Revolv $299 Home Automation Device Has 7 Radios, $2.7M Funding
Z-Wave, Insteon, Wi-Fi are first of 7 radios activated on Revolv home automation device, now available for preorder for $299. Techstar startup has $2.7M backing with second round of financing in the works.
Julie Jacobson · August 7, 2013
Since there’s no such thing as a home automation standard – and we don’t expect to see one for a long time – newcomer Revolv is packing seven different radios and 10 protocols in its new control system, which is available today for preorder for $299.
The Internet-of-Things product is expected to ship later in 2013.
Revolv got some early buzz last month when it released a video (below) showing how Google Glass can control a smart home via Revolv technology. Before that, the company formerly known as Mobiplug enjoyed some publicity as a TechStar incubator graduate and recipient of $2.7 million in Series A funding led by Foundry Group in September 2012.
Co-founder Mike Soucie tells us a new round of funding is in the works.
The heart of Revolv is a home automation hub, but the solution also includes a user interface (iOS for starters) and a cloud-enabled back-end.
The hub reportedly includes seven radios and 10 protocols, but Soucie says only three will be active at launch: Wi-Fi, Z-Wave and Insteon.
Soucie says Revolv couldn’t overlook the sheer number of Insteon devices in the market.
See Revolv at CEDIA 2013
Revolv isn’t saying yet why they’re exhibiting at CEDIA Expo, other than to say the company is working on some potential products for the custom installation channel.
“Reliability has improved over the years,” he says. “We think it’s low-hanging fruit because there are so many products and it’s so easy to implement.”
Soucie says ZigBee is in the hub but wouldn’t comment on the other three radios packed in there.
He also wouldn’t say much about the products that would work with Revolv – just Sonos, Yale and Kwikset locks, plus Insteon devices, and “we’re in discussions with Belkin [Wemo] and Philips Hue.”
What Soucie did say is that Revolv isn’t about integrating a bunch of products together willy nilly: “We’re positioned as a premium experience. Rather than working with everything off the shelf, we’re working with partners.”
He adds that Revolv will announce an open API and developer program in the future.
So it sounds like Smartthings, No? That much-hyped Internet-connected puck with Z-Wave inside and an open API?
Not really, says Soucie, noting that Revolv uses Wi-Fi and Smartthings is wired. Plus, you’ve got all of those other (unnamed) radios in Revolv.
Finally, Revolv also has a nifty way of joining the home network, and enrolling certain devices into the system.
Here’s how Soucie describes it:
FlashLink is our proprietary method to get your Revolv Hub to join your local Wi-Fi network. Here is how it works:
Once you plug-in the Hub and launch the Revolv App for the first time, the App pulls your SSID network name (since your iPhone is already on the local Wi-Fi). Then the App prompts you for your network password.
Once entered, you’re instructed to hold the iPhone’s camera flash about 6 inches away from the center of the Hub. Tap “next” and your camera’s LED flash begins blinking, which is actually transmitting your local Wi-Fi credentials to the Hub via an optical transceiver in the Hub. Within 20-30 seconds, the Hub has received your SSID and password and has now joined your local Wi-Fi network (just like a laptop).
Once on the network, the Hub will automatically discover some connected home devices you already have installed (or joined) to your network (like Sonos), and an icon will appear in the Revolv App, ready for you to control that device. Other devices can be added by simple push-button pairing of the device to the App and Hub.
As for the software features, users can program the system with their own scenes—or “actions” in Revolv parlance – such as GOODNIGHT.
These actions can be triggered on demand or automatically based on geolocation (Revolv calls it Geosense), time or sensor activity. (The device itself does not have a built-in sensor a la Canary or WigWag, for example.)
The Geosense feature will be limited at launch, indicating only if a user is home or away. It won’t, for example, start ramping up the thermostat when someone is on the way home. Ultimately, though, that’s the plan.
These and other Revolv services happen in the cloud, but there is no recurring service fee, Soucie says.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at email@example.com
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