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Linux-based home automation hub gains Android app

Jul 31, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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Revolv released an Android app for controlling devices via its Linux-based Revolv Hub home automation controller, and added Nest Thermostat support.

Revolv was one of the earlier players in the new wave of mobile app enabled home automation hubs, starting out in 2012 under the name Mobiplug. Like the new Wink system, the Revolv Hub supports a wide variety of third-party products and automation ecosystems.



Revolv hub
(click image to enlarge)

The Nest Learning Thermostat from Google-owned Nest Labs now joins a list of Revolv compatible smart devices including Sonos music players, Philips Hue lights, Yale Real Living deadbolts, Belkin WeMo switches, Honeywell thermostats, Insteon sensors, GE smart swtiches, Leviton switches and controllers, and Schlage and Kwikset deadbolts. (The full list is here.)


Revolv now supports Nest, Sonos, and WeMo (all pictured), among other devices
(click images to enlarge)

The Revolv Smart Home Automation Solution is now available with an Android control app, greatly expanding its appeal beyond its core iOS user base. Until now, Android users have required an Insteon Remote in order to perform functions like assigning manual-triggered “Actions.” You can now use your Android phone to unify devices and customize automations based on four triggers, three of which are automatic: GeoSense, time of day, and device-to-device/motion sensor. The fourth is an On Demand manual trigger.


Revolv Android app
(click image to enlarge)

Like Wink, Nest, Sonos, WeMo, and many other home automation hubs and devices, the Revolv Hub runs on Linux. Few specs are available for the 1.1-pound, 6.1 x 5.2 x 1.5-inch device, which does not appear to have any wired ports aside from power.

The device integrates seven wireless radios, with their communications protected by 128-bit SSL encryption, but only three of the radios are currently active: WiFi, Z-Wave, and Insteon. Later this year ZigBee will be activated, and three more — 900 MHz, 433 MHz, and 915 MHz RF channels — will follow “in the future.”

Revolv currently is not a member of the Google/Nest backed Thread wireless spec initiative, based on 6LoWPAN. The company says it is considering adding support for the IFTTT scripting language for integrating triggers on devices to perform actions on social networking sites.



Revolv with iPhone

The Revolv Hub also provides a wireless “Flashlink” technology for automatically syncing the system to one’s WiFi router. You hold your mobile app-enabled phone close to the system, and you’re connected to the Revolv cloud platform within 60 seconds, says the company.

In addition to releasing the Android app, the company has updated its iOS app with similar features. On either platform, the app provides a dashboard function that shows a home’s current status, provides access and control to individual devices, and lets you set up triggered actions. You can create “scenes,” such as shutdown house, daytime, coming home, or party that can simultaneously and automatically adjust multiple smart devices. For example, a movie time scene might dim the lighting, turn off music, lock the door, and roll down the blinds. (So far, there’s no smart popcorn maker in the ecosystem, but we’re sure it’s only a matter of time.)

Revolv has joined the “Works with Nest” program, enabling the set-up of automated actions for the Nest Thermostat based on a user’s location and daily schedule. You can set-up an action to automatically turn off the house lights and turn down the temperature on the thermostat when you are away. The feature uses Revolv’s “newly enhanced” GeoSense technology, which “knows when the homeowner leaves the house — and automates device control, even if the smartphone is in his or her pocket,” says the company.

A related feature, already available from home automation rival SmartThings, is a new “intelligent occupancy” feature. This tracks multiple users as they enter or leave a home for security purposes.

The Android app is a major, and somewhat overdue, milestone for Revolv. Now if the company can bring down the $299 price of the hub closer to the $80 prices of the Wink hub and recently revised Staples Connect, Revolv will get right back into the conversation.

As a start, Revolv has announced a number of discounting deals including a “summer bundle” discount that includes the hub and an Insteon LED bulb, motion sensor, open/close sensor, and an appliance on/off plug for $375, down from $450. Revolv has its work cut out for it, as Quirky-owned Wink has established a close partnership with The Home Depot, one of the key retailers where the Revolv Hub is available.

 
Further information

The free Revolv app is now available on Google Play for Android 4.1 devices. More information on the Revolv Hub may be found at Revolv’s website, where more info on the various device bundles are available, and at retailers including Amazon.com, where the Hub sells for $299
 

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