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Smart Home Quick Hits: Curb, FreshHub/NCR, Astro Apartment Lighting

Mike Wolf Smart Kitchen Smart Lighting Startups

Here's a quick roundup of all the other stories we didn't go deep on but are interesting in smart home:

Curb Launches

Curb, a smart energy management system, launched this past week on Indiegogo. The system combines a module that connects into your home breaker box with an app and back-end cloud intelligence that monitors your energy usage and provides granular analytics. It can also send safety alerts, enable remote on-off shut off and monitoring as well as give you energy usage breakdowns by device. 

The baseline system costs $249 and monitors four appliances, but you can also upgrade to a $349 model that monitors up to 16 zones/appliances.

I think its intriguing and think there is a segment of the population that will appreciate the ability to monitor energy usage to the device level in their homes. However, I'm not entirely sure if there's enough consumers who are will to spend $249 for a standalone self-install device like this. Smapee's not done all that well from the looks of Amazon, and I tend to thik this is the type of device that needs to go through a professional install channel such as a service provider/utility or as part of a new home build offering to get wider traction.

 FreshHub Connects With NCR

I'll write more about this over at Smart Kitchen Notes, but I felt I'd at least mention the news here about FreshHub working with NCR to lay some groundwork technology for kitchen commerce.  As many know, NCR is a massive technology provider for retailers, and with NCR Retail One, they've created an applications and services platform for IoT that third party technology providers like FreshHub can leverage to make their offerings available to those retailers, suppliers and channel partners that use NCR hardware. FreshHub has been working on a kitchen commerce platform that brings together grocery stores, CPG and appliance makers.  It's early on, but it's good to see others outside of Amazon working on commerce and replenishment technologies for IoT/smart home. 

Astro's Smart Lighting For Apartments

When markets get more crowded and competition gets more fierce, companies start to target their products towards specific use-cases or demographic subsets in order to set themselves apart. That's what we're seeing with Astro, a smart lighting offering that's focused on apartment dwellers. In a way it's smart to tailor products towards unique requirements of certain living quarters like apartments - security makes a lot of sense - but I'm still not entirely sure why lighting needs to be tailored towards apartment dwellers. In this case, it seems almost an unnecessary narrowing of Astro's addressable market, as I can see the product working fine in small homes or even single rooms of large homes for that matter.

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