Gadgets oort

Published on March 24th, 2015 | by Greg


OORT Home Automation: Funny Name, Serious Tech

Home automation is everywhere! Companies large and small are rushing to find a foothold in the increasingly-crowded category, with big names like Google buying in and Apple launching their own system. Most of them, though, are aiming narrowly at a couple of items- thermostats perhaps, or an occasional camera. Few firms even attempt to market a wide range of gear- but today we are looking at a company that not only has a broad line but probably won’t be recognized… yet.

OORT- all capitals- might have an unusual name, but it makes a bit more sense when you notice that the company is actually a Polish startup. We’ve been testing out three of their products, and like that they are multi-platform, and inexpensively priced. They have a developer’s kit available for per-order, so folks who might want to tie in to their system can start. And none of the trio we’ve checked out require a hub or any other hardware- they all work independently.

For instance, the OORT SmartLED and OORT SmartSocket are similar to other gear that we’ve seen before. You simply download a free app to your Android smartphone or Apple iPhone and then establish a one-to-one direct connection via Bluetooth. No internet connection is required, but of course you are a bit more limited in features- you can’t really control your lights or appliances while you’re on vacation for instance. With the LED light, it’s a surprisingly decent multi-color bulb that you simply screw in to the socket of your choice. With the app, you can select your color, brightness, or between a few modes.

The modes are customizable, so you can adjust them as you like. You can even set up a wakeup time to gently brighten your room in the morning. The bulb isn’t that bright though- at only 180 lumens, it’s more of a mood lighting option than a true replacement primary lamp. The SmartSocket is fairly large and bulky, though it does have a nifty feature allowing you to track energy usage- something we hope to see regularly from others. On the flipside, we did see a bit of lag time between attempts to turn off an outlet and the actual results.

On a different note, the OORT SmartFinder is a remote-detectable keyfob, the sort of little locator that allows you to track down the fob using your phone. If you’ve found yourself leaving your wallet or other valuables behind, then it can help- any though it’s bigger than most competitors, it includes a speaker so it can “beep” to help you find it. Perfect for visually-impaired individuals, it comes in two different colors, and has a battery that is rated to last five years.

All of the OORT products are available online- the SmartLED for a very reasonable $40, the SmartSocket for $50, and the SmartFinder for around $30. 

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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