Smart Home

L.U.C.Y! brings digital assistants to the big screen

The effect of Amazon Echo’s voice-controlled versatility on the industry has led to consumers expecting competing products to offer as smooth of an experience — if not better. Creating that better experience is a tall order with how much the Echo can learn and do, but that’s not stopping the team behind L.U.C.Y. from trying.

While L.U.C.Y. is a digital assistant in the same vein as something like Amazon’s smart canister, the first and most obvious difference lies in its design: L.U.C.Y. boasts a large 17″ to 24″, tablet-like form factor with a Full HD, IPS-equipped display that sports a 1920 x 1080 resolution, an HD camera, a microphone, and facial recognition for different users.

Smart Home

Sentri’s large touchscreen keeps an eye on your connected home

The explosion of connected devices in the home, while incredible, would be an even better development if they all worked more seamlessly with each other. Since most don’t, it forces IoT fans to put up with separate apps for each device, diluting the experience as a result.

The Sentri is effectively a 10.1 touchscreen that serves as the center of a person’s connected world. It combines security, an impressive array of built-in functionality along and the ability to connect to wide-range of third-party devices to truly bring together what can be a disparate experience.

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.