Kickstarter Alert: Nyrius Smart Outlet

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Connected outlets are the most basic IoT accessory. Being able to plug a lap, fan, or other appliance into a doodad plugged into a wall outlet, and turn them on and off remotely from your mobile device is a handy idea, and there are variations on this available through most of the connected-home systems out there.

And they are usually a pain in the butt.

I have one that runs through my Iris system, and while it works, it’s not useful. The main problem is that it functions via a central hub that’s controlled via the internet. Which means when I want to turn something on or off, I have to jump on the app, which requires a login, navigate to the control through the sluggish interface, and then push the button … and wait while the lag going through multiple servers stretches out.

The Nyrius Smart Outlet, on the other hand, is quick and so much more functional. I’ve been able to test out a prototype, and I’m really impressed.

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First, the build quality is excellent – better than my Iris unit. Second, because it runs via Bluetooth, you don’t have the router lag inherent in the connected-home service. That does, however, mean you cannot turn things on and off remotely, which is a big feature of other systems.

But what it does, it does well. I love that you can set it up to turn on and off based on your proximity to the switch. That makes it easy to have lights go off in rooms when you leave them, and on again when you return. You can also set detailed schedules that get saved to the device, so lights can be set to turn on before you get home, for example.

The Nyrius Smart Outlet starts at $40 per unit, and the price drops if you want to pre-order multiple units. Their Kickstarter has three more days, and is pretty close to meeting its goal, so if this looks like the kind of gadget that would make your life easier, I say check it out!

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