What I’ve Got: Smart Home Edition

Unifying traits

  • Ease of installation: Lockitron fits over many existing locks, and Hue fits into standard light sockets
  • Hackability: Like many similar products, Lockitron and Hue promise APIs, making the products worth potentially far more than their current applications. Future uses are limited only by hackers’ imaginations
  • Future vision: Smart home products offer a “cool” factor by putting their owners on the cutting edge of technological developments, and expand’s one’s vision of how recent technological developments can change seemingly static portions of one’s lifestyle

Lockitron

Lockitron is a door lock that ties into ones smartphone, allowing a homeowner to be notified when people knock on or enter their door, share access with family members and friends without the hassle of giving them a key, and more. An early example of the wave of smart home products just now hitting the market, Lockitron recently returned after several years of radio silence with a revamped kit. Noting the differences between their original effort and their new product shows a stark desirability contrast: While the original NFC-enabled deadbolt achieved hype amongst small groups of hackers, the new kit has crowdfunded over $2 million.

  • Funding strategy: Lockitron 2 used a homegrown crowdfunding solution to offer discounts and exclusives for early adopters. This strategy was perhaps impossible before the rise of Kickstarter, but creating a rush, an early discount, and a bond between buyers and the company helped Apigy Inc. succeed this time around

 

Philips Hue

Hue is an colored LED lightbulb which can be controlled from one’s phone or from the web. Using these interfaces, one can change the color and brightness of each individual bulb.

  • Environmental: Hue is an LED bulb, which is cooler, saves energy, and lasts longer. Many prefer them despite higher costs
  • Exclusivity: Hue lightbulbs are only available from the Apple Store, which sets them apart from standard light bulbs and ties them to a desirable brand known for quality
  • Supposed supply problems: Hue light bulbs were very difficult to find online, yet if one called physical stores they could be found easily
  • Rising tide: Philips took market signals from a hugely successful Kickstarter project, the LIFX bulb, and used its distribution and expertise to beat the LIFX to market. While not advertising imaginative API features itself, the Hue took advantage of LIFX’s pitch, which included lightbulbs that flashed blue when the user had new Twitter content
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