In summer 2016, a startup called Switchmate released its first product: A retrofit gadget that fit over the top of a conventional light switch and added automation. It was a refreshingly simple solution to smartening up wired lights at home -- but it also came with its share of limitations.
Now Switchmate is releasing its second-generation smart switch, the Switchmate Bright. At $40, it's a little more expensive than the original device (which will stay on the market at $30), but still cheaper than most in-wall switches. And it comes with a bunch of cool design upgrades.
Switchmate has always distinguished itself with ease of install. You simply affix the device overtop a light switch using its magnetic base, and it's pretty much ready to use. The app allows users to toggle the device, which physically flips the switch on and off.
The Switchmate Bright features a slimmer design than the original device, so you can fit multiple onto a panel of switches. This makes the Bright a much more compelling device for more comprehensive setups, although I'd still like to see a multi-switch version soon.
The Bright also includes a motion detector, so it can automatically switch on or off when it senses a user walking into the room. Again, this broadens the appeal of the Switchmate, which originally could automate using only timers or Bluetooth to respond to the proximity of a phone.
Finally, Switchmate's strength seems to be rising as it partners with more developers -- particularly Amazon Echo and .
Switchmate plans to begin shipping the Bright by February 2017.