A new term is born: “Smart home”
These days, as digital technology continues to wow, awe, then best itself—each time more quickly than the last—our emerging tech/english-pidgin language confounds and compounds itself trying to contain and colloquialize increasingly complex concepts for convenient communication. Technological revolutions force the hand of language’s evolution, and new words and phrases seem to pop up almost everyday. One of the stickier of recent candidates for inclusion in our fickle lexicon is “smart home.” Borrowing form from the wildly successful “smartphone”; “smart home” is also intentionally non-specific. It refers not to a specific product or specification set, but rather ushers in a time of change and progress for the better. “Smart home” like “smartphone” is a placeholder of what’s to come.
I first encountered the term earlier this year on a freeway through outer Sacramento County’s vast empire of nearly 100 zillion upgrade-ready ranch homes on a billboard asking me if I lived in a smart home or a dumb home. I lol’d.
But, since my phone has now nearly peaked at the point of eschewing its “smart” modifier and demanding something more like “emperor genius digi-god,” I look forward to efforts and attentions turning homeward. After all, our homes are long overdue for a technological upgrade revolution. And with everyone’s favorite too-damn-useful-to-despise-know-it-all Google suddenly taking a multi-billion dollar interest in home hardware, it’s clear that this Smart Home Revolution is well underway. And I just noticed that Verizon now has a snazzy new “Smart Home” section with a snazzy array of might-be-smart contenders: http://www.verizonwireless.com/smart-home
Today’s discussion, however, is about a crowdfunded product project spearheaded by a man with a commitment to real quality and the “it works” feature. Which is, obviously, the most important feature. I’ve never understood why it is so often overlooked.
The Link-U Hybrid SmartCam
Unlike a webcam, Link-U doesn’t require a computer. it connects directly with your smartphone or tablet. Unlike an IP Camera, Link-U requires no physical installation and minimal setup. Link-U’s generous features list declares that it is in a category all its own. So far, I am unable to find any other products on the market right now as versatile, reliable, and feature rich as the link-U SmartCam. There are similar products, yes, but Link-U invariably finds a way to best them. See for yourself:
* Quick & Easy “Connect & Broadcast” setup and installation
* 1080p30 HD video output quality (on par with the GoPro Hero3)
* Sound & Motion Triggered Alert and Auto-record
* LED Infrared Nightvision
* Built in mic and speaker enabling 2-way communication with your mobile device
Intelligent and Versatile automatic Internet connection and power selection (Patent pending)
* No WIFI or Ethernet? – 3G, 4G, as well as LAN connectivity (link-U intelligently and automatically chooses based on whatever signal is available)
* No electricity? – 8-hour internal battery
* No 3G or 4G cellular network? Video is stored on an internal SD card and can be reviewed later (up to 32 GB. Not included.)
Why does Link-U / Smart Home integration matter?
If the idea of getting all your home appliances to sync up and sing happy birthday to you once a year or whatever (patent pending. j/k.), and that all this Smart Home integration sounds like nothing more than a hopelessly nerdy waste of money, consider this: earlier this year, Google bought Nest—a 3-year-old home appliance hardware company with 2 products (3 if you count their appliance interfacing language) for $3.2 billion in cash. To some, this came as a surprise, because Google is in the information storage and retrieval business—which seems about as many light years away from Home Depot’s home appliance hardware section as you can get. But I think that we can all agree that Google is a pretty smart organization—so they must be on to something. And Link-U’s development team is clearly on to it, too.
We were able to speak with Founder Andy Benatti from the Link-U development team about how Link-U’s integrates with other home appliances and how Link-U can make your smart home a lot smarter:
- Tell me about how Link-U interfaces with other smart products. What are some good use cases?
At Link Union, we decided to operate exclusively on the new Bluetooth Smart interface. It’s perfect for smart home devices: from signal transmission quality and range to compactness and being light weight, it has extremely low requirements for power consumption. Many new Smart Home devices operating with this technology can operate with a life-long battery, typically for years without requiring any external power connection. If power goes out, they will still run. With link-U’s hybrid technology, the hub will also stay running on its 8-hour backup battery — so you’ll always have access to your smart home devices.
The best uses for our link-U Hub interface are the following:
- Active Devices:
- Wall plugs (on/off)
- Wall switches (on/off, dimmers)
- Bulb switches
- Passive Devices:
- Window sensors
- Motion sensors
- Gas/CO2 detectors
- Smoke Detectors
Please note that link-U can control these devices locally or remotely.
- Where are the parts manufactured? Where will it be assembled?
Parts are assembled mainly in Taiwan, with the highest international quality standard, by a long time hardware expertise.
- Any interesting Wow-bits about the quality of the constituent parts or the durability of the design?
We are the only smartcam manufacturer with main body parts in aluminum, and the design is very elegant – an instant classic.