Safety Travel

The Travel Guardian combines smoke detector and alarm clock for ultimate safety travel companion

Citing that 1.5 million homes in the UK are without a smoke alarm and that most people do not regularly check their smoke detector batteries the makers of the Travel Guardian suggest killing two birds with one stone with their product. They suggest that since most people regularly change alarm clock batteries, that adding a smoke detector to alarms will ensure that both are always ready to go.

Travel Guardian is a large clock display that comes in a variety of colors. Inside is the smoke detector. Backers that pledge £250 (~$380) will get a limited edition metallic gold edition unit.

If you are very concerned about the possibility of smoke or fire hazards while you travel, the Travel Guardian may be for you. However, it’s a little odd that this product is specifically for travelers since at least hotel accommodations definitely have both alarm clocks and smoke detectors. It’s also a huge drawback that the Travel Guardian doesn’t attach to the ceiling, so it really won’t detect smoke at the first opportunity. Backers that contribute £50 (~$75) get the regular edition of the unit. The campaign is seeking to raise £100,000 (~$150,700) on Indiegogo.

Smart Home Technology

Habitat smart home protects, smoke detects, and opens your garage door

Home automation is enticing because it provides the ability to turn your electronic devices on and off from anywhere. But it needs to be easy to use and secure, and the Ottawa, Canada-based newcomer Habitat’s new automation system of the same name is both those things.

Like similar automation systems, including Linkio, Habitat is made up of several devices that can be connected to existing electronic devices in the home to control them. First is Habitat Hub, a mostly white desktop unit that takes up little room and serves as the brains of the system.

One key component separating Habitat from some other rival systems is that it includes a device, Habitat Park, specifically designed to automate garage door functionality. The third device is Habitat Protect, which integrates existing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors into the Habitat automation system, and informs users if there is an alarm or the battery in one of the detectors needs to be replaced.  It magnetically installs on a wall within range of a detector, and can easily be set up using the Habitat App on an iOS or Android smartphone.

The fourth device, Habitat Learn, comes with temperature, audio, motion and light sensors, and can monitor and react to events in the home, such as notifying the user when the refrigerator door is left open. Kickstarter pledges that include at least one of the devices start at $29, which includes one Protect. But there’s a catch: Pledgers must also back a pledge level that includes the Hub. For $89, pledgers can get one Protect and a Hub, and for $99, pledgers can get one Learn and a Hub. Shipment is expected in June and the company is looking to raise $80,000.

Habitat’s magnetic-locking system is appealing, and the Park device may be attractive to many consumers who own a garage door. But the $100 starting price tag is pretty similar to rival systems and the product will likely only find mass-market success if it can obtain major retail distribution. A lower entry-level price for each unit would help.

Safety Smart Home

NOVI portable security system eases burdens of safety, high expense

The Premise. Modern security systems promise innovation and quick response, but can be too complex in the way they work. In addition, they’re expensive and not portable, leaving renters and office owners at risk. 

The Product. NOVI is a portable security system. With three features, this small device looks like a typical smoke detector and attaches to the ceiling. It has an HD camera, motion sensor, siren and smoke detector. Information is sent to an app on one’s smartphone if there is any activity. This allows the user to see exactly what is going on at their home at any time. NOVI is also a learning device, keeping track of typical habits so it knows when to arm itself if the user has forgotten to do so. The app asks for a response when an image is sent including call the police, ignore, or request another image.

The Pitch. The campaign video goes through the downside of working with typical security companies and the upside of NOVI. Scary statistics about the false alarm rate common with regular security companies and the costs associated with that permeate the rest of the campaign. NOVI’s creators also really emphasize that their product requires one payment instead of bothersome monthly fees and contracts. NOVI needs to raise $80,000 for a successful run on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Early birds will receive one sensor and the base station for $149, regularly priced at $199. Higher tiers offer more sensors, great for larger apartments, homes or for landlords who’d like to equip the apartments that they lease. Estimated delivery is set for January 2015.

The Potential. Portable home security systems do exist on the market, but not all take the same approach as NOVI. The Tattletale alarm works remotely as well, but costs $500. Similarly, the SimpliSafe alarm system is portable and connects to one’s cell phone, but the company charges a monthly rate for each added feature. NOVI truly is simple and refined. While it could have more features like a carbon monoxide detector, NOVI’s genius lies in its affordability making it the best option for safety for home owners and especially apartment renters.