes for $249, with an expected ship date of December 2015. Its campaign is looking for $10,000, and ends June 20th, 2015.

GATE sits opposite the bare-bones Postifier, an Arduino-based mailbox solution that sports a low price but a lack of functionality. As such, there is no contest: GATE pushes the bar up on what a connected mailbox should be, truly bringing it into the 21st century — for a premium.


PackagePal holds your parcels close, hides them from bad weather and bad guys

Mail order items can be some of the easiest and best money-saving ways to purchase items for one’s home, vehicle or for home entertainment. The problem is that these items usually arrive when the person who ordered them is at work. So in an effort to take the weather worries and theft concerns out of the mail order scenario, PackagePal was created.

No tools are required for what is touted as easy installation, and it keeps packages out of plain sight. The package gets inserted into the giant bag-looking device attached to the door, and then the user writes a message and Mr. or Ms. Postman will just pick up the package.

It’s questionable, however, as to whether either one would leave a delivery in the attachment. Also questionable is whether the package is truly out of plain sight when the gadget itself still seems to be fairly visible. Still, it’s a pretty decent alternative to services like Interested backers might like to check out Postifier. This campaign seeks to raise $20,000 in funding. For $29, backers get one product with an expected delivery of December 2015.

Accents Organization

Geco Hub organizer crams small items into its grabby grid

The Premise. Keys, bags, phones and other things are essential items for leaving the house. Most people opt to use a special bowl or shelf for their varied accoutrements, but their items tend to get messy when all thrown in the same place. Other storage systems that hang on the wall keep those important accessories in place, but can also make them difficult to access.

The Product. Geco Hub offers a way to keep your accessories handy, but organized at the same time. As the campaign refers to it in a way that tugs at the heartstrings, it is the “home for things without a home.” Using a series of rubber pegs and circles, the hub holds your stuff without poking holes into anything. The shelf is easily assembled and can be adhered or screwed into the wall. This organizational accessory comes in different sizes and colors including black, blue, green, pink and white.

The Pitch. Geco’s campaign starts with a video showing the different ways the product can be used and configured to make different patterns with the colors available. Simon Lyons, the British creator, is a little bland if charming enough in the video. The rest of the campaign shows different design possibilities for the wall fixture and details exactly what the reward tiers offer. Geco hopes to raise £35,000 in their 35-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. One Geco Hub, which is a 5×5 unit, goes for £25 with an estimated delivery date of October 2014. Other perk levels offer different sizes of the hub up to a 15×15 unit for £269. Reward tiers go all the way up to £540.

The Potential. Other products out there have attempted to solve the whole key and letters by the door problem. Most approach it from a more direct stance like the InterDesign Key and Mail Rack that has hooks and a shelf specifically meant for key rings. The Geco Hub is more versatile in what it can hold and, according to the campaign, can hold a great deal of weight. This nifty product is also great for tools or even bathroom accessories making it valuable all over the house. While a little expensive, the Geco Hub is a cool and multipurpose addition for any home.

Connected Objects Maker/Development

Postifier notifies of letter delivery, won’t scream, “You’ve got mail!”

PostifierOne of the benefits of digital communications that we take for granted is the (optional) notification of new messages. Postifier brings what many have a love-hate relationship with to physical mailboxes via a Bluetooth-Arduino mashup. While there’s an element of “because we can” to the product, the creators appeal to the utility for those who have a hard time getting around having to go down to the driveway to pick up their mail. Another option would be to ask neighbors to pick up mail when one is on vacation. However, the Postifier uses Bluetooth, so notification is confined to a relatively short range for now. On theo other hand, the battery is expected to last around nine months. It’s not much to look at now, but should be available to backers in June 2014 for $35 AUD plus another $10 for shipping outside of Australia.