Yesterday came the news that the company Nest, rather, standing behind her Google, acquired firms-manufacturers of one of the most popular hubs for “smart home” – Revolv. Moreover, according to the sources, the core value for such a purchase Nest brings a team of developers, as well as the technologies that are used when creating a hub. What is so good recent startup Revolv, if it tempted the global Internet giant?
Compatibility and Installation
Revolv – very strange looking device that looks like a round box for DVD-ROM drive with its transparent lid and red base, which because of its brightness does not establish a hub anywhere. Painfully defiantly looks like.
Unlike many of its competitors, Revolv is not a set of compatible devices for home automation. It is simply a device for combining the various smart gadgets in a single system with centralized control, or, in other words, the hub class DIY (do-it-yourself or DIY) and the appropriate application for your smartphone or tablet.
The main advantage that distinguishes it from competitors, is to support a wide range of wireless communication standards, which potentially allows it to work with a huge number of a variety of devices from different manufacturers.
Hub Revolv – completely wireless device that does not require even Ethernet-connection to the router and a home network that supports seven different wireless standards (in fact, while actually working, only three – Z-Wave, WiFi, Insteon).
Given this range of standards used, this hub is probably the most versatile platform for the control of “smart” devices on the market. And that’s why Revolv not offer its own line of products. Why, when there are many different kinds of gadgets that can connect to the hub.
Total to date, he supported 84 device manufacturers such as Nest, Insteon, Sonos, Belkin, Philips, Yale, Honeywell and others. The list of compatible devices can be found on the support site Revolv. Only in August this year in the list to add 20 units. Actually planned to connect about 300 units of the 25 product categories, but the sale of the company to stop this process.
Another advantage of the device is the ease of installation process, which takes just a few minutes. However, it boasts and a hub of Lutron, that does not make it more attractive to potential buyers.
The work begins with photographing the QR-code on the card, which can be found inside the box that instantly sends your phone to the download page of the application.
When the application is loaded and run, turn the hub and about 45 seconds, hold the phone with the flash (for data transfer using its own technology company FlashLink) at a distance of 3 – 5 cm from the top of the red gadget until it will signal you that the system is ready to work.
When connected to the router and network registration, Revolv starts automatic search process in the surrounding space of compatible devices and their connection. All the instructions for connecting the various devices can be found in Appendix Revolv, and it is interesting that no printed instructions provided in the package.
But it should be noted that the automatic search of “smart” devices, including a “bonus”, which according to the assurances of developers should be fixed “once or twice” until done uncertainly. Sometimes devices are not, sometimes disappear after the connection.
To speed up the search for devices it is recommended to include them beforehand, or add them manually. Sounds funny, but that’s life “smart devices.”
After searching and registering new devices they appear in the main view, where they can be managed. However, we must remember that such management is still somewhat limited in scope when compared with the work of some of their applications, more complex devices.
Unification of devices and control them using one device – it’s great, but not only this is the home automation. The main thing is that you can program the device, individually or jointly, to make them act in a certain way depending on what happens for some particular event or not.
The system Revolv such programming is called the development “Actions”. You can program any action for any device based on the behavior of other gadgets or devices (eg motion sensor), the location, the timetable or you can create complex macros that allow you to activate multiple devices depending on certain conditions.
For example, you can create an action “Disable all” to the touch of a button to turn off the lights in the entire house. All the instructions for these steps are described in the annex very clear language and easy to use.
However, before the end of the application has not been debugged. For example, after example, how do you create the “Action”, you find that the screen is no “OK” or “Done”, and the only shooter, I suggest you go back.
And it is unclear whether you have done everything, whether it is registered to the “Action” and whether it will work in the end – where you go back by clicking the arrow. After creating the “Actions” some of them appear on the Home screen, some do not and are hiding under the icons of specific devices. But all this is rather minor flaws, does not prevent us high enough to evaluate the application.
Annex Revolv exist both on the basis of iOS (7.0 and above) and Android (4.1 and above), although the latter appeared just a couple of months ago.
Advantages and disadvantages
Although Revolv and allows devices to work together using various protocols, such interaction is not always done well. The user is given access to only the basic functions of each connected device.
For example, a hub can cause the bulb Philips Hue change the brightness and color, but you can not use (import) the scenes that were created in your own application by Philips and you are limited to only 8 colors, and can not use a range of colors, like Philips.
You can control the volume and the transition between tracks in the Sonos, but you are not allowed anything but that. You can not select a new channel or playlist, you can not see the information in the application Revolv that is now lost.
However, we must recognize that the problem holds for almost all competitive hubs. So far nobody has been able to create a device that by simply pressing a button connected to the system, any device with its full functionality.
With a large number of supported devices, this list is still gaping lacunae. Most notably the lack of CCTV cameras and contact sensors. And it was the security and home monitoring are the main reason why people are thinking about the creation of “smart home”. Unfortunately, here Revolv inferior to their competitors class DIY.
Another drawback of the device is that the developers are not included in Revolv WiFi-router, as is done in several competitive hubs, which would simplify the whole lot home network.
However, the advantages of the system, taking into account the promised but not yet completed functional options outweigh its disadvantages. Good system for creating programmable action based on data from different devices, compares favorably to many competing systems.
Revolv also interesting because it is one of the few hubs, which supports the work of home entertainment systems. In its list of supported devices appear on wireless speakers Sonos. And this despite the fact that today many televisions and audio systems have their own mobile applications and network monitoring.
But their functionality is too complicated for cheap hubs, so their integration is still in charge of expensive professional systems. Well, as well as a hub Revolv and its main competitor – SmartThings, which unlike our hero does not cease to exist after the absorption of other electronic giant, Samsung Electronics.
And about the price. Hub was sold at a price of $ 299, but now the sale, alas, discontinued, and apparently did not recur.
A few words after
So why Nest, bought the company decided to stop the production and sale of such, in general, a good product that has a good future?
We can assume that in the bowels of the Nest is currently under development and a similar device so the company decided to strengthen its position in the design, using the experience and ideas of experts Revolv, simultaneously eliminating dangerous rival on the market.
As said Matt Rogers, co-founder and vice president of engineering company Nest, “Revolv – it’s a great team. They own a home wireless information communication that you will not find anywhere else except in the minds of these 10 people.”
In addition, the company Nest is a great job of integrating its devices with third companies and Revolv experience working with devices operating on the basis of various communication protocols, it is very useful and will save time and resources.
Given that their own efforts Nest on integration with, say, systems LIFX, Logitech, Whirlpool, Dropcam, and other devices are not very successful. Some promised integration is still not completed, others are made with very limited functionality.
We note, incidentally, that the company Revolv recently joined the consortium AllSeen Alliance, which aims to develop a common platform based on free software designed to integrate “smart” devices, and is directly competing organizations with a consortium Thread Group, Nest-headed and engaged in the creation of a similar standard.
If we recall that developed in the new protocol AllSeen AllJoyn should in the future ensure that work without the need for hubs (and Revolv is an obvious supporter of other development) and use methods adherents “conspiracy theory”, it can be assumed that Revolv was “secret agent” which was to get the inside information that could be used to develop a protocol Thread.
Moreover, that the process of buying the company obviously had to take longer than two months have passed since the accession to Revolv AllSeen Alliance. Funny theory, is not it? But it is, mind game.