Environexus’ recent launch of the Oomi home automation system via Indiegogo has proven a great success for the Aussie start-up, which follows on from Oomi’s soft launch at this year’s CES.One hundred per cent funding was achieved within one hour, with the Oomi campaign now having passed US$400,000 and pushing ahead towards the half million milestone.
Chris Hall, Environexus CEO and co-founder, explained that ease-of-use was a key driver in the development of Oomi – with the Fantem Group, consisting of members worldwide, having put in the best part of two years to bring the solution to market – which is designed to work with limited set-up requirements.
“What we’ve focused at with Oomi is going the extra step, where there is no programming actually needed to get the system up and running,” Hall commented.
“So, one of the things we’ve looked at is user experience, and essentially: what was the barrier of limitation, what was the reason why this uptake that everyone was assuming was going to happen inside of the connected home, why hasn’t that taken off in the way that people assumed that it would?”
Consumer feedback revealed a reluctance to have a third party involved in the set-up of connected home systems.
Oomi, employing a near field communication backbone, features a “Tap and Touch” system, allowing quick and simple integration of devices, and notably doesn’t require a smartphone for operation, with the Oomi Touch tablet providing a platform for users to control connected devices.
Users simply touch the compatible device with the Touch, with the device then integrated into the platform, allowing control straight away.
The Oomi Cube, meanwhile, acts as the “brain” of the smart home, equipped with eight environmental sensors and a night vision camera. The Cube’s sensors allow it to know more about the user’s home, in turn providing further functionality.
A key feature of Oomi is that it does not require an internet connection for operation, with one of its core functions being peer-to-peer control. While some functionality requires access to the cloud, if the internet is down Oomi will still be operational.
“When you’re in the house, it actually utilises a system that doesn’t rely on the server to be able to, say, switch on a light switch – it actually communicates directly from the tablet to Oomi Cube, directly to the light switch itself,” Hall commented.
“So, we’ve built it so that it’s designed for local control and then all the advanced functionality sits separate of that, but it still allows your core functionality without actually having to connect to the internet.”
iOS and Android apps are also in development, which will allow for remote monitoring.
Oomi comes with a range of accessories, including the Oomi Bulb, Plug, MultiSensor, Streamer and Air, and, employing Z-Wave technology, it allows integration with third-party manufacturers.
With connected home technologies becoming more accessible and with the industry attracting attention from major tech players, Hall expects the technology will become increasingly integrated in homes around Australia.
Indeed, as evidenced by home automation company Push Controls – from which Environexus was effectively developed as a separate company – last year being acquired by Schneider Electric, the field is generating significant interest.
Hall noted that larger players are now increasingly looking at tying the many elements of the connected home into “a bigger story”.
“From the Oomi side, the way that we’re looking at it is, let’s get a base system in there that then allows you to be able to expand all that infrastructure around it,” he commented. “So, as new devices come through and it does open up, you’ve still got that fall-back system in place that allows you to be able to integrate it all into one.”
The Oomi Indiegogo campaign is being run over 60 days, with Oomi to be available from August.