Internet of Things (IoT) products are seemingly everywhere right now; big box home stores have whole sections devoted to them. But there are some significant barriers to entry holding back mass adoption, like cost and perceived complexity.
We are still probably a couple years away from prices dropping into a range where most consumers will consider them, but we will be reviewing a number of these products over the coming months to let you know what we think is the best stuff out there right now.
We haven’t had a chance to try out the Nyrius Smart Outlet yet to tell you whether it falls into that category, but they are offering a cheaper and simpler option than the major players in the market right now with this Kickstarter project. They are planning to ship the product in May, so unlike most Kickstarter projects, you shouldn’t be waiting too long for your product. And Nyrius have a number of smart home and related products already available for purchase through their website, so they seem like a safe bet to deliver on their project.
The Smart Outlet relies solely on Bluetooth rather than Wi-Fi like most competitors, which has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it means you pair easily through the app to control the outlet and there’s no need for a separate hub to control everything. The downsides are that you must be in range of the outlet (33 feet) for most functionality and you won’t be able to use some of the advanced options made possible by a persistent Wi-Fi connection like IFTTT integration.
So taking a look at what the Smart Outlet can do, the most basic feature is the ability to switch whatever is plugged into it on or off directly from the app. Now if you have something that is particularly hard to reach to turn off or on this could be useful, but for the most part this isn’t the big selling point.
The more compelling functionality is the ability to set a schedule for the outlet to turn on and off, which is not dependent on your being within range of the outlet, and the ability to instruct the outlet to turn on or off based on your presence in the room.
That last feature in particular is a big deal, as current IoT products with equivalent capabilities via motion sensing will cost you about twice as much as the Smart Outlet. Just be aware that this naturally requires that you have your smartphone on you for it to work. You can connect up to seven Smart Outlets to an Android device, which is more than enough to cover relevant appliances or lights for most homes.
Again, we haven’t had a chance to test out the the Smart Outlet yet, but it does offer some interesting features to give IoT a try. And at $40 we wouldn’t call it cheap, but it is one of the least expensive ways to get into the smart home game.