“The biggest issue with smoke alarms is that we take out the batteries,” Roel Peeters, CEO and co-founder of Roost, tells Digital Trends. That’s why he wanted to reinvent the battery, instead of the smoke alarm.
We first heard about Roost — a Wi-Fi-connected, 9-volt battery for smoke alarms — during its Kickstarter campaign. Nearly a year later, you can finally get one starting in September, though it goes on pre-sale at Amazon today. You can get one for $35 or two for $65. It lasts five years, though you can snap off the “battery” part of the battery and get a replacement part, keeping all the smart tech for the next five years.
The smart battery looks just like an ordinary smoke alarm battery, and that’s the point. “It’s not just another white, shiny gadget that costs a hundred-some dollars for you to add to your home décor, but it’s really focused on figuring out real solutions to problems customers are having,” says Peeters. That problem is familiar to anyone who’s been woken up by the smoke alarm “chirping” in the pre-dawn hours or had it start shrieking because you overcooked dinner. With Roost’s accompanying app, you should get an alert that the battery needs replacing before the chirping starts, and you can “snooze” an alarm until the smoke from your oven clears.
Roost wants its smart battery to be affordable and easy to use. Setup, including downloading the app, should take less than five minutes. “This is not a typical Silicon Valley product, where it’s targeted at the 1 percent — the tech geek and the nerd,” Peeters says. While it might be valuable to know if you left the garage door open with a smart device, he says, it might not be $200-and-several-hours-of-setup valuable. He started looking around the home for valuable data. “if that smoke alarm is going off, and you’re not at home, that data is very valuable to you,” he says.
Right now, the Roost smart battery is a solo endeavor, though the company is looking at opening it up with IFTTT capability. Roost’s announcement comes shortly after Nest unveiled its second-generation Protect, its connected smoke and carbon dioxide detector. Peters isn’t worried; after all, Roost is a battery. “I don’t need a new smoke alarm,” he says. “My smoke alarms are mighty fine.”