Our quest for a fully automated home continues. The smart home segment, supposed to be the next big thing in tech for the past few years, hasn’t really taken off the way it was supposed to, maybe because people would still like to draw their own curtains or walk into a house that was not pre-cooled for their presence. However, of late some level of automation has become easy, even with older, less smarter homes, because Amazon and Google are pushing an ecosystem that is literally plug-and-play.
Closer home, Hero Electronix has forayed into the space with its Qubo range of AI-powered Connected Smart Devices. Qubo’s range includes an Alexa-enabled smart indoor camera and a host of smart plugs and sensors that help keep the house smart and secure.
The Qubo world literally revolved around its smart indoor camera and everything else in their world is literally powerless without this one. That is because the smart camera is also the hub for the other sensors and they call to connect to the cloud via this device. So if you want the entire range, it is not going to be cheap, even if you don’t want the camera.
The camera itself is an Echo-like device with an LCD panel on top. It connects to the Qubo app on your phone like other Alexa-enabled devices but also has the screen to help in case you want to type in a Wi-Fi password or something. Yes, it can do everything an Echo can, though the audio quality is not that great. But then listening to music should be considered an add-on feature with the cameras.
I was travelling for the first week after the device was set up and realised the value of having a product like this at home. My 8-year-old was alone at home with his school shut due to issues in Delhi and I could keep a constant watch on what he was doing and who was coming home when he was alone. As I kept telling him about the colour of his T-shirt and what he was watching on TV all day, my son found something was amiss. He soon discovered the camera and put something in front of it to stop his father from “stalking” him from far away.
Anyway, till that point, the camera kept sending me alerts when it found a ‘person’ in front of the camera. This way I could see who all were in the house. I could tap on the app to either go live and see what the camera was seeing and hearing, or go back to see what it had recorded earlier. And the camera works wonderfully well when there is no light too. Overall, with a child at home, this is a product I do not mind investing in.
The app also lets you connect other Qubo devices. Since I had the entire range for review, I soon had the smart plug, the gas and smoke sensors as well as the door sensor connected. The power plug allows users to remotely switch on or off something, like a water motor, when you are not at home. It works really well and without any issues, though it is meant only for heavy power load devices and gone only into power plugs. And you can switch it on/off using Alexa too.
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The door sensor sends outs an alert when the door it is fixed on has been opened. I did not really test the smoke and gas sensors and decided to take Qubo’s word for it.
Overall, the Qubo range of devices makes great sense if you are looking to smarten up your home. For those who already have an Echo device, this does not make much sense and you should invest in sensors compatible with the ecosystem. But for others, who are setting up from scratch this is a good option to have. However, the Qubo range does not come cheap. Even though the smart camera itself costs a competitive Rs 13,400, each of the sensors is another Rs 3,000 each.
Buy these if you really want to see your home connected and remotely secured.
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