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Homey voice-activated smart hub takes your smart home to a whole new level

Homey is a smart hub is currently receiving massive levels of attention via Kickstarter, with its promise to bring its users a powerful voice-controlled smart home experience.
June 13, 2014

While companies like Google and Apple are just starting to get their feet wet when it comes to advanced home automation efforts, there’s little denying that connected, smart homes are part of our future.

Right now, smart homes are far from commonplace though we’re seeing an increasing number of DIY smarthome efforts and even mainstream companies like Samsung and LG are pushing smart appliance and lighting. Looking for a truly next-gen smart home experience, though? A recent Kickstarter project promises such a device, which the startup playfully had dubbed as the Homey.

With 13 more days left to go, the Homey campaign has already blown past their original goal of €100,000

With 13 more days left to go, the Homey campaign has already blown past their original €100,000 goal, with €178,016 earned at the time of this writing. Okay, but what exactly is Homey, and what makes it so special? Homey is essentially a powerful voice-activated home automation hub made by a small Netherlands-based company called Athom.

The device is designed to work with many of your existing electronic devices, including televisions, your home’s lighting (with some modifications), smart thermostats and even smart appliances. The Homey also works with devices that support standards like AirPlay and NFC, and there’s even support for apps like Spotify and more.

At it’s most advanced, you can use Homey as a voice-controlled system for doing smart functions like adjusting thermostats, fading your lights on/off at specific times, controlling the televisions in your home, turning on the stereo, and really just about anything you can imagine. For situations where you need to control your home remotely, there’s also an Android app.

What if you don’t have smart appliances and other smart devices around your house? Out of the box, Homey can still connect to your phone and can do things like read your emails and messages out loud to you. It can also still control your television and other devices that use remote waves, and it even has support for older TV models. Homey will also provide you with important information throughout the day, such as telling you its going to rain soon when you’re getting ready to exit the house, so you know to grab an umbrella or rain jacket.

Bottom-line, Homey opens the door to some pretty cool things, as you can see in the videos. But how much does it actually cost? Right now you can secure a Homey for €229 ($309.91), with an estimated ship date of June 2015. That’s quite a wait, but it’s probably worth considering if you’re really into the idea of voice-controlled home automation.

Athom plans to not only use the funding it gathers for manufacturing the Homey, but they’ve even introduced some stretch goals for the project. If they reach €200,000 they will create an interactive flow-editor for your actions, giving you this-then-that style of controls. This means things like filling the tube right when you wake up, and then starting morning music after 15 minutes (their example). At €300,000 they promise to introduce new colors including Fire Red, Apple Green, Aqua Blue and Ninja Black.

For more details on the Homey, you’ll want to head on over to Kickstarter. What do you think, interested in the idea or not?