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CES 2018: 10 New Smart Home & IoT Devices + Their Prospects for Success

CES 2018 Innovation Awards include usual smart-home winners like Nest, Ring and Arlo, but also interesting newbies boasting AI, security, home automation, lighting control and more. Will they make it?

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Flic Hub - home control with smart buttons

Their Words

The Flic Hub allows users to control their environment with small and wireless physical buttons. One hub can receive commands from 64(!) buttons simultaneously without delay. It can control everything - e.g., IR-based HiFi equipment, music streaming, smart lights, and complex workflows.

My Words

I'm totally about the single-purpose button that lets users place a little nub anywhere, and program it to perform a few different feats based on press, press-and-hold, double-top and other interations. So I've always liked Flic, which kind of pioneered this approach to control but suffered from have-to-keep-the-phone-on-itis. The phone app always had to run in the background to make the Bluetooth-enabled Flic buttons useful.

So the new Flic Hub is just an extension of the buttons, with the company working "backwards." Typically you make the hub, then the accessory devices, but in this case the buttons are what made Flic unique in the first place. The company claims to have shipped 200,000 buttons globally. Now those buttons have a dedicated Wi-Fi hub and cloud service that eliminates the need for an always-on smart-phone app. There's an IR transmitter option so the hub can be used to control IR devices like TVs and air conditioners.

Do I want it? If I were a Flic user (and I should be, because I'm such a fan), then the hub would be an obviously worthwhile accessory. The question is: Will the hub compel me to be a Flic button user?

Will it make it? This is a tough one. I so totally believe in the small-button interface. This concept is great. It all hinges on the ease of programming and the channels to market. I could see the platform being sold through professional channels, notably security dealers. Embed the technology in security panels, make the buttons easy to program, and you're on to something. Flic has a following. The Hub raised $470,00 on a Kickstarter campaign that ended mid-August, 2017. I feel good about this, as long as it's good and they can get the funding. This is the first time in a few years Flic isn't exhibiting at CES.

Flic

CES 2018 Booth: Not exhibiting

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