Have you dreamed of that moment where you point the TV remote at your lights and they just turn off?
That’s what French developer Sevenhugs believes it’s done with a device, simply called “Smart Remote,” that promises to one day control any smart device in your home. After initial setup, you can point the remote at a light, for example, and the screen on the remote changes to show a lightbulb you can tap to turn on or off. Point it at a Sonos player and the screen changes so you can control music.
Point it at your family members and… nothing happens (Sevenhugs says that’s not in the cards either).
The “Smart Remote” is designed to one day control any smart device in your home.
Despite that shortcoming, the device may finally offer the nirvana few technology enthusiasts have actually been able to find. Companies ranging from Comcast to Logi (formerly Logitech) offer customers programmable remotes designed to wrangle the growing army of devices in our homes. We’re expected to spend $100 million on smarthome technology by 2020, according to Juniper Research, more than twice the $43 billion we’re going to fork over this year.
But the downside to buying all these devices is that they’re often confusing and complicated. Sevenhugs’s remote, by comparison, resembles a pill-shaped smartphone, with a screen that lights up with options depending on where you’re pointing it.
The way it works is the remote uses a series of lights, computer smarts and positional sensors to help the Smart Remote create a rough map of your home. You have to train it to know where your devices are, but after that, the point-and-use magic is automated. All that technological wizardry does zap the battery though — it has to be recharged about once a day.
Simon Tchedikian, Sevenhugs CEO, said his company designed the smart remote over the past two years to solve the growing problems associated with connected devices. Today, there are so many apps, websites and “hubs” to manage all these devices that it’s near impossible to keep track. ”
“Until now, there was no solution to all the devices in your home,” he said. Simplifying them, he said, will hopefully have the side benefit of encouraging people to buy even more.
The Smart Remote will cost less than $200 and come with three accessories to either control a light bulb or a plugged in device. Tchedikian said his company has already made it work with popular devices like Sonos speakers and the Nest thermostat and plans to release software that will make it work with many more. For other, older, devices like a TV that doesn’t have Bluetooth wireless technology inside, Sevenhugs is also working on a separate box that will blast old-fashioned infrared signals.
Preorders will begin sometime in the next couple months, and the device will land on store shelves in September.