Adding smartphone control to all of the devices in our home doesn’t require replacing everything, at least not according to a new smart hub called Beak. Armed with an IR blaster, Z-Wave and a long list of compatible gadgets, the hub can turn just about any home appliance from air conditioners to home theaters into a smart devices.
A single controller to command every device in your smart home has been the goal of just about every internet-connected hub we’ve seen recently introduced. And while most of them sport the same array of connections of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave and the like, not all of them can add some intelligence to typically “dumb” devices.
Beak can best be described as a Logitech Harmony Hub for your entire home. The relatively small device packs a wide a range of capabilities like all of the aforementioned connections as well as Zigbee and IR control. A variety of sensors are built-in as well, supplying light, temperature and humidity data to your smart home. Beak’s design is rounded out with capitative touch and proximity sensor that offers direct control over the hub without needing to use an app.
At launch, Beak will be compatible with a huge list of partners covering just about every facet of one’s smart home. Platforms like Hue, Sonos SmartThings and Nest are some of the top contenders, but others like Flic, Lifx, Belkin join the ranks as well. The hub can also control just about any IR-enabled appliance, meaning your air conditioner, home theater and similar devices can be integrated as well.
For someone who’s been struggling to find an adequate internet-connected IR-controlling device, Beak seems like an attractive solution. While it does tout one of the largest lists of compatible devices I’ve seen for a crowdfunded project, I am curious how it will integrate with other smart home platforms.
The smart hub has been going through the ropes of an Indiegogo campaign, so far raising 87% of its desired funds. Beak launches with a $130 price tag and is said to be shipping later this year in June, assuming all goes well with the remainder of its crowdfunding. Considering it packs the ability to control just about any device you could throw at it, this is a pretty reasonable upfront price.
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