SevenHugs have developed a universal Wi-Fi remote controller, allowing you to remove your reliance on the smartphone in order to control your smart home. We’re diving into why you would need it, what it does and why it may be just the ticket to actually make the home smart. Lets dive in.
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, held annually in January acts as a barometer for the tech year ahead. Everybody from the worlds leading manufacturers, right the way down to the smallest start-ups turn up in sin city to showcase the products that they believe will headline the year ahead. This year the flavour was the smart home.
The emerging problem with the smart home is its complete reliance on the smartphone. This leads to potential issues down the road, including around phone upgrades (suddenly a change from iOS to Android may bugger your heating and security as well as your text messages), dead batteries which cause control issues and the fact that the vastness of the apps required to control the home, across potentially as many as 200 connected devices (that’s how many you can hook up to Samsung SmartThings) and you see the issue. SevenHugs are betting big on the idea that the home may better be served with a form of universal remote control, a tool which can be dedicated to the job at hand, left at home and purpose built to navigate the smart devices littered around the home.
The SevenHugs universal Wi-Fi remote is a nicely designed, sleek unit complete with a touchscreen interface which lets you control a host of smarthome devices.
The remote has triangulation tech, ascertaining where its pointing so that it can precisely control a multitude of devices. This becomes a necessity because the remote control is intended for use across a wide range of devices, not just for example a TV (allowing for input/output signal reading, hence the need for only general pointing of the controller). With the SevenHugs remote, you’ll need to point it a bit more accurately than you would a TV, so that it can use this triangulation tech to read which device you’re intending to control. Once the remote knows what you’re after, it reconfigures its screen to make it device-specific. No apps needed, it instead gives you a simple control panel which is relevant to, for example, some speakers verses a kettle verses a thermostat.
In our opinion, this is a much more elegant solution verses having a tonne of device specific apps, and makes it infinitely more practical to control a smarthome. The only real ‘pain’ point is stored in the set-up, as clearly a new smart home device will need configuring.
The manufacturers are targeting a release around the middle of 2016, and are hoping to take their first pre-orders before the end of March. The charging base, three sockets and universal controller will cost around £130/$200, and will work with leading smarthome products including the Phillips Hue, Nest and Sonos. However, due to an app SDK, it should work with an almost unlimited range of products.
We’ll keep you posted on developments, and will aim to work with the manufacturer to deliver a full review as the product approaches its release.