Smart Home

Domus home automation system regulates your domicile’s energy

Smart home systems are all the rage these days. People love the ability to control and keep and eye on their homes when they’re away.

Domus is another smart home automation solution that monitors electronic devices in the home via an app for Android and iPhones. But the product goes one step further, allowing the user to also save energy by monitoring power consumption and calculating what the energy bill will be. It notifies the user if a space heater or other appliance has been on too long, which not only conservers energy, but also could prevent an accident.

The black remote control unit that serves as the system’s hub has a built-in Wi-Fi repeater module that enables the product to also extend the user’s Wi-Fi range. The user plugs a smart iPlug into any standard power outlet, then connects a device to the iPlug and downloads the app to control that device. Backers who pledge $39 CAD (~$33 USD) will get one smart plug, while those who pledge $49 CAD (~$41 USD) will get one remote control unit when Domus ships in June. The Vancouver company, Domus Living, is looking to raise $100,000 CAD (~$83,600 USD) on Kickstarter.

Domus Living’s combined focus on home automation and energy consumption regulation, along with the added Wi-Fi extender function add value to the product. But, as is the case with similar products, including Linkio, one drawback is that the more devices the user wants to incorporate into the system, the larger the cost because each one needs a separate smart plug.

Smart Home

3P Plug activates your turn-ons, turn-offs with your voice

Home automation is all the rage, but not enough systems make it simple enough to incorporate these smart features into all of your lights and appliances, instead only working with a select few. What’s the point of smart home if only half of it is intelligent?

The 3P is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 enabled Smart Plug looking to outfit everything in your home not covered by other systems with smarts. It serves as the connection between the outlet and the light or appliance itself, and allows users total control over its operation with voice or remote smartphone command. The included temperature and humidity sensors also keep tabs on temperature to empower users to save energy using the companion iOS/Android app’s scheduling features. A donation of $35 gets backers a Smart Plug and the Smart Beacon with embedded sensors. A successful $20,000 campaign will see the product delivered by March 2015.

Although the 3P Smart Plug boasts voice control, it doesn’t have a wide array of commands available to it. As such, these limitations seem glaring when compared to other solutions like the SAM or AngelBlocks, which have proven to be more fully featured and provide more utility. The 3P shouldn’t be overlooked, though. It’s fairly difficult to make everything smarter, and the 3P handles the outliers well. 

Smart Home

SAM lets you automate any part of the home just by plugging it in

The Premise. Everyone wants an automated home that they can control with their phone or even one that can sense what needs to be turned on or off without any user input. Dozens of companies promise this feature, but one wants to really deliver on the mixture of functionality and ease of use.

The Product. SAM is a smart outlet that comes in both single-plug and power strip varieties. Using environmental sensors to monitor time of day, temperature, electrical usage, motion, and light, SAM can be programmed to control any kind of product plugged into its outlets. Additionally, SAM can be controlled using an app to know if a device has been left on or not, or to start it while away from the home.

The Pitch. The idea of having a little kid act out the part of SAM and take care of the home while the adults are out working and celebrating a romantic anniversary is pretty creative. Of course, the actual product itself is more high-tech and less human, but the functioning principles are the same. Getting a chance to see the SAM app and how easy it can be to control any kind of device remotely or even without any user feedback beyond the initial programming phase is what makes this product so enticing., the creator of SAM, needs $75,000 primarily for tooling and appropriate certification.

The Perks. Single-outlet SAM plugs are available in black or white for $49. The SAM Strip with three outlets is available for $109. Both items will be delivered in November 2014. A beta option with early production units of the Plug and the Strip will be out in September for backers who pledge $299. A “full house” tier is available as a 10-pack for $450.

The Potential. Smart plugs or outlets like these are pretty much the backbone on which home automation is founded on these days, so the concept of SAM is nothing new. Watching the videos and getting to see SAM in action however, it seems like a great step forward for the concept. Based on how programmable the plugs and power strips are, complete with multiple sensors for conditions, full overrides, and the ability to communicate with one another, SAM seems like the simplest, most effective solution for smart plugs. There have certainly been other efforts that are gaining some momentum, like Belkin’s WeMo for example, but the execution here is what elevates SAM to the next level.