Will Home Automation Controls Ever Be Fully Digital?


At any given time, you can unlock your phone and scroll through pages and pages of apps. Those apps probably have pretty seamless interfaces, and offer a robust and detailed user experience. Some of those apps are even connected to your home automation. But, how easy are they to use, really, when you are considering the convenience of automation? The whole point of automation is that it is quick and easy in its response. So, if you don’t have voice controlled commands, and rely solely on digital controllers, are you missing out on ease-of-use?

Imagine this situation: you’re jamming to some tunes using your home automation, when you get a call on your smartphone. To turn the music down or off, you’d have to unlock your phone, open the app, and find the correct controls. By now, you’ve certainly missed the call. What if, instead, you had a small physical controller that allowed you to make simple commands things like your music and lights?

That is the idea behind the Nuimo, from Senic. Like many up and coming devices, this product used a Kickstarter campaign to get backers and to generate some early adopters. This small, chunky, disc shaped object is a universal, physical remote for your home automation services.

Here are the things I’m going to be looking for to decide if this little device is awesome, or a dud:

Battery life. The whole point of home automation is to not be tied down to anything. If this device is something that needs to be charged constantly, it will be useless. If this is supposed to be the answer to delays in digital controls, then it needs to be on hand, within reach, all the time; not plugged into the wall in the other room.

Precision. This is the most obviously make-or-break part of a product like this. The Nuimo boasts that you can use taps, swipes, and dial turns to easily control lights, locks, music, and more. If it reads my swipe as a tap, or my double tap as a single tap, it will result in the wrong command being followed. Instead of skipping a song, I may put it on repeat; instead of turning the lights off, I may unlock the doors.

Cost. Those that backed the campaign, or pre order the product, are looking at a price tag of around $160. When it comes to full market, it is more likely to sell for about $200. That seems pretty steep to me for what basically equates to a universal remote. I’ll be watching to see what they do with this price, and what features they push or add to make the price worth it.

Something else worth noting about this little device is that it aims to pack a big punch when it comes to using computer-based creative programs also. Something to keep an eye on for sure.

I’m not completely sold on fully digital controllers, so I’m excited to see this product get some reviews from those that try it out.

Photo by: Senic

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Jeff is a tinkerer. He loves gadgets, but usually waits until the reviews are out before buying something. He loves the DIY projects, and loves help setting things up too. Some of his favorite products and services may not be the most well known, but he loves his custom solution.