Oomi is the latest in Smart Home technologies. The Oomi team launched an Indiegogo campaign in April 2015 and plans to ship the final product in October. They hope to redefine the Smart Home. Meanwhile, the campaign has raised over 1.5 million US dollars, which is pretty amazing.
This product hopes to make Smart Home technology, such as automated security and remote control of air conditioning and lights, simple and intuitive enough for anyone to use. They promise one tap activation of a variety of accessory devices, such as light bulbs and security camera. The system is also flexible and scalable. Additional accessories can be added to the network at any time by simply activating them with one tap.
Another way in which the system claims to differentiate itself from other currently available systems: It boasts that, unlike other Smart Home systems, the system is not Internet dependent. If the Internet goes down, some parts of the system shut down — for example, the phone app will temporarily be unable to remotely access the system — but most parts will continue to function normally.
The system has a modular, wireless design. In other words, one can pick and choose whether they want, say, three smart lights and one camera or vice versa. The various parts are fairly plug and play. Furthermore, it is an open platform, capable of integrating other existing Smart Home technologies into its ecosystem. These features hold the promise of enormous flexibility and potential to be customized and tailored to one’s needs and preferences.
The pieces are available in your choice of either black or white. The design is intended to be unobtrusive and elegant. The intent is for it to either blend in seamlessly to your existing decor or even enhance it. In fact, the smart lights have options that go far beyond just turning on automatically whether you are home or not. They include options like gradually getting brighter to mimic a natural sunrise and even changing colours in order to enhance the decor and serve as mood lighting or even art. Visually, it all looks good and the goals and promises described sound good.
The impressive design team even kept a serious eye on privacy. Remembering that our homes are a private domain and that much of what happens there is not something most people want streamed into the cloud, they went a step beyond merely making it possible to turn off the cameras. They also provided a physical cover for the lens to ensure that it cannot be broadcasting images when you do not want it to be. Given the kind of blog posts one can find online where people complain that they feel their privacy was violated when their shower photos ended up in the cloud, it seems this level of awareness of the sanctity of the home and the importance of privacy therein may be the exception rather than the rule.
Does this truly add up to a revolution in Smart Home systems? Maybe, assuming they can deliver. The design team is trying to set a very high bar and is pursuing multiple goals that are potentially in conflict. For instance, a system that rates high for both scalability and customization tends to not be simple and easy to use. In most cases, designers have to choose one set of goals over another. If they can pull it off and really deliver all that they promise, this just might be the next big thing in Smart Home systems.
Only time will tell. For now, we still have to wait for the ship date to arrive. No one will really know until it goes live later this year.