Smart Home

Hook creates a smart home at a smart price by bridging RF and Wi-Fi

From standalone products such as Nest and the Philips Hue to a host of crowdfunded connected objects, the home automation dream has never been closer. But adding IP or even Bluetooth to products can be expensive and sometimes overkill.

Hack-a-Joe Labs has found a clever way to automate lights and other appliances without havng to drive up the price of everything in the house. Its device, Hook, smartens up low-cost RF outlets and bulb sockets already on the market that use basic remote controls. By using RF-to-WiFi technology, each connected appliance can be synced to a smartphone once to be controlled from anywhere in the world.

And it’s not just about turning things on and off via a phone. Users can take advantage of the product’s integration with the IFTTT simple rule system to set up custom events. An example would be flicking the lights when the bus is five minutes away. A package of one Hook with three RF sockets to control things like coffee brewers and space heaters goes for $58, and is expected on doorsteps by December 2015. The $25,000 campaign ends on May 27, 2015.

Hook is remarkable in its simplicity and price. Other options such as Webee and Linkio, are similarly priced and have similar functions but are completely proprietary. In tapping into a market that already exists, Hook can definitely make a splash if it can get the word out about the benefits of its unconventional approach.