Hardware

Airfy’s Beacon Wants To Make The Smart Home Smarter

Comment

Berlin-based Airfy, maker of the Airfy WiFi router that our very own John Biggs called one of the sexiest Wi-Fi routers he’d ever seen (and the man has doubtless seen a lot of WiFi routers), is launching a crowdfunding campaign for a new product today. Rather than tackling the ugliness and (often) stupidity of WiFi routers, the Airfy Beacon is an attempt at making the smart home, well, smarter.

The idea is that by placing Airfy’s Beacon sensors around the home, coupled with your smartphone and the startup’s app, otherwise disparate ‘smart’ products, such as Google-owned Nest’s smart thermostat, or smart lightbulbs from Philips, can be better integrated, bringing a level of automation not always seen.

Individual smart home products feel as though they are on the cusp of becoming mainstream. However, as William Gibson is often quoted, “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”. No more is this true than regards to getting each of your disparate ‘smart’ products to integrate with your home as a whole or be truly automated, rather than simply being ‘connected’. Yes, there are integrated systems based on competing standards, but these are largely sold by home automation specialists and are often prohibitively expensive, or take a geek of higher powers to make sense of them.

Instead, thanks to a raft of new smart consumer products, users are increasingly taking a small pieces, loosely joined approach. It’s the joining up part that Airfy is tackling.

“Imagine waking up in the morning, grabbing your smartphone and it automatically turning on the lights in your bedroom. Or while you freshen up in the bathroom, your phone telling your coffee machine to start brewing in the kitchen and your radio to play your favorite song in the dining room,” reads Airfy’s Kickstarter campaign, painting a world that only Bill Gates has likely been living in, but most of us, until now, could only dream of.

Other examples cited include turning off your smart TV when you leave the room, or triggering custom lighting setups for your Philips Hue WiFi lightbulbs.

36bdb778fca20af8a8c209d9b84e65a9_large

Specifically, the Airfy Beacons and accompanying Airfy app can be used to program the behavior of your various smart devices based on your proximity, the time of day, and, potentially, the number of people in your home. This of course also relies on each disparate smart device having an open API that Airfy supports, or the use of and support for IFTTT, the smart device ‘recipe’ service. The other drawback of using Beacons as a way of triggering various events in the home is that it relies on having your phone on your person at all times. Or until/if Airfy launches a smartwatch app.

Regardless of those potential shortcomings, here’s how Steffen Siewert, CEO and co-founder of Airfy, described to me the problem the German startup has set out to solve:

With Philips Hue, Nest Thermostat & Co. more and more smart home elements become available to personalize your home. As of now, unfortunately the available controlling is still very basic and doesn’t allow consumers to tap the full potential of this smart technology. In addition, for a really individual smart home people have to pay a small fortune at the moment. With our Beacon technology we want to change that, giving consumers the opportunity to create their very own smart home satisfying their individual needs and wishes and at the same time making this possibility affordable for everyone.

Pricing-wise, each Airfy Beacon, which follow a similar design cue as the startup’s WiFi router, starts from $49 each for early Kickstarter backers. There’s also more expensive starter kits that also include a number of Philip Hue lightbulbs and base station, along with various other perks. Head over to the campaign page for more details.

More TechCrunch

Ahead of the AI safety summit kicking off in Seoul, South Korea later this week, its co-host the United Kingdom is expanding its own efforts in the field. The AI…

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

8 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities