After a successful crowd-funding campaign, Intellithings is now offering its $69 RoomMe occupancy sensor to all. When you mount a RoomMe to the ceiling near a room’s entrance, each time you enter the room with your cellphone on your person, the sensor will recognize you and trigger the smart devices in that room.
When you go into your home theater at night, for example, you could program a RoomMe to turn on the lights and adjust your thermostat to warm or cool your house. And since it’s compatible with Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 smart thermostats, your HVAC system would respond specifically to the temperature in the theater.
Leave that room to go to bed, and those lights will turn off. As you come into your bedroom, the sensor in that room could initiate a routine (Intellithings calls them “charms”) that turns on the lights there and instructs your Ecobee thermostat to monitor the temperature sensor in your bedroom. It could also trigger your Sonos Play:1 smart speaker start to play some light jazz to help you fall asleep.
The system relies on Bluetooth LE technology to determine who is in the room, based on each person’s smartphone, so you’ll need to make sure it’s always in your pocket or in your hand as you move from one room to another. And since there could be many people in the home with smartphones, you’ll need to establish priority levels. One person in the household will effectively rule the roost as a “Room Master,” but when that person leaves, that room’s sensor will switch over to serve the preferences of the person in the room with the next highest rank.
The list of smart home devices that RoomMe works with is relatively short at launch: In addition to the devices I’ve already mentioned, it works with most (but not all) Philips Hue smart bulbs and fixtures (including the recently reviewed Lily outdoor spotlights), LIFX Original and Mini smart bulbs, and the Bose SoundTouch10 wireless speaker.
From a privacy perspective, Intellithings emphasizes that communication occurs only between the sensor on the ceiling and the app on your smartphone. No data, personally identifiable or otherwise, is sent to the cloud for processing.
RoomMe isn’t the first product we’ve seen that uses Bluetooth LE communications to personalize a room to an individual. Zuli Smartplugs operate in a similar fashion, but they can only control a lamp that’s plugged into them, and they’re compatible only with Nest thermostats.
Intellithings has sent us a pair of RoomMe devices to evaluate, and we’ll post a review as soon as we can.