QBee, from Taiwan-based company Askey, is an all-inclusive connected home package that offers both a central, connected media hub alongside a sensor-packed camera and numerous smart switches. It’s capable of everything from remotely switching on an appliance to monitoring the temperature and light levels in your living room.
Smart, connected homes are an increasingly important area of consumer electronics, with everyone from Google to D-Link getting in on the action. Askey’s take on the market consists of three versatile components tied together by the company’s app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
At the heart of the system is the Gateway – an 802.11ac wireless-equipped Android-powered hard drive for storing and accessing media files and apps. As it’s built on Android (version 4.4 KitKat to be precise), users can easily jump into their favorite media apps such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, providing access to a wide range of content past their personal media library. Control is handled via a dedicated Bluetooth 4.0 remote, and there’s a Personal Cloud feature included, which allows remote access to files stored on the drive.
Alongside the Gateway sits an indoor 720p/30fps camera with night vision, designed to measure and detect movement, light and noise levels, as well as both humidity and temperature. It features a hinged design and understated aesthetics, and offers two-way audio, making it a good fit as a baby monitor. Like the Gateway, it features 802.11ac wireless.
The last piece of the QBee puzzle comes in the form of an energy control Switch. Like the Gateway and Multi-Sensor Camera, the Switches are controlled via the QBee app, providing both energy consumption data, as well as the ability to remotely switch connected electrical devices off and on. Up to 100 Switches can be used in a single installation, making it a viable option for most people’s homes, and possibly even a means for small businesses to monitor and minimize their energy consumption.
While Askey has yet to provide detailed pricing information for the QBee Connected Home solution, it plans to launch the new range in Q3 2015, with package prices ranging from US$300-500 depending upon hardware selection.
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