Many smart-home devices promise ease of installation. Something that’s supposed to make your life easier shouldn’t be a burden to install. But even something as simple as a smart light switch requires you to bust out the screwdriver and disconnect some wires. This is a pretty big barrier to entry for many of these products, as well as for people who don’t want to make such permanent changes to their homes. With its new Indiegogo campaign, Switchmate wants to change that.
The Switchmate is a light switch that simply fits over your existing one, whether it’s a toggle or rocker style with one or three switches; it magnetically attaches to the screws, and that’s it. When you use your smartphone to turn on the light or manually hit the button, the device does the work mechanically.
The market for the Switchmate seems pretty clear: renters and anyone who doesn’t consider themselves handy enough to install a light switch, even with the assistance of a YouTube video. It’s one thing to swap out an old light bulb for a smart one; it’s quite another to start messing around with wires.
The Switchmate is battery powered (they last between eight and 12 months) and communicates with Android and iOS devices over Bluetooth LE. Through the app, you have the ability to set timers and if you get the optional hub, you can turn lights on and off from anywhere. That hub may signal Switchmate’s intentions to expand further into the smart-home market in the future.
Right now, early birds can get a single switch for $39; that’s $21 off the retail price. There are also options for two switches at $69 and three for $99. The company expects to start shipping in December 2015.
Update 3/4/2015: In one day, Switchmate reached its goal, was backed by over 600 people, and sold over 1,500 units.