July 2, 2013 10:14 pm
It’s an inevitability that every part of the home will soon be digitized and smartphone-controllable. Nest brought the intelligent thermostat to the mainstream; Philips introduced the smartphone-controlled lightbulb; and Canary is a smoke detector with an API.
With every piece of electronic in your home sucking power even when not in use, another company, Valta, based out of Toronto, purports to change the way we interact with our power sockets.
The team is attempting to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter for a product of the same name, a passthrough WiFi-enabled device that plugs into existing wall sockets to intelligently control the current — and the gadgets generating it — from a smartphone.
The potential here is huge: because Valta can detect when plugged-in electronics are sucking up power, even in standby mode, it can intervene in one of two ways to save you money. First, it can potentially shut off the offending unit or, barring that, it can send a push notification identifying the culprit and reminding you to shut it off manually.
Valta also supports geofencing, a system by which the Valta and your iPhone communicate to determine that you’re not home and no longer need a particular gadget for the time being.
Each Valta plug uses a standard three-pronged North American socket with an electrical rating of 120V/15A/60Hz/1800W. It uses a nominal amount of power while in use, between 0.6W and 1.1W, but has the potential to save considerably more than that in daily use. Also required is a v-Hub box that plugs a user’s router and facilitates communication between each Valta and an iPhone, iPad or computer.
The company will launch with iOS support only and introduce an Android app shortly thereafter. The team has a working prototype after working on the project for two years, but needs Kickstarter support to continue development, order components and receive product certification. They hope to launch in late October, early November.
Backers can get a v-Hub and three sockets for $139 and go all the way up to $349 for one v-Hub and eight sockets.