The OmniFob is designed to be the last fob you'll ever need. A universal remote of sorts for your keychain. This teachable, versatile device is more than just a key-tracker that can open your garage door or send an SOS, it can integrate with your Smart Home systems and even start and lock your car.
Many of us are already employing aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT) or Machine to Machine (M2M) networking in our daily lives, from fitness monitors that update our health stats to making sure the jacuzzi is hot and bubbling by the time we get home. This kind of interconnectivity is everywhere, and it's growing. One of the problems with all this interconnected functionality, though, is that it usually requires separate smartphone apps or smart controllers for each application.
The situation can get messy quickly, which is why there's a market for voice assistants and smart buttons like Flic and Logitech's Pop to bring it all – or at least some of it – under one umbrella. But smart buttons are not perfect, while some are portable, they generally only perform a handful of tasks. And voice assistants aren't always practical when you're out and about.
There are also a number of Smart Home aggregator platforms like Samsung's SmartThings, Yonomi and Apple's HomeKit, which bring dozens of Smart Home devices and systems into one, app-powered ecosystem. To use them though, you still have to dig your phone out, find and launch the app and then choose the desired function. This is still amazingly cool, but for some common tasks, it really could be easier.
This is where the OmniFob comes in. Conceived by the team behind the successfully crowdfunded Keyport modular multi-tool and key-fob, the OmniFob bridges the gap between the smart button and aggregator app concepts. OmniFob works directly with NEXX Garage, Chipolo (tracking/SOS) and MoboKey (which gives it control of your car) and integrates with a number of IoT and Smart Home systems. It also talks to the aforementioned aggregators like Samsung SmartThings and Yonomi.
Perhaps the most exciting application on OmniFob's Kickstarter campaign page is the ability to open, lock, start and stop your car using your OmniFob. But hold your horses, because this – like much of the OmniFob's functionality – requires 3rd party hardware and connectivity. In this instance, it needs a kit from MoboKey, involving an electrical harness, relays and an antenna (starting at US$70).
Before everyone gets too excited it's important to remember that the OmniFob is an intermediary between your IoT devices and services. It's like a universal remote that means you can stick most of your other IoT remote-apps into a virtual drawer, and puts that IoT functionality at your fingertips in a handy, compact, very clever little device.
So what's so clever about it? Well, the OmniFob can be taught hundreds of IoT tasks, and all of them can be activated with one hand. And it's not just single tasks. With one specific click or sequence of clicks (and even shakes), a predetermined set of instructions can be performed at once, like, dimming the lights, turning on the stereo and lighting the fireplace when your date arrives. Aggregator apps call these grouped instructions scenes (Samsung SmartThings) or routines (Yonomi). If you're familiar with online app linking services like IFTTT (If This Then That) or Zapier, then this is like a physical version of these.
Out of the box, before you've hooked up your Smart Home integrations, the OmniFob is still a handy tool (albeit not a cheap one at the expected $129 retail price). It's a Bluetooth locator (powered by Chipolo), a remote shutter-button for those selfie moments, a panic button (sending a preset message and your GPS coordinates to designated recipients), a mini flashlight and it all works with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant.
The OmniFob can sit neatly on your keychain or clip to your jacket, and is compatible with Keyport 's Anywhere Pocket Clip, Keyport Slide 3.0, and Keyport Pivot, but it's "super power" is definitely the ability to bring so much of your connected IoT devices and systems into one, thumb-sized, rechargeable fob (with up to a fortnight's battery life).
Keyport refers to the OmniFob as a life-remote and claims "one fob to rule them all." When it's used to its fullest abilities, that seems a pretty fair description, as long as you have IoT devices or ecosystems to connect it to.
Pledges over on Kickstarter start at $91, which comes with Lifetime Premium Access (unlimited connections with no annual fee), the OmniFob Smart Remote Module and the Keyport Anywhere Pocket Clip. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to begin in February 2020.
Check out the promo video below.
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