Connected homes have become a normal part of our lives, but they can be more frustrating than helpful. This is because not all of our devices work together. Unless you go out of your way, every item you add to your home uses a different app and runs on a different platform. You might get lucky and have access to them through a service like Alexa or Google Assistant, but that's not guaranteed. Luckily, Homey is here to help literally bridge that gap.
Homey is the one-stop-shop for all your smart home needs. With this system, you can control all your devices from one central place, no matter where in the world you are. Homey also allows you to automate just about anything with its powerful Flow feature. Flows are simple to create and use and allow you to automate your entire home with ease.
This is all accomplished with a small spherical device that looks like it's on wheels (though it's not). It features a colored LED ring around its center to indicate power and activity. This unassuming little device is part of a system that is able to take all of the many connected products on various platforms and give you a single entry point for all of them.
If you have a connected home, you know that the disconnected platforms make things incredibly difficult. You're incapable of combining a light bulb from one company with a speaker from another into a single routine - everything has to be in one system. Homey bridges the gap between these different platforms, allowing you to combine devices into a single scene.
Take, for example, wanting to trigger a Monster Smart Illuminessence Prism to change to green and an Amazon Echo to play a particular sound every time someone subscribes to your Twitch channel. For the Monster Prism, you would have to use the Razer Chroma platform and the Echo speaker would require an Alexa integration. But assuming there are connectors for both platforms and an app for Twitch, you would be able to create a single routine to trigger everything at once.
The Homey App Store also provides access to a wide range of apps that can be installed on your device, making it even more versatile and customizable. There are tons of apps at your disposal, and you can install those applications similarly to how you install apps on your smartphone. With over 750 apps available, finding the app to pair with the brand of your devices shouldn't be a problem.
Not only that, but you can also find apps for other familiar services like Twitter and Discord. So, this experience can be broader than one would imagine initially. These applications pair with your devices for the purpose of teaching Homey how to control your device. Once your Homey understands, set up those Flow Cards for easy access to your preferences.
Whether you're looking to control your lights, thermostat, or any other devices, Homey has you covered! To learn more about the product or get one for yourself, check out the company's website.
Interview by Marlo Anderson of The Tech Ranch.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
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Oh My, it doesn't look like a vacuum cleaner. Well, it kind of does look like a vacuum cleaner. But it's not, is it? It does control your vacuum cleaner?
Oh it does.
Among many other devices. All right, who am I talking to?
Hi. I'm Emile. I'm the founder of a company Athom and we make a product Homey. And what you're seeing here is Homey Bridge.
It's our new product. We've been around for seven years in Europe. We are one of the largest Smart Home Hubs there. But now we're finally coming to the US. And we're launching in February.
Okay. So, it looks cool.
Thanks. We make sure of that. Yeah
I mean, you know that because I'm a geek, you know. I would be looking at this just because it looks cool. But tell me the functionality here. So what is it gonna do in my home?
Alright, so our mission is to make smart homes easy and fun for everyone. And what Homey does, is it connects all your devices from all the different brands that usually don't talk together. But we connect them in one single app that's very beautiful, that really easy to use. And then you can control them from the app, you can automate your entire home. It's very easy. Just drag and drop some blocks. Like when the last person leaves home, then turns off everything. And then homey controls all your devices. Turn off your television using infrared, for example. It turns off your vacuum cleaner, if you need that. Turn off all your lights dependent on like Ikea lights, Philips Hue no matter the brand, it controls them.
So as you can imagine, my house is exactly what you talked about. I have an app for my furnace, I have an app for my lights. And a lot of times, I'll use IFTTT. You know "If This Then That". So if I leave my house, then my lights turn off, for example, if my GPS
Changes on my phone, for example. But I have to go through all of this. On every one of these. I mean-
It's a lot of work.
It really is. It's just a lot of work, programming all this stuff. And then you know if I need to do something with them again. So this is interesting. It really is when you think about it, because as our homes become, and businesses become more connected, because you use all these different apps and whatever to connect stuff. So and then in speaking of Philips Hue. So I like Philips Hue but I don't like the router piece that they use to connect to their browser man.
Yeah, I forget what it was called. Yeah.
Homey Bridge could replace that.
Yeah, it could. So because Homey works in the cloud basically.
You will need our product Homey Bridge if you only have cloud devices. So that's Sonos, Netatmo, or Philips Hue Bridge.
But if you don't want any more bridges, you could connect the Philips Hue lights directly to Homey because they use Zigbee. And Homey Bridge has Zigbee inside, but also Z-Wave, Infrared, Bluetooth Low Energy and 433MHz, which is a very dedicated protocol, but not so common in the US.
Okay, so then I'm assuming you have an app that I can talk to this and
That can connect all my devices. Does it automatically, let's say I have an AI robot for a vacuum cleaner? Does it actually look at the app I have on my phone and then automatically connect? Or how does that work in the connection process?
Oh it's very easy. You just type in the brands, and then you get search results.
So there are a lot of manufacturers out there creating apps for Homey. It's similar to them creating an app for iOS.
But most of them are also doing it for Homey. Of course, now, we're getting more successful as well. So more brands are jumping on the wagon, and they're doing it as well. So you just type in a brand. And usually you log in with an account or you just have to follow some nice instructions. And then it's done, then you can control it, you can automate it, you can monitor its energy usage as well. So it's very intuitive.
So you said you've been around for seven years in Europe, and this is your first year in the United States?
Okay. Things are going pretty good over here so far.
So far, so good.
Currently, we're in public beta.
And we're launching in February.
The public beta is going absolutely great. People seem to like it. So I'm happy and they're very happy about the price point. It's $69
Ohh great. I'm just gonna ask you that. So ok.
And it's $299 per month for your entire household. So you can invite your, you know, your wife or your kids or even neighbors if you're on holiday.
And that's only 299 per month.
Okay. To control everything that you have. That's pretty impressive. Really impressive.
Yes, and I'm very happy because now this is our first CES where we are actually going to launch in the US. So we've always been very privacy focused. We just want to make a great product that people pay in a fair amount for. We did not sell any data. We don't do ads. That kind of stuff. And the response has been overwhelmingly positive. People really think it's a fair price per day. They really want to pay a little bit of money. So they have this safety feeling like, my data is not being sold.
I mean, we're talking about your home, right?
We think that it should be a safe place.
Yep. Yep. Yep.
I'm really excited to see how it goes after we launch.
Good, good. Yeah, I think $69 and $299 in a month is reasonable. And you know, just the convenience of it alone is significant.
You can't do without it anymore. It's like-
Before there were smartphones, people were like, do you need this and After people got a Homey. They say I'd never don't want to go without this.
Yes. Interesting. Interesting. And I think, again, I don't mean to be throwing Hue under the bus here. I mean, I love Philips Hue. I love it. I think they were you know, and they are trendsetters for this category
They are -
Absolutely. And if you ever talk to anybody in my office, they think I have a fetish for light bulbs, connected light bulbs. It's every week, I have new light bulbs showing up in my office. So you're talking to the guy who understands this life, right. But I think that the bridge for Phillips is actually more than $69. It seems to me that when I purchased it, it was like $149 for the bridge, and some connected lights.
I think they sell starter kits. So okay, but you're getting more and more bridges in your home.
And that's not what people want. They want one bridge to rule them all basically.
100% agree with that. You know, it's very, very frustrating when you have all these multiple devices running all these different things. It makes your life somewhat convenient but you've added another level of sophistication to it as well. It's nice to have something that you can go over things.
Yes. You know some brands don't just, politically, don't want to talk to each other.
You know big tech, of course,
And we're kind of the globe between those brands. So you can just purchase whatever you want. And then usually it works with Homey.
You kind of you the IFTTT for devices is what you are. It is
I would say.
I mean, you can't bridge these things together.
I think it's a nice product. I would say that it is a feature of the entire Homey ecosystem.
But then, of course, I'm very proud of our product. What do we do is much more visual.
Oh, of course. Yes, yeah.
It's much easier. My target is always that my mom should be able to use it. And that's what we want to test on. And so far she's been able to create automations that don't feel like she's doing like nerd stuff. You know. Just human stuff that solves her problems at home.
Okay. Very cool. All right. Where do we find more information?
Just like that?
All right. Appreciate you
Alright, Thank you a lot.
Yeah. Thank you and good luck to you at the CES this year.
TPN CES 2022 coverage is executive produced by Michele Mendez. Technical Directors are Kurt Corless and Adam Barker. Associate producers are Nancy Ertz and Maurice McCoy. Interviews are edited by Jo Mini. Hosts are Marlo Anderson, Todd Cochrane, Scott Ertz, Christopher Jordan, Daniele Mendez, and Allante Sparks. Las Vegas studio provided by HC Productions. Remote studio provided by PLUGHITZ Productions. This has been Tech Podcasts Network Production, copyright 2022.