This is the smart home startup watch for week of February 22, 2015.
Neo Smart Jar
I’ve been following the increasingly active smart kitchen space, and so Neo’s smart jar is intriguing to me. While the smart jar doesn’t have actual food molecular sensors, it does allow you to track volume and freshness dates (even if that requires some level of user word with barcode scans and occasional data entry).
It reminds me a little of the Vessyl, but the Vessyl drink scanner has both volumetric and molecular sensors. Either way, the Neo smart jar is at 60% of its Indiegogo target and, if the company can deliver on its promises, hardware should ship in November.
Hive Hits Target
The Hive smart home hub and smart speaker hit its fairly modest target on Kickstarter and is expected to ship to backers in May. The short time frame on shipment is a good sign to me, as long lead times before shipment likely means the team hasn't done any any early production samples and may even be pre-prototype stage. Hive is intriguing in that it combines a fairly sensor rich hub (Z-Wave, Zigbee, BT, Wi-Fi) and a speaker system with voice interface (though voice appears to be mainly interaction with first responders in the initial roll out).
In addition to a smart home system, the Hive is positioned to be a DIY security system and streaming entertainment system. While it's getting somewhat crowded in the market, Hive's speaker system is an interesting differentiator.
Flooid Toilet Monitor
While it's fairly limited in function, I have to mention the Flooid, since yes, it's a toilet water monitor. Ok, that's a bit weird, but I do have to give these guys some credit since I do think the water network in the home is one of the next big areas of innovation around smart home. I know in the past I've known my toilet had an issue with a faulty flapper because, well, my water bill went up. This device looks to be targeted at landlords/REITs or other rental property owners, but I could also see some value here for people with multiple homes. The trick would be ensuring battery life and the product being low-cost enough for a single family home owner to make it worth buying it vs. simply monitoring the water usage on your bill.
If you know of a cool smart home startup, feel free to pitch us here and we might mention you in a future newsletter (or have you on the Smart Home Show).