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Helping to make homes smarter

Helping to make homes smarter

We’ve certainly come a long way. Over the past decade, technology has developed at a dizzying pace. Products such as the iPad have given metaphorical birth to a new breed of intuitive devices that have become seamless extensions of our everyday lives, from physical activity to basic interaction.

Lately, a stringent focus has been placed on the development of smart devices in our homes – and consequently, our homes are smarter than ever. Never have we had such control over the ways in which our homes react to a multitude of situations and address our ever-changing needs. Perhaps the most intriguing element of these innovative new devices is the way they come to fruition. Unlike (most) products in the past, many of the most creative ones are now being funded by a very surprising source – us!

Developers such as Alima (blog.getalima.com), who are preparing to release a new smart indoor air quality monitor, or the ever popular Nest (nest.com/ca), which is currently available nationwide, funded their products on popular crowdsourcing platforms. Developers with a wide range of ideas (or unique twists on pre-existing concepts) present their ideas via web-sites like Indiegogo (indiegogo.com) and Kickstarter (kickstarter.com), and consumers – like you and me – can “invest” in the idea in exchange for the opportunity to own the product first, before its public release. Believe me when I say it’s big business. In fact, many of the more notable campaigns often far exceed their funding goals.

Here are a few examples of recent creative, smart home products we’ve collectively funded.

Sentri

Sentri (sentri.me) is a new product taking a cue from a host of smart home systems that are designed to monitor various aspects of your life; we’re talking everything from your lights and media to security and temperature. Sentri takes this all a step further, offering all of the above and more in one central product, giving you full control of your entire home – no matter where you are. What really sets it apart is its intelligent air quality monitoring sensors, that allow you to ascertain the purity of your home’s air. This will help you to decide whether it’s time to change your filters, or immediately address a serious issue, like a gas leak. It sends regular alerts, making you aware of everything from unexpected motion that could signal an intrusion to a sudden fluctuation in temperature, which could mean the start of a fire. That’s some serious piece of mind. Over 1,200 backers pledged $391,166 to bring Sentri to life.

Jibo

Everybody is concerned with the security of their home, both while they’re sleeping at night and/or away. Jibo (jibo.com) takes the concept of traditional and high-tech home security systems and blends it with next level artificial intelligence. Jibo is, quite literally, a personal robot that will keep watch over your home, provide necessary alerts and operate smart devices. It’ll also provide conversational responses to voice commands. Heck, it will even read stories to your children. Jibo is looking to become an integral part of not just your daily home routine, but also your family. Does it sound like something that you need in your home? Well, it shattered its funding goals, raising a staggering $3,369,954, so the answer for most consumers was yes.

Sesame

When you leave your house in the morning, you need to ensure that you bring your wallet, your phone and your keys – but a new product is aiming to harmoniously combine your phone and keys. Sesame (candyhouse.co) is a digital lock that simply fits on top of your door’s current deadbolt. It allows you to lock and unlock your door using a simple app. It also allows you the flexibility to easily grant and revoke access to others. Examples of practical applications would be granting a houseguest temporary access, or (if used inside the house) locking certain areas/rooms from visitors or children. At the end of their campaign, almost 7,500 backers pledged over $1.4 million to help bring Sesame to life, and as of June 1, they entered final production.

It’s definitely an interesting time for home-centric technology. Consumers no longer need to wait for large companies to create reactive solutions to day-to-day issues; they need only find developers with ideas they believe in and invest in the development of products. Although it’s not without its issues and challenges, crowdsourcing does alleviate much of the bureaucracy that once existed when attempting to bring a product to the market. These are just three of the thousands of products that have been funded in the past five years. In fact, Kickstarter alone funded 87,000 products in 2014 and raised over $1.7 billion. Crowd-sourcing platforms are here to stay.

John Amardeil is the president of BAM Builder Advertising and Marketing (callbam.net) with an outstanding track record in the marketing and sale of new homes in the GTA. You can read Amardeil’s blog at johnamardeil.com and follow him on Twitter twitter.com/johnamardeil and facebook.com/BAM.Advertising.Marketing.