CES 2015 Home Automation

Switchmate Does Smart Lighting Without Rewiring

switchmateFor years the smart home space has been dominated by solutions that require installing new devices into your house that often times require rewiring. While that works for many homeowners, it’s not always an option for renters or those who simply aren’t comfortable dealing with home wiring. That’s where Switchmate comes in with their smart lighting solution.

Switchmate’s product, also called Switchmate, is a retrofit solution that enables anyone to bring smart control to their light switches. The device attaches to the front of your light switch magnetically, so you don’t even need to get your screwdrivers out to install it. Just snap it over the switch, and setup the switch via their smart phone app.

Switchmate communicates via Bluetooth low energy to your phone whenever it is in range. Just having the ability to turn lights on and off from your phone barely scratches the surface of a smart lighting solution though. With that they’ve enabled the app to set schedules for the lights. Those schedules are then stored within the Switchmate devices, so that when your phone is out of range (for example, when you’re not home) the lights will still turn on and off.

Sometime after the Switchmate’s initial release this summer they will also sell a Wi-Fi bridge. This will enable you to control your lights even when you’re away from home.

Scheduling and remote control are required features in any smart lighting solution, but even more important is that the physical interaction remain simple and natural. This is an area where many connected light control products, like the WeMo switch, fall down. Switchmate keeps the physical control simple. To turn the light on you tap the top of the button panel, and to turn it off you tap the bottom. It sounds obvious, but unfortunately there are many solutions out there that bungle this feature. We really liked the manual control on the Switchmate.

For more information, and to signup for their mailing list, go to the Switchmate website.

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About the author

Josh Pollard

Josh has been writing software since his parents brought home their first computer. His love for gadgets and technology eventually spurred a passion for home theater technology. After starting the DMZ, he received Microsoft’s MVP award for Windows Media Center. Even though the beloved home theater PC platform is all but dead he continues to tinker with consumer entertainment technology. He’s a life-long gamer and DIY smart home enthusiast. He co-hosts the Entertainment 2.0 podcast with Richard Gunther and the DMZ’s gaming podcast, Story Players, with Joe DeStazio.