Do you have Bluetooth connected devices in your home? If so, then a $99 hub from oort might be of interest, as it claims to let you control all of those devices using the hub and either the oort app or web site. Oort’s idea is simple — that Bluetooth will be the dominant radio standard for the internet of things, and that the big money will be in offering ways to control multiple devices and build out recipes in the home.
Radek Tadajewski, CEO of oort, told me in an interview that the company is launching the Kickstarter with a variety of connected sensors and devices (such as a lamp, air quality monitor and power strip), but that the end game for oort won’t be in physical products. It will be in the app and services. He explained that several of his Chinese manufacturers are gearing up to make Bluetooth connected devices that would undercut his own designs.
Thus, oort is focusing on making an app that can speak with a variety of different Bluetooth profiles and takes advantage of the beacon technology that iOS has been supporting for months and Android is likely to support soon. The oort hub supports Bluetooth and also Wi-Fi so you can access your home via the web. But Bluetooth is the key. The beacons will add an additional layer of communication between you and your surroundings by offering opt-in notifications about discounts, sharing data from beacon-style sensors on pets or lost objects or simply giving you in-depth presence information in the home.
The idea is that the use of a standards-based radio technology will mean the oort app can read a variety of beacons and sensors from other manufacturers when running on an iOS 7 or later and Android 4.3 or later device. Oort’s job will be to build the capability to understand what those devices do in its app, much like other hubs (SmartThings and Revolv for example) are supporting multiple devices by building our custom profiles that let users control things under one app.
But eventually as Bluetooth is built into more devices, you won’t need the oort hub to control products, your phone can act in that capacity. Although once it’s out of range you will lose control of your home devices, so I think the hub is a smart investment if you want to set schedules and track what’s happening in your home while you’re out.
I think this is an interesting project and do expect to see an onslaught of Bluetooth-capable devices in the coming months, that would make this even more compelling. The oort products will ship in September.