It’s strange, because until now most home automation system which involve accessing the power outlets seems to have been designed for nerds to show off their ‘touch sensitive’ switches. But it’s taken a 19-year-old from Kent, England to produce a power socket aimed at the mainstream UK market which carries a real switch, that looks just like any other, but which incorporates home automation technology.
Now raising money on the Seedrs equity crowd funding site, the Den home automation system was created by 19-year old Yasser Khattak, whilst studying. It’s looking to raise £300,000 to fund its growth plans. The company is similar in some respects to Lightwave RF.
Den subtly redesigned the normal plug socket and light switch and linked them via RF or Wifi to a smartphone app or a dedicated remote control. Like other systems of its type, it allows users to switch off appliances remotely (thus saving money, obviously). However, it aims to appeal to a mainstream UK market with a highly familiar plug and light switch design where the switch itself moves when you switch it off. It might sound simple, but this is a fundamental user interface everyone is used to and comfortable with, at least in the UK.
Khattak has teamed up with DesignWorks, a consultancy, and developed Den’s suite of products. They plan to develop more remotes, sensors and the MyDen mobile app for iOS and Android users.
That said, Den probably still has to prove whether its underlying technology is radically different to other types of automation over Wifi or RF.
Khattak says the unnecessary consumption of light switches or mobile phone chargers amounts for up to 16% of the UK’s annual energy usage, or “enough to power almost 2.5 million homes.”
According to research by the Energy Saving Trust released in October 2014, the UK could save £1.7bn a year by turning off appliances often left on standby, such as mobile phone chargers and televisions. Wireless industry group GSMA, the Home Automation market is expected to hit £27 billion globally by 2017.