San Francisco – Home-automation startup Avi-on Labs launched a crowd-funding campaign to bring its Bluetooth mesh-network home-automation products to North America in the spring.
The devices will include multiple GE-brand products from Jasco, which is making a GE Bluetooth Smart Light Dimmer, Smart Light Switch, Smart Indoor Plug, Smart Indoor Dimmable Plug, and Smart Outdoor Plug. They will join an on-wall, battery-powered movable light switch made by Avi-on and a Bluetooth Smart Light bulb.
The products will be available in the spring.
Avi-on created a hub-less home-automation system that is controlled from Android and iOS apps, which let users turn lights on and off, dim lights, put lights on schedules, and group lights. Home systems can also be controlled from a Bluetooth light switch.
Consumers can control and manage almost an unlimited number of household products, including lamps, fans, small appliances, stereos, HVAC systems, and outside lights, the company said.
“Our mission was to create the Simple Bluetooth Home ecosystem that lets you start with a simple Avi-on light switch and a light and go from there,” said co-founder/GM Dana Kunz. “We’re partnering with leading brands to give consumers a trusted line of great products to that create a simple, affordable lighting solution for everyone.”
Avi-On’s in-wall and on-wall light switches, outdoor timer, and electrical-outlet adapter will be priced from $25 to $35. All products in the initial lineup will retail for less than $40.Competing light switches are priced up to $60.
Avi-on’s mesh network is built on the Bluetooth Smart LE (low-energy) standard. Although work is now just underway by the Bluetooth SIG to develop a mesh standard for Bluetooth Smart, existing Bluetooth-mesh devices – like Samsung LED light bulbs — will be firmware-upgradable to the standard if the manufacturers allow, the SIG said.
Bluetooth mesh networks offer multiple advantages over other DIY home-automation technologies, Avi-on Kunz said. One is the lack of a need for a hub that gets commands via Wi-Fi from a smartphone or tablet, can cost anywhere from $79 to $299, and can prevent any device from working if the hub fails, she explained. Another advantage is wired-lighting performance with instant response. Hub-based systems, she added, don’t turn on multiple lights simultaneously but do so in sequence. In addition, hub systems dim multiple lights at different rates until they reach the programmed level.
Avi-on’s lighting performance is similar to that of proprietary hub-based systems from Insteon on Lutron, but Avi-on maintains a price advantage of 25 to 50 percent over devices used in hub-based systems, not including the money saved on not buying a hub, she said.
Avi-on launched its crowd-funding campaign through its own web page, powered by Tilt.