Smart home. Redefined.
Oomi is a smart home hub and sensor network that makes some unconventional choices. It’s not centered on smartphones as the main way to control smart home devices (though iOS and Android apps are available). It comes with a standalone, tablet-style remote control that includes physical buttons alongside the touchscreen.
It provides cloud backup and analytics as an optional feature instead of requiring that user data leave the home. And despite bucking all these trends—or maybe because of it—Oomi’s vision of the smart home is cohesive to an extent that few, if any, competitors have yet matched.
The control pad, Oomi Touch, a throwback to older home automation systems looks like an iPad mini with a remote control welded to one end. Every gadget added to the Oomi network gets its own widget on the homescreen, so controls and toggles for the entire home can be tapped at once. The physical buttons are geared toward controlling media devices, where dedicated arrow keys and play/pause buttons are especially welcome.
Adding devices to the Oomi network is as easy as tapping the remote against them using NFC, Oomi Touch will instantly recognize the new device, make a connection and configure its widget.
At the center of every Oomi setup is the cube-shaped hub, which is packed with environmental sensors and includes a camera and microphone to enable several home-security features. Optional peripherals include colorful LED lightbulbs, smart outlets, multi-function sensor nodes, and an HDMI streaming stick that attaches to a TV (like a Roku or Chromecast). Every new device joins a Z-Wave mesh network, which means each gadget extends the range of the network by passing messages along to its neighbors.
It’s striking how many categories of devices Oomi is bundling into this one system. Outlets, sensors, streaming sticks—we’ve seen many companies tackle each of those individually. For Oomi to try to out-compete all of them simultaneously, and integrate them into a single cohesive system, is an ambitious and risky move. It’s hard enough for most startups to execute on a single product well, much less four or five separate products at once.
Some of that risk may be mitigated by the system’s openness, as Oomi will be compatible with most other smart devices that communicate over Z-Wave or Wi-Fi. There’s also appeal in the fact that Oomi isn’t cloud-reliant. Anonymous cloud data processing is offered as a way to improve the analytics and learning behaviors of the Oomi system, but commands are processed locally by software in the hub. So if a user opts out of cloud services (or if the home’s Internet connection drops out every now and then) all of the basic control and communication between devices will continue as normal.
In the end, Oomi’s success will depend on how well the execution matches the vision. Those willing to buy into the dream can pre-order Oomi at Indiegogothrough June 20 and can expect to receive their devices in October.
Check out the video below to learn more.
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