Being able to control your home's lights from your phone can be useful. Lights can be switched on or off from your bed, for example, or set to come on when you arrive home. Now, Switchmate is offering this functionality without the need for new fittings and wiring like, say, the WeMo Light Switch.
"Smart products are supposed to make our lives simpler, but their set-up alone is often needlessly complicated," says Switchmate founder Daniel Peng. "And for those of us who don't own property, those installation processes aren't just complicated, they're impossible."
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Peng says that Switchmate aims to provide users with the convenience of a connected home without the hassle of a complicated installation process. The device is a cover that snaps onto an existing light switch magnetically. It is compatible with either US toggle or rocker switches and contains a motor that will flick the switch when activated.
Connected lightbulbs like the Philips Hue and Emberlight can offer a similar, simple means of achieving smart lighting functionality. They are, however, more expensive than standard bulbs and ultimately will still need to be replaced.
Once a Switchmate has been placed onto a light switch, users can tap the device to switch the light on or off, or they can control it using a companion Android or iOS app on their smartphone. Lights can be controlled without having to move over to the switch, can be scheduled to come on and off when users are on holiday and to come on when users are detected arriving home.
The device connects to the app via Bluetooth within a line of sight range of 150 ft (45 m), meaning users must be nearby in order to control the device, schedule it to switch lights on or off at certain times or change its settings. An optional Logitech Harmony Hub can also be added that allows users to control the device from anywhere, with the company hoping to develop their own hub in the future.
Switchmate is coming to the end of a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. At the time of writing, users can pledge from US$45 to receive a Switchmate device. Assuming all goes to plan with the campaign and roll-out, the devices are expected to start being shipped from December of this year.
The video below provides an introduction to Switchmate.