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We have all been talking about IoT entering our lives. But IoT will be entering our homes first and the process has already started. Smart homes, at least for now, mean a central controller that lets you switch on and off a lot of appliances in the house. But for that the appliances need to be smart too and retrofitting old homes with this new technology can be a real pain. But is there an easier, more affordable way to make your home smart? Maybe there is.
Oakter Smart Home
The Okater Smart Home is essentially a starter kit, but one where you can add on more units to. The kit comes with 2 smart plugs — one 6 amp and the other 16 amp — as well as a hub, which connects to the Wi-Fi in your home. The 6 amp one is ideal for small appliances and mobile phone chargers, while the 16 amp plug is ideal for running things that consume more power like an AC or water heater. You also need to download the Oakter app in iOS or Android to get this entire rig working.
Price: Rs 4,750
How it works?
The Oakter app gives you a step-by-step onboarding of the set-up and that is good given that most people will be intimidated by just hearing the term IoT. The app lets you connect to the Oakter hub which creates its own Wi-Fi and then link it to the Wi-Fi network at the location. There are LED lights on all the units to show they are connected to the network. As soon as the Wi-Fi set up is done, the two devices that you have in the kit show up on the app. You then have the option of switching on/off anything plugged into these two units. Oakter claims up to 50 units can be linked this way.
Does it work?
Yes, I tested both connected to my Wi-Fi in different ends of the house and it worked easily, scaring my son as well as our domestic help. The only issue I faced was the small lag from when you click the virtual button to when the power is actually cut off. You can see a small light inside the plugs when this happens and a mild snapping sound.
You can also schedule these plugs to go on and off at specific times. I am sure a lot of people will find it useful in the metros where water is supplied only at specific times and these plugs can be used to schedule the motors. These can have power saving uses too by giving users the option to schedule a switch off for a device like an AC or water heater.
Should you buy?
If you have the use case where you need to control appliances or devices remotely, then Oakter seems like a very effective platform at the moment. Given that it is not very expensive and comes with the built in capacity to add more units, this seems like one of the devices that can trigger volumes in IoT adoption. However, don’t buy it just to be ahead of the curve. That will be a waste of money.