4HomeMedia, a Sunnyvale start-up, is the latest company wanting to let people control every electronic gadget and system in their home remotely.
It is an elusive business, because some companies have tried it, and most have failed.
4HomeMedia apparently thinks it has better chances. It will demonstrate its home-controlling technology at the CES conference next week. It said its product, the ControlPoint, has won the “Best of Innovations” award in the Integrated Home Systems category for this year’s CES, besting more than one hundred applicants.
There is nothing at the company’s Web site, and VentureBeat hasn’t talked with the just-launched company. But its statements and other reports say its server can create a controlling interface remotely via mobile phone, PC, Mac, TV or gaming system. So you can call in with your phone and order your DVR to record a show, for example. The service, to launch Jan. 8, will cost less than $200. A box plugs into a broadband router that creates a wireless network.
London’s Pond Ventures invested $2.85 million last year.
Various efforts have failed in the past. At least two other companies are trying something similar. iControl, which launched at DEMO two years ago, seeks to give users control over the home via a web-based system, though we’re not certain how well it has done. Intel invested, but hedged its bet by investing in another home control system, Zensys. Palo Alto’s iControl gives you mounted cameras and motion sensors for things like doors and windows, giving a “big brother” reputation. It raised $5 million in a first round of funding from Intel and Charles River Ventures. Menlo Park’s Zensys, like 4HomeMedia, appears to give more attention to controlling electronics devices and appliances. The company has raised at least $41 million, including from Cisco and Bessemer.