Home automation has had its fits and starts for the last 20 years, but it appears that most of the variables are in place to ignite serious growth in this currently nascent market. As I wrote about here, there are challenges and a few different solutions in home automation. If the consumer desires a best of breed solution encompassing big device brands like Nest, Sonos, Philips Hue and Insteon, Revolv is the best, and as far as I can tell, the only solution that can intelligently tie it all together. I experienced Revolv for months in my home and want to tell you about it.
Three choices in home automation
Consumers have three choices when getting into home automation. First, you can go with a and end-to-end product, service and support play like AT&T Digital Life who will come in and do everything for you. It’s solid but expensive. Secondly, you can select a “worst of breed” solution that’s integrated but no one you’ve ever heard of on the device or service side. Thirdly, there is a “best of breed” solution approach. Best of breed approach is choosing the best devices for energy management, music, lighting and other usage models. This includes brands like Nest, Sonos, Insteon, Philips, and Yale. The challenge, though with best of breed is that it’s expensive and complex.
This is where Revolv enters the equation.
Revolv simplified my home
So with a best of breed approach, you buy separate solutions using many different mobile apps and different hardware hubs. You could get a Nest, Sonos, Yale lock, Philips Hue and a ton of Insteon devices. The first challenge is “app fatigue”. App fatigue occurs when you are using multiple apps to control related devices in the home. There’s an app for Nest, Sonos, Yale, Insteon devices to manage temperature, music, locks, lighting and garage doors. Seriously, I’ve used separate apps and it is truly untenable, particularly having multiple people in the household. I must point out that my wife rejects all of this multiple device and multiple device thing, too.
Revolv, with one application, supports all of my devices, the Nest, Sonos, Insteon-based bedroom, office, and Christmas tree lighting, and my Honeywell thermostat.
Then there is the hardware. For my best of breed solution without Revolv, I would need to plug in and manage a WiFi router, Sonos Bridge, Insteon hub and a Z-Wave hub. Revolv removes the need for a Z-Wave and Insteon hub, and in the future, will serve as your Sonos bridge. We like to keep cords hidden and tech out of sight, so this works really well for the family.
Revolv integrated my home
Revolv allowed me to control each of my devices individually, but also allowed me to integrate them together. For instance, I would have the lights on and the temperature set to a specific temperature depending on where I was driving and how far away I was from home. Revolv’s GeoSense technology and service makes that happen. I could have had my Sonos playing, garage door open, locks open and mood lighting on, but hey, that’s not me. But you could if you wanted to. These are called “Actions” and can be triggered by motion detector being triggered, the time (specific time or sunrise, sunset) day, location or by manually pressing an on-screen button.
Revolv lowers cost of “best in breed” solution
At $299, Revolv isn’t cheap, but you really need to look at all the costs involved in a best of breed solution. An Insteon hub is $129, a Z-Wave bridge is $59, and Nexia monthly service charge is $9.99, a month, $120, annualized. I would have needed the Nexia service and hub to make my Honeywell thermostat work if I didn’t have Revolv. Net-net, after one year, Revolv “pays” for itself.
Other stuff you should know
Getting into home automation is an adventure, but less so with Revolv, and that’s actually good. While I actually like the challenge of technology troubleshooting, I don’t like it when it involves my family who needs it to just work. Revolv currently supports 27 different lights, locks, thermostats, audio, outlets, motion sensors, light switches, dimmers and secondary remotes from Nest, Sonos, Insteon, Philips, Yale, Kwikset, Trane, Leviton, GE, Belkin and SmartHome.
Setup is very unique, too. Revolv first pairs its hub to the router and iPhone by using a very cool pulsed light method from your iPhone to the Revolv hub so that you don’t need to enter a bunch of techno gobbledygook to make it talk to your router. When you want to find a new device you want Revolv to control it will “auto-search” for devices in the background and prompt you step by step what do to.
Another thing you need to know is that Revolv currently only works with iOS devices. It is common for devices to go iOS first, and it makes particular sense here given the target consumer demographic. I think Nest and Sonos, and I think Apple. I’m sure the iOS only will change, as Revolv will need Android to grow beyond where they are today.
Technology has finally solved many of the home automation issues that plagued the industry and consumers over the last 20 years. But it also created a few, too. Based on my consumer research and experience developing consumer products, consumers will not use or tolerate having multiple apps or hubs to perform home automation tasks. Revolv is currently the industry’s best and only solution that connects best-in-breed home automation solutions. If you’re into home automation, you need to check out Revolv.