The term “smart home” first appeared in the early 30’s. The technology boom proved to be too young at the time to revolutionize our household lives, but today, smart homes are more practical and discrete than their clumsy, noisy and inefficient counterparts of the past.
Perhaps one of the easiest approach towards a simple communication between you and your house can be provided by Norwegian startup Viva. Their service promises that a few simple procedures can help you take your first steps into turning your home smart, without the need of electricians or broad technological understanding.
You begin by obtaining a starter kit, which includes a gateway, a sensor, three smart plugs and the Viva mobile application. The gateway, which you connect into your wi-fi router, works as a communicator that transmits the collected data from your house into the cloud service, which is accessible through the Viva application.
The sensor is perhaps the most essential piece of the whole set. Together with your mobile phones GPS, it keeps track of the house activity level, temperature and lighting. Lighting means the sensor can measure luminosity intensity and set the lights to work according to the overall light values within the building. For example, during a cloudy day of fall, the lights will be adjusted to give stronger light whereas a bright full moon summer night will be translated into a dimmer light output. It all depends on the availability of natural light sources.
Activity level is the scale that measures the state in which the household is in. When the residents are sleeping and the lights are out, the viva app will put itself into sleep mode, which has a generally lowering effect on all electrical activity in the house (lowering the temperature, switching off all devices that were left on and so forth). Active mode simply does the opposite of this.
What makes the activity level interesting is that it is mostly automatic. The application will keep track of your routines based on your gps location and the data collected from the sensor, and independently sense when the activity level is going to rise or go down. Since it can calculate the time needed to set the temperature on a certain level, it will do it so that you won’t need to wake up feeling cold or equally arrive home from work into a chilly house.
Naturally, these actions are just as much manual as they are automated. When you break routine, it’s easy to keep your Viva system up to date by simply controlling it through the mobile app.
Henrik Holen, CEO at MeetViva, tells us their product isn’t the actual hardware used but rather the software that communicates between them. The application costs €7 a month, with one month of use included in the €170 starter kit. Their bootstrapped company has entered negotiations with potential partners and members in the utility and broadband industry, with primary intentions of entering the Norwegian markets and a Pan-European expansion in the future.
Viva provides more than just a tech detail to your house. When put in charge of the heating system, it can optimally save up to 25% in energy costs, which is, for those who live in the chilly Nordics, a significant save.
With Google’s recent multibillion dollar acquisition of Nest, another tech lab that’s passionate about turning homes smarter, it’s clear the smart home market is a sleeping giant who’s about to wake up. Companies like Viva are going to see an increase in competition, but good innovation might give a selected few a good head start.