According to a recent report by Transparency Market Research, the value of the home automation industry is expected to reach $16.4 billion by 2019. This is up from the $3.6 billion industry valuation in 2012. As we head into 2015, it is clear that the home automation industry is moving from strength to strength; and with so many new products hitting the market, we’ve singled out five home automation start-up companies to watch over the next 12 months.
Started by two young entrepreneurs, Nezare Chafni and Shaun Moore, 214 Technologies are a start-up company that have just launched their crowd-funded smart doorbell, “Chui”. Chui is a smart doorbell that is very different to others currently on the market.
Essentially, Chui uses facial recognition software to alert occupants who is at the door. Occupants can receive real time notifications and even set a pre-recorded voicemail to play based on a visitor’s identity. Chui can also automatically unlock your door for friends or family, with 96.6% accuracy on its facial recognition software.
Chui is currently available for pre-order for USD$199 and products are expected to ship from their Dallas based warehouse in early 2015.
Ninja Blocks is an Australian-based start-up on track to be the next big thing in home automation systems after closing a US$700,000 investment deal last week for its Kickstarter product the ‘Ninja Sphere’. The company will be relocating to San Francisco in early 2015.
The Ninja Sphere is an open source DIY home automation kit, similar to Belkin’s WeMo but with more avenues for customisation. The $200 kit allows a user to customise the temperature, sound, lighting, and most elements that you’d expect from a smart home.
One of the unique features of the Ninja Sphere is that once a device is connected you will always know where it is. For example, if your phone is ringing the bedroom, but you’re in the kitchen, you will be alerted.
Ninja Blocks is taking pre-orders for the Ninja Sphere now, and hope to begin shipping by December 15, 2014.
In 2013, Microsoft announced that they would be backing a number of start-up companies in the home automation space as part of their venture into the smart home market. Californian based, Neura and its product Neura.me was one of the startups to receive Microsoft backing.
Neura.me uses the Internet of Things to collect, monitor and analyse data from your connected smart appliances in order to help make your life easier. Already the startup has partnerships with big players such as Nike, Withings, Fitbit, Jawbone and BodyMedia. The technology is house on a smartphone app and uses a simple interface to keep track of your movements, habits and preferences.
According to the team, Neura.me’s adaptive capabilities are endless. “You just finished a run. Neura will adjust your music, alert your water heater so you’ll have a hot shower waiting for you and send a notification to your family that you’ll be home soon.” The potential dawn of a new age and definitely a company to watch in 2015.
Another start up to come from Microsoft’s home automation startup accelerator program is Plum. Plum is a smart light switch company, that builds Wi-Fi enabled light-pads, smart plugs and outlets that let users control the lighting in their home from anywhere in the world via their smartphone.
Some of the features include energy saving monitoring as well as the ability to customise the lighting settings depending on your mood at a touch of your mobile. Plum are currently taking pre-orders from $89USD.
From humble beginnings in garages to coffee shops, Playtabase is another one of Microsoft’s funded start-ups that is on the cusp of hitting the big time with their new wrist-worn, gesture controlled wearable, Reemo.
Rather than using a smartphone to control your smart home devices, Reemo puts control of all your home automation products on your wrist. Simple gestures such as pointing and waving allow you to control anything connected to it via the network. Playtabase say that the Reemo device was originally conceived to help the elderly control their appliances around the home.
The Reemo comes with a set of small checker-sized air receivers that you can stick on any object you want to use with the bracelet. These air receivers pick up signals from your wristband and the smart plug to interpret your gestures.