Demonstrating that even the humble power plug can receive a ‘smart’ make-over, Beijing-based start-up company, Plugaway, have invented perhaps the smartest power plug ever made.
Letting you wirelessly control your all of your existing home automation devices via your smart phone, the Plugaway Wi-Fi connected Smart Plugs and associated LED bulbs are a leap forward in mobile-controlled home automation.
How does the Plugaway work?
Let’s say that you’ve gone away for the weekend and think you forgot to turn the stove off in your home. It’s a common concern that will, in usual circumstances, make you turn the car around and head home.
Yet, with a Plugaway smart plug, you can quickly check your stove’s status via your smartphone and remotely turn the stove off if it is attached to a Plugaway smart plug.
Such an example shows the potential the Plugaway smart plug has in turning off potentially dangerous devices, such as the stove or an iron, remotely. It could also shave hundreds of dollars off your next power bill by ensuring all your devices are off at the wall.
Traditionally, setting up home automation devices can be expensive. This is where Plugaway differs from other smart bulbs and plugs.
TechCrunch uses the example of Phillips Hue’s WiFi bulbs, which require a costly WiFi bridge to connect to your router in order for the device to work. Plugaway’s alternative technology allows you to plug any device into their wall plug to remotely switch it on and off; while their smart LEDs, let you can control the lights. No bridge required as it is activated via a mobile app.
And at $30 a plug, they are clearly a cheaper alternative to Belkin’s WeMo plugs and LIFX’s similar kit, which are selling for nearly three times the price.
On discussing the idea behind the Plugaway smart plug, entrepreneur Richard Cai, says the hardware was inspired by a lazy night when he wished he could use his phone to turn everything in his house off.
As simple as that thought was, it was brought to life by Plugaway, whose original Kickstarter goal began at $50,000USD. The Kickstarter campaign raised over $160,000 and production is currently underway with the estimated distribution date forecasted for this month (August 2014).
For the developers of Plugaway, the focus concept has always been on the ‘personalisation’ of the device. The developers have ensured that both the hardware and applications have the ability for users to fully customise their home automation installation with the technology.
According to the Plugaway team, “The open design of the platform allows users to build the app with limitless functionality, share their skins on our website and brand their software with their logotypes.”
The Plugaway app is compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems, and the smart plug works with everything from your favourite lamp or antique kettle to your new 79” Ultra HD television.
Production is underway and the first batch of 10,000 plugs was produced as of July 9, 2014. The smart plugs start at $30AUD each.