oort’s “Internet of Everything” Hub is using Bluetooth Low Energy as its choice of wireless signal to control and monitor all of your smart devices. They make a strong case that Bluetooth Low Energy, also known as BLE or Bluetooth Smart, should be your choice as well.
Just recently launching its entry into the smart home controller market on Kickstarter, this Poland based company is staking its success on using Bluetooth Smart for communicating between its hub and all of the devices on its network. With Bluetooth being the protocol with the highest level of adoption among wireless device manufacturers, and with the advent of CSR making their Bluetooth Mesh open source, this seems like a very wise choice.
Claiming to be “the first complete universal wireless Internet of Things BTLE iBeacon system”, oort is named for the cloud of icy objects that form the boundary of our solar system. Although it is true that there are quite a few choices for wireless home automation, it does seem that oort is the first to dedicate itself to Bluetooth Smart and is focusing its entire ecosystem of compatible products on that choice. Most of oort’s immediate competitors, like Revolv, Mi Casa Verde and SmartThings, are using other wireless formats like ZigBee, Z-Wave, Insteon and WiFi. Although oort uses WiFi to connect and communicate with the internet, all of the communication between the hub, your favorite smart device like a phone or tablet, and all of the sensors and switches on the network are done through Bluetooth.
Even though oort is releasing their system with a very impressive array of companion devices with a near infinite amount of applications, they are going one step further by making their inner workings available so that third party developers can create their own add-ons. That is a smart move that will hopefully guarantee them, and their users, greater choice and the ability to grow as the Internet of Things truly becomes the Internet of Everything.
As outlined in the video above, here are a few of the applications that oort should be capable of right away:
There is even a soil humidity sensor in the works that will send you an alert when your plants need to be watered (not pictured). oort hopes to make the entire selection of their products available by September 2014.
They are claiming that there are no hidden fees or costs to their product, but we have to admit that both their Kickstarter campaign and their website is rather vague about how much their cloud service is going to cost… or if it will be free. Most of companies that offer similar services charge a monthly fee, while with one or two competitors the purchase of their device gives the buyer lifetime access. If QTOOTH finds out for sure one way or the other we will post an update here. (UPDATE!! We have heard back from oort concerning their cloud service. According to CEO Radek Tadajewski, “We don’t want to charge customers for cloud services.” We’ll take that as meaning it will be free. Seems like another smart move on their part. Anything that increases the rate of people adopting your technology increases the chances that they will treat it like the standard in its industry.)
There is a lot that this series of products can do. Products like this are just the tip of the iceberg. According to Gartner Research, there are a “mere” 2.5 billion connected devices today but that number should balloon to over 30 billion in the next six years. For complete details check out the oort website, or better yet, their Kickstarter campaign which actually has more details. Either way, we wish them luck on their campaign and hope to see it on the market this fall.