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Smart Home Weekly (10/3/14): LockState Gets $, Roost Opens Up Slightly, SwannOne

Mike Wolf Kwikset LockState Roost Smart Home Weekly Smart Lock Swann WeMO

Welcome to the Smart Home Weekly's (previously Smart Home Week in Review) new outpost on the web. You can read about that here blackberries

Now onto the week's stories and analysis:

Wi-Fi Smartlock LockState Maker Gets $ 2 Million to Beef Up Business

This is an interesting one and a story That really was not covered anywhere That I can see (the company did not even put the news on Their website.)

LockState , Which Has Been making Wi-Fi smart locks for some time, quietly Has gotten a round of funding from Cypress Growth Capital. The news release (sent to me via email) Had the Following quotes from the CEO and investor:

"LockState Has always made strong and secure locks the center of Its business," said Nolan Mondrow, the president of LockState. "With this funding, we will stay ahead of the curve When it comes to providing innovative smart-lock security and peace of mind to our customers."

"LockState is a pioneer in automation and business security is once again blazing a trail in the field of the connected home and more broadly the Internet-of-Things," said Ed Mello, Managing Director of Cypress Growth Capital. "Nolan and his team have a proven track record of innovation and business success and we are proud to invest in the company's future."

THE TAKE AWAY: While the SmartLock business is getting a little crowded, I think That there's still room for innovation. What's interesting about LockState Is that despite all the buzz about startups like Lockitron and August, was shipping LockState Has Their Wi-Fi SmartLock before both. The company Also Makes Wi-Fi thermostats and power plugs. 

That said, with the bigger players Likely coming into the smart lock space with either BLE or Wi-Fi (Kwikset was the first of the big 3 with a BLE direct-connect solution with Kevo), this will be a tough market. However, Depending On Their IP (Which I've yet to talk to them about - did I mention they do not even put Their press releases on Their website?), They could be in a decent position for acquisition. 

Swann Goes Full Smart Home

LockState is not the only existing access control / security company to smell opportunity in the smart home baking, as this week Swann Announced Their new DIY smart home system in the  Swann One

Like LockState, Swann could use some PR help, as the press release is available via other websites besides Mainly Their Own (but hey, at least they Launched a new website). According to Gizmodo , the system will support Both WiFi and Zigbee: 

"The system acts as a singular port for the various devices of your connected home by way of the company's SoundView Camera. The Wi-Fi device acts as Both a night vision security camera and a central control hub for the rest of your home's devices. That means clustering Whether it plays nice with other brands of home automation devices (Given it runs Both Wi-Fi and Zigbee protocols) or only Swann Within the ecosystem is difficult to discern from the press release. "

THE TAKE AWAY: That I think it's starting to get really crowded in the smart home system space, as Swann is now basically another entrant with a hub trying to throw elbows with Wink, Iris, Revolv, Smart Things / Samsung and so on. That does not mean they will not make headway, but if they're planning on going fully into low-cost consumer-facing DIY, they'll need a big name distribution partnership to make headway Given Their low brand recognition Among end- users.

Secretive Roost Kimono Opens Up About 2 Inches

Ok, this one could be interesting, but I think it's just too soon to tell.

Roost , formerly known as Zlick (good move on name change, guys) Has Announced just under $ 1 million in seed funding from a round of angel investors, including Slingbox brother Jason Krikorian. 

From the  press release

"Founded by trailblazers of the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi industry, Roost Has developed a unique, patent-pending platform connected That delivers the ultimate in installation simplicity and the most affordable way for consumers to enter the smart home space."

"The fast growing smart home industry is currently focused on selling 'shiny,' Often complicated and costly new hardware," said Roel Peeters, Roost CEO and co-founder.

"Roost will offer consumers a simple and inexpensive way to transform Their existing home products into smart connected devices."

"Roost's initial hardware solution will address a disruptive retrofit opportunity versus other current smart home devices and approaches. Its first product to be announced this fall will be sold at a retail price point below $ 50, and will be coupled with an intuitive mobile app That managed home date in an intriguing and useful way. "

Roost was nice enough to pre-brief me and we are going to do a podcast conversation, but I thought it would be better til we actually have more product details.

THE TAKEAWAY: Like I said, it's early, but two things catch my attention with this announcement. First, the founders have a strong pedigree in low-power Wi-Fi chips, with CEO Roel Peeters coming from Atmel-acquired Ozmo  and James Blackwell coming from BLE specialist CSR. Second is I'm a firm believer That smart home hub capability is a feature-set That can be ADOPTED into existing product form factors. The company, while vague on details, Makes clear Their approach is centered around a retrofit model at a price point starting below $ 50.  

Both of those are bonuses in my mind, I know I'm ready to hear blackberries. The company Told me they will be make a product announcement Within the next month or so, so I'll have further Top thoughts (and a podcast!) Then.

QUICK TAKES

Smart Home ... Robot?

Interesting approach by a new Kickstarter looking to Utilize older smartphones to make a light-security device. Rico is currently on Kickstarter. Not sure if there's a long-term business there, but I appreciate the economy and re-use aspect.

Incubating Google App-Less IoT Standard

The thinking is sound around this idea , moving away from apps. Just not sure how much traction we'll get for it, and Google's Efforts at standards are, not surprisingly, Generally viewed with suspicion by others. 

Belkin injects WEMo Into Sylvania Bulbs

That WEMo thing is spreading, this time to Sylvania. The company released Has it own bulbs, but this week it Announced ITS working with Osram Sylvania. According to Electronic House, the bulbs will be available this fall. 

The Smart Home Weekly podcast is coming later, possibly tomorrow, so keep an eye out. And again, if you're not subscribed to this update as a newsletter, please do so, and if you're an RSS fan, you can subscribe using RSS here - Mike

Update: Podcast version below:



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