Securifi’s quest to usher in a clutter-free, smart-home utopia, in which the router is the only hub you need, seems to be back on track after a few initial stutters. The company pushed out a major update to its Almond+ and Almond 2015 routers/connected–home hubs, injecting them with the ability to control the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect, among a few other key features.
The company shot to prominence in 2012 with the original Almond ($70), the world’s first touchscreen wireless router. It went one better a year later by successfully raising $850,000 on Kickstarter to produce the Almond+ ($200), a new model with baked-in connected-home capabilities. The Z-Wave- and ZigBee-enabled device arrived in July, 2014, a good nine months or so behind schedule and sans connected-home control features. That all-important feature finally came via a firmware update in the early part of this year, followed closely by a less powerful ZigBee-only model called the Almond 2015 ($80).
Following this latest update, owners of either router can use them to control the Nest thermostat and smoke alarm, either actively or by using IFTTT-like rules. They can also count on these routers to broker peace in instances where different family members have conflicting temperature preferences. “For example,” says the company, “if one person has the thermostat set to 65 and the other has it set to 70, the thermostat will settle at 68 when both [their] phones are present.”
The update also gives you the ability to set up presence-based rules, whereby certain actions are triggered when a specific smartphone joins or leaves your home Wi-Fi network. You could, for instance, program the router to automatically unlock your garage door when it detects your smartphone as you return home from work. Another notable addition is the ability to create “Scenes,” which allow you to simultaneously control a number of different devices with a single tap.
As an example, the company says, you could create a Scene to turn off the lights, set the alarm, and lock the doors in one fell swoop at bedtime. Last but not the least, you can now even control your connected-home gadgets locally using the Almond app if you lose your broadband connection.
Why this matters: It seems the problems that marred the company’s router/connected-home hub hybrid early on in its life are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. Those updates are well timed now as Google prepares to enable similar features in its OnHub series of routers.