After a successful pre-order release last year, Sense Labs, maker of a little orange box designed to bring last year’s electronic equipment into today’s connected world, has today announced general product availability, integration with IFTTT, and a $15 million series A round of financing.
Sense Labs uses what’s known as nonintrusive load monitoring, a technique in which algorithms detect the electrical “fingerprint” of each device, to analyze how much power each one consumes as a fraction of the whole home’s electricity profile. That data is then transmitted to the user’s smartphone, where he or she can monitor personal energy usage patterns in an effort to alter behaviors, and save energy and money. Each device might not be smart, but the system as a whole is.
“Contrary to how the smart home has been positioned in the market to date; at Sense, we believe that in order for the smart home to truly come to fruition, we must be able to connect the dots between connected and unconnected devices,” Sense CEO and co-founder Michael Phillips said in a news release. “In doing so, we enable them to communicate with one another and can fully achieve complete home automation.”
Now that the Sense platform will integrate with IFTTT, both connected and unconnected devices will be able to communicate with each other through strings of conditional statements, such as “Turn on my lights when the garage door opens.” The company sees this move as it’s first step toward home automation.
However, automation is the third and final layer in Sense’s view of a smart home. The first is broad-based sensing, which enables the system to detect unconnected devices. Broad-based sensing then allows the system to mine all devices’ intelligence (data) in order to analyze performance, efficiency, and reliability. With this information, the system can then communicate between devices like a translator, so users can set commands between connected and unconnected appliances.
“As a first step in this process, we look forward to learning what customers actually want to have automated in their home by integrating with IFTTT,” Phillips said. “We are excited to get Sense into as many homes as possible so homeowners can be more empowered about the efficiency and reliability of their home appliances and devices.”
The Sense home energy monitor is now available for $299 online at the company’s website, and will ship anywhere in the United States.