Despite its intention on transforming houses, the smart home boom came with one important caveat: To upgrade to the latest trend, people needed to buy entirely new gadgets. Thankfully, this unfortunate smart home reality looks to have finally met its match with the upcoming release of the Bond infrared blaster. Geared toward outfitting ordinary appliances with Internet of Things functionality, the Bond IR blaster is nothing but a small plug-in tool which features smartphone and smart device integration via Wi-Fi. Think of it as a universal remote but instead of using it for a TV, cable box, and Blu-ray player, it works with any home appliance.
Though the list of devices outfit with IR blasters remains relatively small — and subject mainly to smartphones, tablets, and age-old PDAs — Bond’s entry back into the infrared-blasting fold doesn’t look like a lost cause. In fact, its ability to soup up ordinary appliances with advanced smart controls make it a rather appealing gadget. Furthermore, its ease of use allows literally anyone to adopt it into their homes — smart home aficionado or not.
To operate the Bond IR blaster, users simply connect the device to their home Wi-Fi, download the relative smartphone application, then point any old appliance-controlling remote at the Bond to sync it with the new system. Once it pairs, owners then have complete centralized control over that appliance (and others they sync) via the smartphone application or a smart device like Amazon’s Echo — for voice controls, of course.
In addition to its ability to add smart skills to otherwise ordinary appliances, the Bond IR blaster also reportedly features a listening function. That is, if an owner decides to use an old remote for an appliance — after syncing it with the Bond device — it won’t disrupt the plug-in’s normal operation and close the blinds, for instance, if any owner intended to open them. A relatively small feature, sure, but one which likely proves useful if someone is away from their smartphone or doesn’t have easy voice access to an Amazon Echo or Dot.
Interested buyers have the option of pre-ordering the Bond IR blaster via the company’s website, of which each unit runs for $99.