At $20, Zlink may be the cheapest way to turn your home into a smart home

Equipping your home with a brain may seem like a costly and complicated process, but there is a new Indiegogo project hoping to prove otherwise. Meet Zlink, the Internet of Things team behind the Zlink Smart Home Hub, heralded as the “smallest, easiest to use, most affordable way” to turn your home into a smart home. The new hub will help home owners add voice control to their surroundings.

To begin, Zlink will operate exclusively with the Z-Wave protocol, calling it the “largest, most diverse, most stable ecosystem of products and manufacturers.” That said, should the first iteration of the new smart home hub prove successful, the team hopes to expand the device to include other technologies like Bluetooth, BLE, and Mesh. Amazon Alexa will be the first compatible Smart Home Assistant, given its widespread popularity, though Zlink also has plans to add Google Home, HomeKit, and others.

Hanging its hat on simplicity, the Zlink is but a fraction of the size of other smart home hubs, including Amazon’s Echo devices. About the size of a USB stick, the Zlink hub allows Amazon Alexa to communicate with an thereby control Z-Wave products. And while you may not be aware of the widespread utilization of this particular protocol, Zlink notes that Z-Wave offers more than 2,100 products from 600 companies, all of which you can now control with your voice.

The low-cost hub (it’s less than $20) is entirely self-contained, and simply needs a USB power supply to grant you voice control of various smart home devices. Zlink is also offering a couple of plug-in smart home devices, including a dimmer and a switch, which will help turn even non-smart devices into easily voice-controlled appliances.

The Zlink team is hoping to raise $50,000 on Indiegogo, and they still have quite a ways to go with a month left in their campaign. Of course, given the saturation of the smart home market, it is no surprise that smaller projects like this one might have a bit of trouble catching on. That said, for folks interested in a tiny smart home hub, Zlink is available for preorder (assuming full funding) on Indiegogo beginning at $15.

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