Gadgets

Neurio turns every appliance in your house ‘smart’ with just one device

Above: Neurio's founding team

Image Credit: Neurio
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What if your washing machine could remind you to put your clothes in the dryer, or music started to play in your bathroom as soon as you started running a bath?

Neurio aims to make this a reality. The device makes ordinary home appliances “smart,” so they can gather data about your energy usage, notify you about timely information, and adapts to your personal patterns.

Energy Aware, the company behind Neurio, has surpassed its fundraising goal on Kickstarter in just 10 days, attracting money from over 800 backers interested in its “home intelligence” technology. Neurio costs around $140 .

Neurio monitors electricity through a WiFi power sensor that connects to the breaker panel in your home. This means it can figure out what your appliances are up to, without the need to put sensors on every device.

The data is processed in the cloud and delivered to home owners who can track and manage it using an app.

Cofounder and CEO Janice Cheam said Neurio aims to create a home that learns from its inhabitants to respond to its needs. Like Carson the butler in Downton Abbey.

“More and more appliances are connecting to the net, but we still interact with them one at a time through switches and buttons,” Cheam said. “With Neurio, appliances can learn about the home, figuring out what other devices are doing and what the user is up to. This added intelligence is how your home learns to adjust to your needs.”

This means that regular appliances can participate in the smart home.

The Internet of Things is one of the hottest trends of the year, one that is expected to stimulate significant economic growth and promote energy efficiency.

Thanks to a revival of the maker movement, advancements in hardware development, cloud and mobile technology, and crowdfunding platforms, the market is flooded with cool devices that turn up the heat when you get home, tells you if your aging parent is taking his medicine from afar, lets you remotely cast your house in red light,  or sends an alarm if there is a security threat. 

Large corporations like AT&T, Verizon, Microsoft, Vivint, Philips, and Comcast sell home automation devices and systems, as do smaller startups like Nest, Canary, Ube, and Zonoff.

The explosion of products, however, has its downsides. The market is fragmented and this presents a problem for consumers. People don’t want to switch out all of their appliances for new smart ones, nor do they want to monitor multiple, different sensors.

Neurio’s approach takes care of both of those concerns — a single device, and your home can be connected.

The first accompanying app to go along with Neurio is called Wattson, and the company said beta users have saved up to 44% off their energy bills by identifying what they should turn off or unplug.

Neurio also has an open API, so developers can build on the platform and integrate third party systems. It is integrated with SmartThings and IFTTT, so people can control other connected devices like Nest, Philips HUE, and Belkin’s WeMo.

Energy Aware was founded in 2005 by students at the University of British Columbia. It has built products for resource conservation for years, helping utility companies engage with their customers. The team decided to raise money for their consumer device on Kickstarter, and make its products available to the public at a reasonable price point.

The company is based on Vancouver.

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