Published on March 24th, 2015 | by Greg0
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.