There were a ton of announcements at CES 2019, among them the news out of Canada that Ontario-based Swidget has announced the availability of its modular power outlet that will accept interchangeable smart inserts to control a variety of smart home stuff.
Without the aforementioned insert, the Swidget is basically a standard wall outlet. But once a smart home enthusiast snaps in an insert, their gadget can control a bunch of smart home devices, either through the dedicated Swidget App (there’s always an app) or through a smart home hub running on typical smart home platforms like Z-Wave or ZigBee.
“With more than 50 percent of homes in the U.S. expected to be smart equipped by 2022, we don’t intend Swidget to be just another household accessory, but rather a device that makes smart homes simpler. Not only is it easy to install and use, it has the ability to adapt to changing lifestyles and evolving technologies whenever the user needs it to,” said Lowell Misener, co-founder of Swidget in a release. “Swidget provides a solution for those that want to begin their smart home journey or expand their current system without adding unnecessary clutter.”
Swidget’s outlet and inserts will be available at Swidget.com or on Amazon this quarter. Single Swidget outlets sell at an MSRP of $40, while insert prices start at $6 and vary depending on connectivity and functionality. The first available inserts enable functions like USB charging, night lights, emergency lights, and Wi Fi or Z-Wave control of devices. A simple pinch pops out individual inserts, 11 of which are available at launch.
Other expected inserts are anticipated to facilitate a wide variety of applications, from motion sensors and real-time video camera, to built-in digital assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant, to way-out-there tools like aromatherapy. The company showed off its current and potential functions during demonstrations at CES this month, promising that future inserts make the Swidget endlessly adaptable and, potentially, “future-proof.”
The company will be releasing the products to backers first, then to the general public. While the primary benefit is freeing up a user’s outlet space, the inserts also prevent the need for bulky additions that could mar the aesthetics of a clean, simple smart home.