Awesome Stuff: Smart Plugs
from the plug-away dept
For this week's awesome stuff post, highlighting various crowdfunding projects, we're going to look at three different smartplug projects, all of which connect to smartphones. I recognize that this concept isn't new, and you can find a few existing such products on the market already, but it's interesting to see three different smartplug offerings all hit Kickstarter at around the same time. Apparently something's in the air.
- We'll kick it off with the Zuli Smartplug which is mainly focused on how it can be used for lighting. If you plug a light into a Zuli, you get your basic energy monitoring on your phone, as well as on/off controls and dimming from your phone. It also does some location-based things, like turning on as you enter a room.
- Next up is the Plugaway, which has a lot of similarities to the Zuli. It's also a smartplug that has a smartphone app to control electronics. It also monitors energy usage, lets you turn on and off lights and dim them as well. It includes some scheduling software as well, but doesn't seem to have the same location based stuff. One somewhat different feature with the Plugaway is that they're pushing the fact that their software and hardware is completely open, so others can take it and brand it as their own (they suggest interior designers, building developers or restaurant owners can customize the setup so it's "personalized"). I'm not sure how big that market is, but it's different. Perhaps more interesting is just the fact that they're hoping that developers build on it and share what they've done. So others can write apps and share them, and it can connect to outside services like the ever-popular IFTTT.
- Finally, we've got the Smart Power Strip, which is pretty similar (again) to the other two, but (as you already guessed) comes in the form of a powerstrip, rather than a single plug. Feature-wise, you'll see the same basic things. See your electronics from your smartphone and be able to turn them on or off (including from remote locations, via WiFi in the power strip). Monitor your electricity usage. These guys are also looking to add other smart devices, but those don't appear to be ready yet. The design is definitely a bit more clunky and less modern and sleek than the other two, but that may be personal preference.